Narrow Boats

Narrow boats
on the canal
underneath the fresh
green weeping willows.

Panic Time

From time to time I post about my cycling activities. Just lately however I don’t seem to have had a great deal of time for cycling – either too busy with other things or the weather just hasn’t been inviting (I’m a bit of a fair weather rider). Occasional rides out on wet roads have needed major bike washing sessions on my return.

Revised Book CoverOne of my main excuses recently has been my latest book ‘Simply Elfje’ which is now nearing completion. The picture shows my revised (final) version of the cover. I have given myself an Easter deadline to get it done and that is fast approaching. The reason for this particular deadline is that I have so much coming up during the lead up to and after Easter that if I don’t get it done by then it will end up not getting done until July or August. So far I am on track. Fingers crossed.

Working on the book though, as I said, has made it difficult to get out on the bike very often and this is my reason for panic. At the end of April we are hoping to do a 45 mile charity ride in aid of our local hospice and then at the end of May we are already booked for a 40K Classic Road Race Bike rally in Spain.

I have mentioned these events before but I’m panicking because I haven’t done much training and now I’m really getting a bit worried that I won’t make the distance. On top of that we will soon be away for at least a couple of weeks as we are taking our yacht over to France. While on the boat I won’t be doing much cycling. Yes, we do have folding bikes on the boat but these are not good for serious cycling over long distances. They are a boon for going shopping or local sight-seeing, but a long ride? Forget it! We’ve tried it – jolly uncomfortable!

I have been getting out on the bike more over the last few days and today would be a good day for a ride too but I had to stay in this morning waiting for a builder to come and look at a little problem with a leak in a corner of our conservatory and also I’m so far behind with the boring things like house work that I do desperately need to give the house a blitz. On top of that I still have work to do on the book (final proof read!) and I’m expecting a visitor later, but maybe I’ll fit in a short ride after that. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are out, so is Thursday afternoon – I have other engagements, but with a bit of luck I might fit something round those. I’m just going to have to make the effort. I’m loving my modern Raleigh road bike but I do need to get out on the classic bike soon too and once more get used to fact that I haven’t got as many gears to play with – those hills will get tougher!

Nearing Completion

A book nearing completion
is exciting and frightening.
I keep checking and checking.
When is enough enough?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The files for my new ‘Simply Elfje’ book are almost ready to submit for printing. I keep checking them and still find the odd problem. The latest? – ‘is’ instead of ‘in’, a simple thing so easy to miss and it makes me wonder how many others I have missed, so I check again!

I try to take comfort from the fact that even in main stream published books I often find mistakes, but it seems to me that in self-published books people are too ready to sneer and say it is obviously amateur whereas in a ‘professional’ book they are happy to overlook the fault. Then I remember an old friend once had a T-shirt that stated ‘Pobody’s Nerfect’! Eventually I have to accept I have done my best.

Roadside Daffodils

Roadside daffodils
deliberately snapped and scattered.
I gather them, fill my vases, so I at least
can enjoy their fleeting beauty.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We have some wonderful grassy areas on the corner of our road, in front of our house. At the moment these are full of daffodils. But some low-life yobs seem to take great pleasure in breaking off the flower heads, some just buds, and scattering them. I can’t bear to see them lying on the ground unable to fulfil their potential so I pick them up and put them in vases. Fortunately there are still plenty growing, but everyday more have been scattered.

Cover Draft

I posted a preview of my cover draft on Simply Elfje today.

Simply Elfje

Simply Elfje Book Cover Draft

So here it is at last – the draft cover for my Simply Elfje book, I hope you like it. It is not fully finalised yet and I may play with the colour scheme a bit – my aim is to reflect the theme of the blog and now I see it here this is a bit too blue at the top!

The book itself is also progressing well and will soon be somewhere near ready to submit for printing. As I mentioned before, this is a whole new learning process as I have never used CreateSpace before. There have been a few glitches along the way but I am getting to grips with it now so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly from here on. It won’t be long now!

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Book Progress Report

Sharing this progress report from Simply Elfje. I am off-line this week. See you again next week!

Simply Elfje

I just thought I would drop in to let you know how the Simply Elfje book is coming along. The good news if that it is almost ready!

I now have all the permissions I need from the guest contributors and will soon be confirming with them which of their Elfje I have included. All that is needed then is to proof read the whole thing and upload it to Createspace. As this is the first time I have produced a book in this way it is something of a learning process but I am hoping it will all go smoothly.

The book cover design is also nearly ready, though I have yet to do the final complete version, but  I hope to be able to share this with you towards the end of next week so watch this space!

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Today’s Lesson

When cycling out on windy days it pays
to check the wind speed, and indeed
the wind direction before you go
then plan your route to avoid
that long,
………..slog
……………uphill
with a strong headwind!

Outside

A lovely warm spring day.
I’m off outside
without my coat today!

Book Launch Day

On Saturday 11th March  I held the official Book Launch for my new children’s story book “The Thirsty Flowers” although the book has been available since just before Christmas. This launch event was in two parts.

First I held an on-line launch on my Facebook Author’s Page, with a week of promoting the launch beforehand to encourage people to support the event. I also held a Free Giveaway competition. This sadly didn’t attract quite as many entrants as I had hoped – maybe because the book was  for children and not many children are on my email list! This is the first time I have done a ‘virtual event’ and hopefully I will do it better next time. Perhaps two weeks of publicity would have been better and probably I also need to find a way to reach more people. My main reason for doing it though was simply to feel that the arrival of the book had been celebrated in some way and in that I guess it served its purpose.

Outside the children's shopI also held a book signing session in my local High Street. A local children’s clothing shop kindly stocks my book along with my children’s poetry book “Barking At Nothing” so I arranged to hold my signing session there. The shop is on the corner of a small arcade, with the door just inside the arcade and we had agreed that if it was a nice day I would set-up my stall in the arcade just outside the shop but I could be inside the shop if it was cold. It was a nice day so I set-up in the arcade as planned.

After a while it was obvious that I was not really all that visible so I moved to a position at the entrance to the arcade and this proved to be much better, though it was not quite so sheltered and I did begin to feel cold towards the end of my time there.

With a young customerOne thing that I did notice during the two hours I sat there was how few people were walking up and down our High Street on what you would think would be a busy Saturday morning. High Streets are generally reported to be in decline and it seems ours is no exception despite the many interesting buildings.

However, like so many now, our High Street is full of places to eat, hairdressers and gift shops with not a lot else and these types of shops do not cater to everyday needs (how many times a week do you need a hair cut?). The Post Office, Newsagents, main Supermarket and the Chippy are all on a different street. Consequently the footfall was low and I gather it has been a problem since the last bank closed its doors.

There were times when none of the passers-by seemed at all interested in what I was doing there and I regretted not taking a book to read, but despite the low footfall I did manage to sell several copies of my book and was also given a few donations for the charity I support. Overall it was an enjoyable morning and at least I feel as if the book has now been launched in style.

A Perfect Silhouette

The morning sun picks out
a perfect silhouette —
wing raised, tail fanned,
plump body, small head, sharp beak —
of a pigeon that struck the glass
of the window pane.

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