A Special Kind of Stupid (by )

So I have basically failed my course due to a stupid stupid mistake. After being so proud of not submitting right at the deadline, it turns out I submitted the wrong file - W00t go me - and of course UWE is really strict about deadlines so I can't just submit the correct file now. It was the last piece of course work for the module as well.

Issues were three fold 1) I had made a file naming system to nest all my UWE stuff which unfortunately meant that the file names where really similar and next to each other, b) I am dyslexic so my brain saw it as the correct file, c) I had little Mary on my lap snugging whilst I was trying to submit.

It is completely my fault but at the same time I feel that if I had been able to just submit old school and had a sheath of paper in at the office, the mistakes here and the issues with the files I had with the previous lot of course work, would not have been issues. Electronic submission is great especially for distance learners etc... but for me it means there are more potential mistakes to make.

So it looks like I am on for a resit and being very angry with myself. It is such a typically me thing to do - like ending up on the train to the wrong city or getting lost in a one road village. How is it that I produce prize winning work and have a zillion ideas and understand stuff that others think is too complex and yet I leave the house with my jumper inside out?

If I didn't know the damage it would do, I'd be banging my head on the brick wall right now!


On the other hand I am now comparing some events at The Cheltenham Poetry Festival and I drew / wrote / created this and lot of other stuff last night.

Visual Poem Shopping

Domestic Sunday (by )

Hungry for home baked cinnamon swirls

When we are not away doing events, we are trying to have a whole day focused just on domestic stuff. In reality I am often slopping off to catch up on work I can't do with small people around me but I still aim to spend at least the morning on domestic stuff with my family.

So today we did some house tidying that needed doing, sorted the chickens and rabbit out, fixed some door handles and I got stuff ready for the allotment. In the end when we saw how time was going it was decide that Alaric would not take the seedlings I've been growing or the fizzy drinks bottles to turn into mini green houses, as I needed to get some work done. So he just dug the plot and planted the marigold seeds in the tyre with the girls (I say just but that is huge work). And tomorrow after school I shall go down there with Jean and my dad and plant things.

broad bean seedlings in window sill propagator

Alaric took eggs to his aunt and attempted to sort her printer out and the girls came back with play dough and a pick nick hamper, which they love!

I mean while sat and drew pencil sketches with construction lines - female manga heads and worked on my comic book. The comic book and my last assignment for college mean I need to remember how to draw and illustrate. So I am steadily working my way through my how to draw books. I think there is a marked improvement from the line drawings I did earlier in the week.

sketches of female manga heads Drawing manga heads

People interested in the design and/or creative process, I am using the Complete Book of Drawing Manga at the moment but have a stack of other drawing books and more in depth updates will be happening on Purple Monster.

In the evening Alaric cooked a wonderful stir fry - though sadly we couldn't use the funky sauce he had bought as Jean noticed the ingredients included the chillies that kill me and fish sauce, meaning it wasn't veggi for Al 🙁

On the other hand, him and Jeany made cinnamon swirls which we ate warm and drizzled 😀

Sometimes I hate being a Jack (by )

Jack of all trades... master of none.

Over the last two weeks I have been booked for four festivals and half a dozen workshops, I have submitted articles about science, created a little hand drawn poetry book, created a new raft of upcycling projects, been asked to perform, knitted a sparkly bag, and have started work on the art for a comic book I wrote about about 4 yrs ago. I have also written poems, flash fictions, posts on gardening and taken photos of things, harvested potatoes and sold a few boxes of hens eggs and so on.

As great and as wonderful as all this is, I ran out of money last Wednesday as I hadn't noticed it was half way through March and I had not checked if invoices had been paid etc.... I was 40p short for my lunch - they were lovely and let me off. It has also resulted in another booking which is always a good thing but...

I do a hell of a lot of stuff but it is so diffused! If I could focus on one of these things, I would get a profile for that thing but I can't - so for the festivals I am being a performer, events manager, photographer, craft and/or writing or science workshop leader and the writing and craft look the same. I have pictures of kidneys next to pastel rabbits upstairs next too abstracts, I have poems about war and politics and kids books and on and on and on and sometimes I can't think for it all.

It is fun and wonderful to be able to do all this stuff and in some cases to be able to mash it all together and come out with something that is amazing but... I am not brilliant at any of it. I am ok or good at it all (except the guitar playing and singing which I am naff at but do anyway). I know I have moaned about this all before but sometimes it feels like I will never achieve anything because I am doing everything.

The solution is obvious and one that just is not viable for me. I can't give up things because they are not just activities that I do but they are aspects of me. I know some people love the fact I do all of this stuff and it appears in blog posts like this one. But most people are interested in only one aspect of what I do and all the other stuff is annoying noise, risking them being turned away or not seeing the stuff they find relevant.

It is one of the reasons I've ended up with so many blogs - trying to split it out for other people. The issue is really that I don't have a brand or thing to be know for other than say - being the person who can pull some solution out of the hat for an event in crisis etc... That isn't actually that useful a trait as obvious the event will not be telling people they where in crisis so it only works if I've saved the bacon for them in the past and they need something again.

These musings coincide with a confidence crash - last week I was all like - hell! I am MASTER of ALL, but this week I am attempting to remember how to draw characters and am struggling. I know I am capable but I'm not happy with the pictures I've been working on for my college project - and I am also working on the comic book and really want both pieces of work to be fantastic. But I can't even stick to one style of drawing :/ I am surrounded by how to draw books which I am flitting through, drawing bits and bobs. I have an idea of what my projects need to look like and no one else seems to draw in that way but I need to see how to shift the bodies I've designed around, how to map the features to different positions and expressions and it is an incredible amount of work

learning to draw heads from the complete book of drawing manga

IF... I had spent all the time since my GCSE's working on my art skills then perhaps I would be of a level I would feel happy about (rather than wondering if I can get the computer to map textures for me and taking swaths of fabric the 'move' in the right way).

I also got the marks back for my science writing and got a good/ok mark and am so angry with myself as there was stupid stuff like - I cut the excess 250 words from a 3000 word assignment and the feed back was that that stuff should have been in there - and then I find out that there is a 10% buffer meaning that I didn't have to cut those words at all and I spent a DAY on that. Missing simple things like that and not having had the time to get it in for a check before submission are stupidnesses and just so typical of me ( *coughs tax returns ).

But at the same time I can see that it is finally all starting to fuse together and be something. All the art, craft, science, environmentalism, music, writing - it is a dirty snow ball that is causing a career avalanche. Part of the issue is I am trying to up my game again - I seem to be doing this every two years at the moment. And the dam goal posts keep shifting - like I thought I would have "made it" poetically when I had performed at the Cheltenham Lit Festival but I've done that and there are other things I have my sights set on now. The fact I once thought there was a "made it" line you could cross makes me laugh now as it just isn't that way - once I thought completing my degree was "making it".

And so the goals keep shifting - I think the main issue for me at the moment is the pain, it is a low level but is niggling away but I can do things so I am trying to ignore it. Muscle fatigue has been interesting this week including not being able to get myself out of bed but again it has been alot worse - however I am avoiding going to the Drs as last 2 times I've been this close to completing post grad stuff, I have gone in with what I thought was minor things, only to end up with stays in hospital and no completion. Also the stronger pain killers stop me thinking and that is the last thing I want at the moment.

I think I just need to remember that ADHD is the Polymath Dream.

Allotment Stuff (by )

Jean digging over the plot

We are loving our allotment but we still want a walkable one that I can attend with the kids after school and plant the stuff that needs lots of watering etc... so I prodded the council again - found that their email system has apparently changed which might be why I've only been getting bounces back lately. Anyway I pointed out that I had been trying to get an allotment since we moved in which is now well over 2 yrs ago (I should probably stop calling it the new house!). Apparently we are registered as having asked about it last year and they will pass on that we are still interested. :/

So I think we made a really good choice, going for the private one on a farm - at least I can grow something! And hopefully more than dandilions!


We have so far (and when I say we I mean poor Alaric as I have had course work or been ill) dug over one section of it and have planted the pumpkins out in a little cold frame or mini green house we have hobbled together out of bubble wrap and bamboo canes - it wont take strong wings but then neither will most of the polythene and metal frame ones you can buy.

Seedlings just can't wait to be planted out Pumpkin seedlings planted out Alaric working hard at the allotment Alaric tying bamboo canes together constructing the frame of mini bubble wrap green house Applying the bubble wrap to the cold frame Bubble Wrap cold fame

The pumpkins are tad insane - half of one of the pumpkins started to go off and when I went to compost it I saw that the seeds where germinating so I bunged the whole thing in a pot and popped it on the top shelf of the propogator that is in the dinning room at the moment. I'm hoping one or two of the plants will live to maturaty.

Mary following Daddy to work on the allotment

The girls love the allotment and Mary calls it The Mud, Jeany has gotten over her fear of worms and actually held one! (I think Al took a photo of that on his phone so I need to extract it!).

I has flower

Jean has requested the old tyre at the end of the plot and wants to grow flowers - we have compromised and she is growing edible flowers. I have lots more seedlings and a rota written out for which seeds need to go in next 🙂

Mummy and Mary weeding the tyre bed Mary and Jean weeding the tyre bed

Also there is an amazing view and the girls like having picnics there.

View of the Hills from the Allotment Hazy hills Hazy view of the hills from the Allotment Dragons eggs

Library Book Tower (by )

Jean and her tower of library books

It's one of those parental situations where you don't really know weather to be proud, angry or too split your sides with laughter. Out 8 yr old has been hoarding library books - all of which she's read.

It all started with a letter from the library saying books where late (my fault I've been too busy and sick to walk to the library and forgot there was the website). So we got together all her books and took them to the library - except it wasn't all her books!

Turns out she had gotten Daddy to take her to the library and had maxed her card out, then she got my parents to take her and got books out on Mary's card (which looks exactly the same). So we had a fine just under £10 and I was fuming especially as we couldn't find one of the books.

She had to earn the money to pay the fine (back to me as I paid the library - though not for my own fine (including the one I had out on Al's card - erm...).

In the process of looking for the library book we discovered that Jeany has also been getting unlimited books out of the school library, those who have been following this saga on social media will not be surprised to find out that the last count of 25 school library books has since been upped by another 5 or so. Apparently they told her she could take as many as she wants as she was checking out a handful everyday.

It is hard to be angry when a) she has demonstrated the intelligence to get around the system b) has actually read them all c) you would be the biggest hypocrite ever if you were.

Most of the books from both libraries where RL Stein - the Goosebumps Books with a few Winnie the Witch and Jacqueline Wilson - she says she likes the Jackoline Wilson books but they all seem to be the same story and asked if her parents broke up when she was small. She loves Whinny to the point of being too shy to talk to her at the literature festival but it is the Goosebumps that are king - I know she is eyeing up the point horrors and Fear Streets but I've told her she has to read all the equivalent ones for her own age group first. She asked if my Spooksville books where by the same person but nope they are Christopher Pike!

I am finding this really interesting as they where my two favourite teen horror writers.

But still Jean's book habit is a tad insane - she has inherited Alaric's fastness for reading but my love of fiction and my obsession for always reading - she even asked if she could to town reading - I said no and felt two faced for it as I used to walk home from secondary school with my nose buried in a book.

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