Sunday, 16 June 2013

Almost Working

In my rounds of visiting blogs I've found that quite a few people have changed to "deny access" or limited access to their blogs.  Some are my favourites........ so if you have made your blog private in the last few weeks or months, drop me an email and let me know the new address (if you want me to read it, that is).

I've been wondering what Mamma has spoken about lately, and how Rose is in Oz... and several more!

I've been thinking about working lately, and also doing some work!  I haven't been able to work much lately, for all kinds of good reasons. It feels weird, and isn't that good for the bank balance.. Just as well that we have had money coming in from other things.  And as freelances, we are used to these periods. You have to be.

But the last few days I've been getting on top of the stuff that is still around the house - and catching up on weeding - although I always love weeds. How could I wish to destroy something as beautiful as this dandelion, above, if I really thought about it.

I've delivered a long delayed travel article to the editor, and I'm trying to reorganise a European article that had to be cancelled last year when my mother was so ill.   And I have just had to cancel a trip to France because T was too ill to go. He's been feeling really bad. This bug is no fun.

At this rate I am wondering if I will get anywhere or do anything else with travel at all!

I've had some talks and a meeting with a major TV channel, which is the kind of not-really-working that is quite hard on the nerves. As most professional writers know, when you eventually have proper discussions with TV companies, the usual outcome is ... nothing.

It really is.

 The first time, you're so hopeful.  You have had all the warnings and seen other writers have their high hopes dashed, often after months of work, but THIS time it will be different! This time, they really do like it, they're not just saying.   There'll be a major book deal / programme /film /series/ worldbreaking major international movie that gets into cinemas all over the world!  MacDonalds will take up the characters for its Happy Meals! We will go to Outer Mongolia and see the characters on peoples' tee shirts!  In fact, astronauts in outer space will call their little green children after the characters, having picked up the series on their strange alien receiving apparatus....

... and then someone in a position of power decides they didn't really like the idea after all -  or some bean counting accountant decides that the sums don't add up - and that's the end of it before it happened.

Still,  if anything comes of this, you will be the first to know, and who knows, THIS might be the one which corners the Happy Meal market!

I'm also gearing up for a really difficult project I'll be starting this autumn, in a school.  It's probably not really difficult at all, but I haven't ever worked in a school or worked with kids. I won't have to take a class by myself, but still, the idea is somewhat alarming to me, although all you teachers out there will laugh, I know.  It's not kids themselves - I love the way they see the world in such an unexpected way and enjoy everything so much....

And they can be so sweet....

and such fun.

I love their company but I'm not that good at keeping order, and I am sure I won't be able to remember their names. Still, it's good to do new things and face challenges, and being involved in these workshops will be the biggest challenge for me. .  

And apart from sitting and coughing and feeling ill (or sitting with T as he coughs and feels ill, or with V) I have also done some other things that are almost-but-not-quite work.

 Tagged along with K, F and T the other day to Oxfordshire, where K's boat needed some work doing (by her and them). My contribution was getting them all cakes in a nearby village... well they thought it was worth doing anyway!

I chatted to other people at the marina. Some, who had older vintage boats, had been to a rally and looked incredibly splendid complete with bottles of champagne and flags

and it's always fun to watch the wildlife on the Thames

There's no way that's work but it was a nice day.

Well, better stop writing this.   It's Father's Day and hopefully Father can manage to enjoy his day despite all his pills and piles of paper hankies. .

By the way I am going to take the advice of some of you who have left comments or emailed me, and I will send a link to my last post, about Legoland Windsor, to their PR office. I will report back on the response I get.


  1. Are you feeling better now or still suffering from that same nasty bug yourself, Jenny?

    Loved this post, especially the pictures with the cakes and the stylish "boat people"! Your description of the "major movie" and all that it entails made me laugh - and I really DO hope your characters will be seen printed on t-shirts in Outer Mongolia one day :-)

    The school project sounds interesting, but I understand why you have such mixed feelings about it; I would run a mile if anyone asked me to work with children...

    Glad you did send the link to your Legoland article to their PR office. I've made the experience that, every time I give constructive feedback to a company about their services or products, I get a reply that's more than just an automated response.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. You've revealed so much - probably without even giving it much thought (that didn't come out right - - it was supposed to be a compliment). I have no doubt that important endeavors are on the horizon, and it won't be long before we see your characters on MacDonald's Happy Meals.

    As for children - - I've never particularly liked them. Heck - when I was a child I didn't like children.....
    but then, I'm a crusty old bachelor with absolutely no motherly instincts.

  3. Great to catch up with your news. There seems to be an epidemic of spam at the moment, which might explain the private blogs - mine still up and running and in the front line against spam ...

    Oh those BBC temptations - I was contacted by Radio 5Live, would I join a discussion on travelling: of course I would, when? When I was in Venice, travelling ... um, which to do, go to Venice or be on obscure Radio programme ...

  4. Hi Jenny.
    Good to catch up on all of your almost work! It all sounds good even if some of it is truly 'pending'! I am looking forward to seeing what you are up to with a school. I will let you into a secret, sometimes teachers are not that good at keeping order either, but thankfully that is only one part of it! If you are doing something that the kids love it is even more likely that a certain amount of disorder may occur if they are excited, but that is all part of the fun! Recently we did a treasure hunt looking for our rabbit who had run away with the pirates. I introduced the idea and was about to tell them about the carefully planned hunt, when they all started talking at once and running around the classroom looking for the rabbit, saying the terrible things they were going to do to the pirate and even finding some long forgotten maps! They eventually calmed down enough to go on the hunt!
    Hope it all goes to plan and look forward to reading about it.

  5. "At this rate I am wondering if I will get anywhere or do anything else with travel at all!" When will the Japanese translation of your book be released? This year? Next year? You're coming to Japan for that? ^^

  6. It's a very nice post, yours is. It's a mixed bag of things. I had already noticed the "profile no longer available" on blogger. I think it's an issue with blogger only and not the actual person who blogs. On teaching, all I can say is: enjoy it, because it is enjoyable. I have based at primaries school for the last five years and I love it. I work mainly with parents and families as part of the support staff. But before that I had already worked with schools as a project manager. And I am a teacher by trade, too. That was my degree in uni. You will love it. I'm sure. You come across as very caring and sympathetic on your blog and I'm sure those skills will come in handy. As it happens I also blogged today about education in the UK. Wish your father a happy father's day. I am also having a good one.

    Have a good week.

  7. Good post
    Hope you feel better 100% soon
    I needed to read your words. Thinking of a letter I sent over a month ago with no reply, not even a no thank you, I'm reminded that's how the business world can work. Now I'm determined moving on can be better than the moved on gone.

  8. I would email you but I don't have your email address :-(
    I can't say much in public why my blog is now private. But I can give you these clues: Son's divorce, blog creeper, pictures, words used against him and me. I haven't written anything in a month and it's killing me BUT until this nightmare is truly over I can't take the chance. Send me a message at and I can explain more.
    Oh and I can't wait to read more about your new teaching job! I LOVE my students and there are only a rare handful that I ever had true trouble with. I'm sure you will do great!

  9. Well, i think you deserve a deal from the TV people.

    Keeping order with children has a knack to it, one i've only mastered with small groups. It can be learned, though, ask some of the other teachers for tips and pointers.

    Beautiful pictures, i'm glad you got to enjoy the day!

  10. ha those kids can be delightfully will be fun though and keep you the little fuzzy ducks...we have a few of the babies in the pond down the road...and hey i would be down with cakes and coffee...smiles...good to see you...

  11. How wonderful about the show! I do so hope it works out fully! And I have a feeling you will be great with the kids. I just retired from teaching after 29 years, and it is the kids I will miss the most.

  12. That boat crew looks so vibrant and jaunty. They make me smile.

  13. The one good thing about Limbo, it can be a nice place to sit and write a lot.

    I do attack the dandelions in my yard, but they are welcome to live in the neighbor's yard.

  14. Good luck with the show then! There are lots of bugs going around, I suppose that there isn't much to do about it, right? I hope that all will work out in the end. When are you in town for a coffee? Let me know.

  15. This time maybe something great WILL happen regarding your proposal. This feeling of hope is impossible not to have when you think you’ve got a good idea. It is all a bit tricky, though, when they take your idea but not you as the writer or originator of something that amazingly shows up in a magazine or on television. Nonetheless, I will look for your work at McDonald’s and will keep my fingers crossed on your behalf. :)

    I think you are going to love the workshop, by the way!!

  16. Oh, I do hope you get back to travelling and writing and earning money soon. And sorry your other half isn't feeling too good. And I'm glad I read about your tv-land warnings. I'm beginning to encounter so many time wasters too.

    I don't think Legoland give a damn, to be honest. A bunch of us shared your last post on Twitter, tagging Legoland and you and we received absolutely no response or acknowledgement whatsoever.

  17. Take heart lass, the bug here is not as it was! The warmer rain has eased the cough etc. Of course when it goes the next will arrive, but I always like to be positive......

    Kids are delightful. However when reading a book in the Gardens I find that if you kick them into the bushes to get some peace the mums tend to make an awful fuss for some reason. And when it comes to names, don't try to remember, just point the finger and smile.

    TV companies appear to alter all books to fit. I canny imagine what they would do to Lewis Carroll, probably make him transgender, black and a Communist if they thought it would sell! Just write something that suits them first, it might make it easier, oh and I want one of your T-shirts, size Fat!

  18. There's a lot happening t the moment isn't there, but thank goodness you still have time to zoom in on that lovely dandelion!

  19. Hi, Jenny -- first of all -- I think you'd make a rocking TV travel journalist! For what that's worth.

    And yes, I know what you mean about the projects that are proposed, met-with and then fall through. I'm living on the edge of a couple of those myself these days.

    Maybe you just need this break -- maybe it's a placeholder after all the stress of your mom's illness and death to wait for the right thing. Because the right thing DOES happen. It just doesn't happen on cue.

    I think you may love working with kids -- I can't wait to hear more about it!

  20. I think weeds are over rated, I seem to have better luck growing weeds than flowers. I'm all about working with kids and encourage you to go for it!! I work with developmentally delayed preschoolers. They are so fun and the days that seem full of chaos we switch to plan B or C or D........what ever gets us through the day.

  21. Wow so much news... love the Dandelion photo, so beautiful.
    I would adore to be on that wonderful boat motoring down the river.
    Hope you all feel better soon.

    cheers, parsnip

  22. Hello Jenny, I'm sorry to hear you and T are recuperating from a horrible but and wish you both perfect heath and very soon. You do live an interesting life. I would be a basket case if I had to depend on a freelance sort of lifestyle and income I think! Which is probably why I slogged away in an office for 35 years and missed out on lots of adventures . . . but there's always now and the future, free of work responsibilities! Sending good thoughts your way for your upcoming school project! Sara

  23. You're still getting over that awful cold/cough from hell? You guys! I really hope you are germ free soon-soon!!
    Good luck with the kids and with the McDonald's meals. ;) Hey--you never know! :)
    That is one snazzy wood boat!

  24. Love all of your pictures, especially those of the children. I hope the new gig with children works out. Just be sure to not show any fear. Take care.

  25. I hope by now you and yours are much better. These bugs are a darned muisance. They put a halt to such a lot in life. Your post made for an enjoyable read; interesting too to learn of all the things you have to go through to secure a bit of work.

    A Mixed Bag

  26. Things in the works, changes coming. It sounds both exciting and scary. I will keep my fingers crossed that the TV (or whatever) works out. I'd love to see the characters at the Golden Arches. I have no worries that you will be great teaching kids.


  27. I do hope everyone is better soon, and that plans work out for you. It's hard to keep up the adrenalin when you're not feeling 100%.

  28. Hi Jenny,

    I hope things work out for you...You'll do fine with the children. I am once more under the weather, but hoping it won't last long. I did freelance work for years and so can relate. Take care.

  29. Jenny, I worked as the teacher many years and know this job is difficult and lovely. Difficulties are with parents, not children..
    I hope your new project will be successful.
    Have a nice week!

  30. "Now I'm determined moving on can be better than the moved on gone." Maywyn, that is such a good quote.
    I'm grateful for the encouragement about the childrens workshops from so many of you who who work with kids - loved your description Sarah! I can see myself having Plans B,C D and more, Saini, thanks for the tip. And I will take your advice about pointing and smiling, Adullamite, will even risk my face cracking from all the smiling. Names are my bugbear, and also putting names to faces. Jeez, I don't know how anyone manages.
    Muriel as soon as I escape from my desk I will be glad of a coffee in some nice pavement cafe - hopefully when the sun comes out.
    Jo, I wouldn't have given up my trip to Venice either but it is brilliant to be asked - lovely to think people out there are reading and noticing. As you know I think you are a natural writer - maybe you can contact them back and ask if you can go on another programme later.
    Rourusha, the Japanese translation is coming on well and the translator is brilliant. She keeps me informed about stuff I would not ever have thought about, but since the book has quite a large maths, puzzles and word play component I imagine it can be quite challenging. I gather that publication might be a little bit later than this autumn and that would suit me because it would b e hard to take off too much time from the schools project. And also I have to sort out the last problems with the illustrations - eek! another thing for my list.
    I'm coming across to your blog to look at your post on education, Cuban in London, I love your blog, one day you will have to tell us how you came to settle in London.

  31. Hi Jenny, I just came across your blog from another friend's place. The fact that you are English interested me. I was raised in Leicester but now live in Malaysia. Good to 'meet' you!

    Duncan in Kuantan
    Teaching English with Mr. Duncan

  32. Challenges are good for us and keep us on our toes. Here's wishing you luck in your new and old ventures!

  33. I'm certainly glad my daughter and her family skipped Lego Land here in Florida and opted for a water park when they were here last April! Even at Downtown Disney, the Legos don't excite me at all. My daughters didn't care to play with them but my sons loved them, growing up. However, try as I might, I could never enjoy a toy that fell apart constantly AS I WAS BUILDING IT!!

  34. Freelancing must be pretty nerve-racking at times, particularly as you say when someone appears to be biting but you're not sure whether they actually will. I guess you just have to be optimistic that the work will keep coming in somehow.

    I'm intrigued by your school project. I await further reports with interest. I'd be equally curious as to how I'd get on with a bunch of kids, not being a parent myself.

    I like the little girl kissing herself in the mirror!

  35. My dear Jenny how thoughtful and sweet of you to wonder where I'd gotten to! I have no other excuse other than slackness and a lack of motivation lately. However, I have posted (sort of) and I don't believe I have an access limitations on my blog.
    I am so sorry to hear that this 'bug' has spread to T as well and you still have lingerings of it. It really must be a doozy. Do take care and may both of you be dancing soon.
    I too can't wait to hear how it goes with the children. Such an enjoyable post catching up with your goings on, oh and I'll deal with those dandelions for you - without compassion. :)

  36. good luck with the things in the works..and hope you are feeling great by now. I think blogger and google have restricted access without the blogger knowing it..because it happened to me.

  37. Buying cakes from a nearby sounds divine! They looked divine! A picnic with dishes instead of paper and plastic. Heavenly!

  38. Jenny: Best to you with regard to all your pursuits. I have been a freelancer for years, and I made teaching a part of my life so I would never have to worry about the financial aspects of writing. It's not easy, but it's fun!

  39. Jeanne, they WERE great cakes! we used a log of wood for a picnic table. One of the things about a boat is that you can make yourself cups of tea with real cups :)

    Thank you for getting in touch, Bonnie and Rose, about the blocked blogs but Rose, your profile really won't let me access the blog, do you notice less views on your blog or is it just ME??? Maybe you could send me a link to the blog page itself and I'll try it that way. I'm pretty hopeless with this stuff.

    1. Wow, no I'v had no trouble that I know of with people accessing me via my profile Jenny, it must be like Annmarie Pips said - blogger just does it willy-nilly to people. How frustrating!
      Here goes I'll try doing a link, not sure though!

  40. Hi Jenny, lovely post and a great read. Photos are splendid, especially of the children, so cute and I like the dandelion, and the boat, well all of them of course. Thanks for stopping by. I see my link below. I wonder how that does happen? But it's given me a chance to visit and catch up because I enjoy your blog too.

    Wishing you a great day,
    An English Girl Rambles

  41. I love your life. And I too would not be good at remembering kids names or trying to keep order. I would end up bribing them with candy or something.

  42. I am the same as you - I have a hard time keeping order with children, but find them delightful. I'll bet they'll love you.

  43. I really enjoyed this post, Jenny, but I'm truly sorry to hear you have been so unwell. It sounds as if it is going through your whole family! As a freelancer myself, I can sympathise with the disappointment when all those hopes are dashed. I have been through these experiences many times. I am just glad the other string I have in my bow (teaching and training) is more reliable! The children look adorable - I'm sure you'll do just fine with them, and it must have been lovely on the Thames. That boat is very beautiful in all its varnished glory! Get well soon!

  44. The school project sounds like a challenge. I hear you. I'm a qualified art teacher but never taught, mainly for the reasons you've mentioned, but I'm sure you'll be fine. I love the photos of the kids.

    I have to say I don't like weeds! I'm outside with my spray gun killing anything on the grass that isn't green! :D

  45. Hi Jenny,

    After reading your posting, I certainly understand how busy you've been. Your words and your photos are always superb. Hoping you and all concerned, are now feeling better. All the very best with your upcoming projects.

    I would add the only change I've made to my blog is that I've had to switch off the feature that allowed for anonymous comments. I was getting bombarded with stuff I would never need. Wishing you a peaceful, hopeful weekend, Jenny.


  46. I read your post on Legoland – what a rip-off ! I enjoyed your last eclectic post – hope you and yours are feeling better. You are courageous to endeavor to work with kids – one has to be quite patient but I did like your pictures of the children.

  47. Enjoyed your conversation blog. May you soon be feeling better and hubby.

    Your pictures were nice. I too like to take dandelion pictures.

    Pictures of the children brought a smile.

  48. Love the dandelion. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed really tightly for you on the network meetings. You just never know where anything might lead.

    And it's wonderful you'll be doing more work with children. From your photos, you look thoroughly at home with them. Over here, I'm involved in an Arts non-profit which exposes me to classrooms across all age groups and schools. The children just energize me during my times there (and leave me exhausted afterwards). It's so rewarding to connect with even just one child when you see their eyes grow wide with wonder at whatever it is you are sharing with them. Good luck and hope you enjoy it!

    Wishing you and the little one a speedy recovery. Summertime is the saddest time to have a bug. Can't go out and play!

  49. I do hope that you and yours recover fully quickly. There is noting more sapping of mental energy than physical disability or pain. I admire your 'project' to work with the youngsters. I coached fencing once but the children (and adults) really wanted to learn.


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