Pause for a moment….

Last week saw a definite upturn in my social calendar. A Launch Party for Confident Ladies, a Virtual Book Tour with Stacey Voss in the offing and a weekend spent in the company of my wonderful rugrats. Then… ‘Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am’, I was hit by a merciless bug.

Sunday became a blur through seemingly endless rounds of coughs, sneezes and sweating bouts. Monday wasn’t much better. On Tuesday I picked myself up long enough to attend a lovely meet up with Jools from Writebuzz only to relapse the same night. All hopes of this being a 24 hour bug were dashed.

My frustration is exacerbated by the ever growing back log of reviews, promotions and submissions I had intended to clear. My partner had two precious days off work which he spent bringing me endless hot drinks and medication. It wasn’t quite the ‘family time’ we had planned.

In the grand scheme of things, a heavy cold is hardly a tragedy. Today I read of a tsunami in Samoa where a toddler is missing and almost 100 have been people killed. Yes, I’m poorly and non-productive at the moment but at least I can retreat to the safety of my duvet and rely on the loving care of my wonderful family and friends.

Every so often we all need to stop for a moment, to look at what we really have and remind ourselves how lucky we are.

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The Twitter Effect

I’m currently in a self-imposed exile from Twitter. I spend so much time there that I have to brush cobwebs from my chair every time I move away from the computer. It’s not all Twitters fault though, professional procrastinators can always find new and ingenious ways to practise their craft. In fact, if we were as committed to writing as much as we are to avoiding it, I’m sure that the literary world would be drowning under the pressure of our contributions.

I’m sure my postman thinks I am related to the Rockefeller’s. Every day for the last 3 weeks he has rung my bell in order to hand over my latest package unaware that all the books are free gratis. The anticipation of receiving my freebies makes butterflies breakdance in my stomach. The experience is almost erotic, though I’m not sure the postman would agree. I mean, me standing there in fluffy, pink pyjamas looking like Alice Cooper’s slightly younger sister can hardly be a thrill for him.

But I digress, (no change there then), now it’s time to get down to the business of actually reading my stash and, more importantly, writing up the reviews. The book pile waits patiently on my bedside table and the notepad and pen are poised. Time to switch off the computer, switch on the kettle and work.

And I will….right after I take a sneaky peak at Twitter…just a quick look…honest!!!

Family Friendly…???

Now I may possibly be slightly behind the times here but I recently discovered that there are a sizable number of friends and acquaintances who live “apart”. This is due to financial pressures and, in this climate, I can’t say I blame them. My partner (who works full time) and I sat down and worked out the advantages of myself working part time. I refuse to work full time we both feel our son is too young to spend 40+ hours in Childcare. The upshot is that we would be a lot worse off.

We rent our home, we don’t own a car, we already have a debt management plan and our social life barely registers on any scale. We drink occasionally(Sainsbury’s own brand red wine @ £2.50 per bottle) and we eat cheaply, but well. If we aspire to anything more than this then the only alternative is to hand our son over to state care and spend years feeling guilty about it.

Those that have chosen to live apart do not do so out of greed, I see no evidence of champagne or tins of beluga caviar in their recycling bins, but out of sheer necessity. It enables them to either avoid crippling debt or to pay off their debts quicker and be able to fund little Johnny’s growth spurt that required three pairs of shoes in one month.

The point is that it is a travesty when families are forced to live in this manner. We were all brought up to believe that hard work brought stability or was I just dreaming that bit?

My partner and I considered our options and, whilst we can see the financial advantages of living apart, we are also committed to raising our son together. God knows, I already know the pain of being a part-time parent.

So we will continue to use sites such as Gumtree and Free-cycle, we will happily support our local charity shops and I will endeavour to make 16 meals from 1 chicken. Hopefully one day the Government, whichever party that might be, will find it in their hearts to play fair and pass some Family Friendly policies.

Kate’s Monday Book Blog

Having been extremely successful at winning books (via Twitter) lately, I think it only fair to start reviewing them on my blog. So watch out for my thoughts on books buy authors including Phillippa Gregory, Terry Deary and many more. Starts Monday28th of September!!!