Such a lot going on

I know I haven’t updated this in a while, but there are several reasons for that. The main one is that we had some building work done at home from March to May, and so there were a lot of things I had to organise first, such as engaging an architect, getting planning permission sorted out, and finding a builder.

We have had a small utility room built behind our garage, running parallel to the lounge, the outer wall of which is in line with the rear building line, and a conservatory coming out into the garden. As the conservatory wall would fall on top of a manhole this had to be moved (which made the whole project more expensive, of course!) and we had to have a Build-Over Agreement with our water services provider as we have a long pipe running under the garage and joining the foul water sewer at said manhole. Not a problem, our provider was really helpful, but it was a bit time-consuming. We also had to have a Party Wall Agreement with our neighbours. I organised pretty much all of this, plus I was involved in some of the sourcing of materials and that of a slightly cheaper conservatory. But we are really pleased with the results, and there’s no doubt that having a utility room has made it much easier to keep on top of normal household functions like doing the washing and washing-up (but not manually, which has got to be better!)

The other major delay has been due to the fact that I found out at Christmas that to post a novel on Amazon Kindle requires an American tax reference number (Individual Tax Identification Number, or ITIN) if you are a foreigner wishing to claim tax treaty benefits. Without this you would be charged 30% withholding tax by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) on all your royalties, so this obviously needed doing prior to posting, and it’s taken a while to sort out.

However, things are moving. I have now finished painting the cover for Floodtide, and it is due to be photographed this weekend. That also took a while, as I spent a whole day on the first part of it, to the extent that I ended up with a very painful shoulder. Just after Christmas I was diagnosed with a ruptured tendon in my shoulder, so this wasn’t terribly helpful. But following some treatment for my rheumatoid arthritis I experienced a benefit to the shoulder, and was able to complete the painting.

I intend to display it on DeviantArt, where I have just taken out a page, along with the first 3 chapters of the novel, and my son will help me make a video, to be hosted on YouTube, of me reading those first 3 chapters aloud. The cover will also be posted on this site.

In between all of this I have continued to go walking daily (a bit less so during the build) and three weeks ago I walked the Race for Life with my friend, at Ferry Meadows in Peterborough. The distance was 5 kilometers (3 miles), which we did in 1 hour and 12 minutes, so I figured I’d done pretty well, considering I couldn’t walk downstairs properly till last August (I had to go one step at a time) even though I was on medication for the rheumatoid. We walked as Team Zarduth, and have raised about £130 for Cancer Research. I now have my first ever sports medal! I was so useless at sports at school that I would never have dreamed of doing anything like that. But I love going walking, and thought I might as well raise some money for charity whilst doing something I enjoy. It’s a no-brainer, really.

I’ve just today made arrangements to go back onto Local Hospital Radio here in Peterborough, where my DJ friend invites me into the studio as a guest periodically. This is literally the hospital’s radio service, which is run by volunteers, and where I have featured as a guest several times over the past year. I’ll be going on air on Friday the 8th of August. So if you’re in Peterborough City Hospital that evening, don’t forget to tune in and listen between 7 and 9 p.m. I’ll be reading some of Floodtide aloud, playing some favourite music, and talking rocks. More details later, but my husband will also be a studio guest as he has a great interest in music.

Talking of which, we visited Peterborough’s Willow Festival on the embankment of the River Nene two weekends ago. I’ll be reviewing this over the next few days, along with our recent trip down to Hatfield House to Folk by the Oak. And next weekend we’re off to a music festival in Hitchin. More later…