Little Storyteller – Juvenilia: A Little Life in Scribbles and Dreams

Delving into Juvenilia: Reflecting back on my scribbles and dreams…

A life of scribbles and dreams!
A life of scribbles and dreams!

While I’ve been conducting my Minimalist March Purge (see here: https://notmuchofayoungfarmer.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/decluttering-march-the-month-of-minimalism/) I came across my old stash of handwritten notes, compiling probably half of my Juvenilia. I do have distant dreams of all these scraps of paper being collected up one day, by a bored postgraduate in an archive somewhere or else by my biggest fan, and compiled into a nice big compendium, chronicling where my genius began.

Then when I found it all, I read through it, and realised I was definitely living in a bubble both under the misguided comprehension that I was indeed at all talented and within my own ego.

So this is what happened:

Minimalist March - more of that juvenile writer's life.shreddingIt might seem harsh to shred things that I obviously (upon close inspection) had spent a great deal of time and effort over. But it was probably something on a lower rung from juvenilia, if I’m totally honest: very much baby writing. It will have shaped the stuff I’ve written in earnest since – characters, plot lines and themes have all persevered and in some places blossomed – but there wasn’t much I can do with it. All of it is inside my head anyway.

I have learnt a bit about myself through doing this: I’ve been able to view my current writing in a different light, and revisit things that had once been so important, and which might still contribute to changing my writing for the better.

When I’m interviewing, we often talk about teaching as being a career that is constantly changing, where you are always learning new things and improving, and that is what draws most people in, and is what I thought had drawn me in, but in actual fact, terrified me. On the flipside, I have come to realise that my current writing has been stagnating: it desperately needed to change, evolve; it needed a fresh outlook, in all honesty. So while it was hard initially to feed those first few pages into my shredder, it was useful to do.

Like Nora in The Siren, one of my favourite books (guilty pleasure!) which I may one day review if it’s not a little close to the nerve, who shreds chapters because they aren’t strictly fiction; I too felt like I was shredding the parts that were a little too close to reality…

So now I can put it to a different use! I will use it to line the trenches that my beans will grow in this year. Reusing, recycling!

This has been quite a serious post. Apologies! Minimalist March is very much almost at its end, and I’ve done… what? I’ve cleared out six bags of clothes, three bags of books, listed a whole bunch of stuff on eBay, taken some bits and bobs to the charity shop, aaaand… that’s it. I’ve done a room! Bully for me.

Roll on Minimalist April!

Love Katy

x

 

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Views from my Greenhouse – Lazy Sunday Update

This will be my 100th post on my blog!!

It’s a lazy Sunday here in Yorkshire. The clocks went forward which meant one less hour in bed. Boo! I got woken up by two little kittens-who-aren’t-really-kittens-anymore spring-boarding back and forth onto my bed. I’m trying to do a little bit of writing before we go to the Living North show at York Racecourse. I used to be an early bird: I always used to be able to get up at half seven/eight on a weekend, get loads of writing done while it was quiet at home. Now if I manage to drag myself out of bed at all, I end up on Facebook or the Daily Mail online, and then the morning’s gone! And I’m usually then in a bad mood which will carry into the rest of the day.

Yesterday I took some pictures in my greenhouse using my new camera, which I am still very much in love with!

Mum's sweet peas are sprouting up quickly now!
Mum’s sweet peas are sprouting up quickly now!
All my onions and leeks, keen and eager!
All my onions and leeks, keen and eager!
Lots of different salad things: spinach, rocket, radish and cos lettuce.
Lots of different salad things: spinach, rocket, radish and cos lettuce.
Chilli peppers closest to the camera survived the frost; some of the tomatoes in back did not.
Chilli peppers closest to the camera survived the frost; some of the tomatoes in back did not.

We had a nasty frost in the middle of last week, and all my cauliflowers shrivelled up, and a bunch of tomato stalks all fell over and have now died. I was a bit upset, yet other things seem to have endured. I think I have some tomato seeds left, so I might have another go next weekend sowing a whole bunch. But I’m running out of space in my greenhouse! Can’t wait for it to get a little bit warmer so I can start planting stuff out.

It’s a short week, hurrah! But I have lots of things to think about. Next weekend is a triple-whammy for me – no, wait, a quadruple-whammy! It’s Mum’s birthday, it’s the Big Breakfast meet, I’m (hopefully!) seeing my best friends from Bristol, and it’s planting time for chitting potatoes!

So much for a holiday!

Enjoy your Sundays guys!

Katy

x

A Little Blue Subaru Called Dickie – Detailing

A little blue Subaru called Dickie header

Just a quickie from Dickie!

That is not meant to be rude. I signed up to Car Throttle the other day, and apparently Dickie is on their ban list! That is quite honestly discrimination. It is his nickname!

I drove Dickie to work the other day – it was a chain of events necessitated by the badly behaved Flying Banana decided to spit out (or rather chew up and stubbornly wedge away) the equivalent of emission dummies. Dickie was in for his MOT anyway, but he then had to be swiftly taxed (gulp) and then had his first ride out. Brum!

However it wasn’t a typical Dickie run out:

After basically running on fumes and less than, I filled him up with super at a proper petrol station, none of this supermarket rubbish, and then gunned it all the way home.

Or, until the check engine light came on!

So, unfortunately I had to dash the hopes of the Corsa kids behind me, who were dreaming presumably of a quick chase from North Grimston to Norton, judging by the way they pushed me to the Setty turn off.

And then after a night in car hospital… no check engine, just a happy brum!! Hmmm.

Saw this on Car Throttle, thought it was appropriate (sorry, I don’t know who made it!):

check engine not sure

Anyway, Daddy then, in typical father tinkering fashion, got to detailing the Dixster! Check him out – Brum’s lookin’ good!

BEFORE:

Rusty Yucky Dickie
Rusty Yucky Dickie

AFTER:

Shiny sexy Dickie!

Shiny sexy Dickie!

So tell me what you think – does he look mighty fiiiine? We’re getting ready for the Big Breakfast meeting on Easter weekend.

So if you’re in the Hull area, or travelling on the B1248, watch out! There’s a noisy little blue Subaru about!

Love Katy

x

Single Belle on the Farm – 10 Reasons Why Being Single is Good

Single Belle on the Farm

Why it's OK to be Single
Why it’s OK to be Single

I wouldn’t say I’m an “eternal” singleton, though I feel often pigeonholed as one, but I am certainly not against romance (do you know of anyone who is single and available, preferable with an interest in cars, gardening, prepared to only ever go on holiday to the Nurburgring, likes cats and big excitable fluffy white doggies, and prepared to deal with zombie me during the week/summer? Then please do get in touch!) However I am definitely not one of these people who view the “single status” (eurgh) as a cursed plague. The people who have never not been in a relationship since they were 15 (and I don’t just mean in the same relationship!) do bamboozle me.

So I thought a bit, and came up with a list of things that are amazing and only apply to you if you are single. celebration of the singleton, if you will!

I didn’t want this list to be like those you find in Cosmo, etc: you know the type! With a snappy title, “33 reasons why being single is amazing”, and then once you’re reading it, it’s a list written by someone in a couple who has gone through all the annoying things their partner does and condescendingly told we eternal spinsters “at least you don’t have to put up with someone stealing the duvet/shaving your legs everyday/pretending to like football/cars/gaming”. I also didn’t want this to fall into a Bridget Jones kind of territory.

I want this to be a bit more serious. Being single isn’t some frothy frivolous idea that we do for a laugh; nor is it some disease that is catching, akin to boyfriend-poaching or the desire to have lots of cats.

It is a conscious decision to never settle for less, and one I believe in very much!

A wordless wednesday motto

Now these are in no particular order! These are just as they occurred to me.

1. Not having to compromise. Everything is for you: not to be shared. Now I am an only child, so I’m not used to sharing anyway. But from my experience, in relationships it’s all about the consultation: can we do this, do you want to do this, we have to do this instead of this. But when you’re on your onesie, who do you have to compromise with? No one (except maybe the devil/angel on your shoulder!)

2. Not having to justify! When you spend your money – buying whatever you want or need, be it shoes, dresses, handbags; a new camera, tickets to the football, or a new car – it’s your money you’re spending; not somebody else’s! I couldn’t imagine having to hide purchases, or lie about them, because someone else would judge me – or worse still, attack me for them. This is my money which I’ve earned – to spend on me!

3. Feeling free. There is a sense of liberty in being single. You are free to do whatever you like: go travelling, go abroad, move abroad; you can move to a different place, be it in this country or another, as your flexibility depends on you rather than on two. It doesn’t have to be restrictive to that: I dallied with spending a little time abroad and ultimately didn’t like it; but I still had the opportunity.

4. Being wholly in control. This leads on from the one before. Naturally this maybe applies to where you are in your life: if you’re a wee bairn with your life ahead of you, control is maybe edged towards the people you still depend on; I myself am still a wee bairn at heart. But controlling what you do with time/money/life is a big deal.

5. Having no one to answer to. I don’t know about you, but I hate somebody wanting to know the reason why I did this or that. Is this one a little too much like 2? I suppose another way to look at it is to think that you don’t

6. Your time is your own. This is sooo important. As someone who has always been characteristically a bit of a loner and leaning towards introvert in her person, having to suddenly share my time – my most precious asset – with somebody else, whose ideas often run at a very different angle to my own, is something I don’t take to very well. I’ve been me and just me for so long I’ve gotten quite nicely used to it.

7. Appreciate the little things. Usually things like a peaceful night’s sleep and cooking what you want without having to cater for different tastes and allergies and whatnot. But also being able to get in from work, chuck on the appropriate slob clothes, and watch whatever rubbish there is on telly (usually Keeping up with the Kardashians or Say Yes to the Dress). These are important things!

8. Get out of ‘Keeping up with Mr & Mr Jones’. Some people in couples love this! I swear some couples are solely based on this. Such-and-such got together, so we have to get together; they went on holiday, so we now have to go on holiday; they bought a house; they got married; they’ve split up… wait?  I sound bitter, but please bear in mind I am observant, and especially observant of people, and some things are so obvious to the outsider it’s almost scripted.

9. Enjoy your quirks! So I like various things that aren’t going to be compatible with everyone: I like metal music, I like listening to German radio stations, I like researching healthy food ideas that most men would call ‘rabbit food’, I like writing about my life on my blog, I like watching The Big Bang Theory over and over again, and my favourite movies are Japanese anime (Studio Ghibli!), I like being on my own, and I like spending a whole day up to my elbows in soil and compost and a bit of manure. Hmmm, do you like the sound of that? Sign your name below!

10. Focus on today, and making today great – not next week, next month, next year. This is probably applicable to all of life, but I’m very good at obsessing over things I have little control over right now, or perhaps things that won’t yield results till much later. I think my inherent impatience is something contributes a lot to my sporadic blasts of creativity, imbued with an edge of desperation. Ooh, that was almost poetic! That must be the third glass of moscato talking.

So, it’s taken about ten revisions and a week of writing… but I think that’s your lot! Not bad for a Saturday night, eh?

I think we are very much pre-programmed, at least biologically to find a mate, but we’re also brainwashed by the media, and by films and television and books and everything, that finding a partner and being in a relationship is key to success. Being focused on ourselves is now considered selfish, which in itself is now decided to be a bad thing. Pah!!! Being single is good. Because I do firmly believe that we should never settle for anything less than the absolute best we can achieve.

Let me know. Do you agree? Or am I indeed an alien? Have I simply not found “the Right One” yet? Or might I be onto something? Give me your thoughts! Though please, no pity parties!

Till next time, from Single Belle on the Farm!
Till next time, from Single Belle on the Farm!

Single Belle on the Farm – WordPress Anniversary!

Single Belle on the Farm

Hello all, it’s my WordPress anniversary today!

One whole year of Windy Farm and A little blue Subaru called Dickie!

I can’t quite believe I’ve been blogging for a whole year now. I’m only just getting the hang of it.

It amazes me how many blogs there are out there, all about relationships and life in relationships. I’m keen on budgeting and saving money, but every blog I look at tends to be one (or more often both) of two things: American, and about a couple saving on two incomes.

What about us singletons?! Who aren’t American, have one wee salary coming in, and run two cars, and have an issue with expensive taste, and living beyond our means?!

What about us that aren’t saving for holidays with partners and aren’t saving up for big swish weddings?

Sure, it’s maybe sad when you’ve had a rough day, or you’re poorly, or you’ve been back and forth between doctors’ (doctor’s? Aaargh!) surgeries and chemists looking for sympathy about your earache, and you get home and there isn’t someone waiting for you. But then again, I have this face to come home to, so that’s not too bad:

Bilbo with hearts

I had to have a bit of a social media purge at the weekend. I deleted Facebook off my phone (for about the fourth time). Why? While in essence it’s a great little thing, the book of face, for sharing pictures and keeping up to date with people you went to school with who you probably never even spoke to at school let alone now, but it’s also a nasty little device of oneupmanship and (inadvertent I’m sure) Rubbing Everyone’s Faces In Your Own Glory. Genuine thing, that.

I read a post on Pinterest the other day about a lady who was 26, without a husband, without children, and without a career. While it did have a definite Christian swing, the premise was something I can definitely relate to! I will be 25 this year – a quarter century. I don’t have a husband and certainly no children, thank you very much; not even a date on the horizon! However I do have a career, which I’ve spent a long time struggling to cultivate. I am proud of the job I do at the moment: I love the company I work for, love the people I work with, and even though it is an office job, it’s still an office job that serves a definitive purpose. I just wish it wasn’t a two hour round trip away!

So in honour, I now launch Single Belle on the Farm!

I hope you enjoy 🙂

Katy x

Windy Farm – The DSLR Chronicles

Frosts, Greenhouses, and a new Picture-Taking Device…

Good evening all! Well, it’s evening here in the UK – but hello to one and all, wherever you are!

I’ve had not a very good week. I’ve had a terrible mind-numbing earache all week, so bad that it drove me to the surgery (and this is major, since I tend to lean towards the mindset that you should only go to the doctors’ surgery if you are in a serious situation, and not for a little sniffle or what-have-you), after much to-ing and fro-ing from dismissive pharmacy assistants and jarringly cheerful nurse practitioners.

My car has also been playing up. The Flying Banana is no longer flying! Its get-up-and-go got up and went! A mystery light came up on the dash, and then it wouldn’t build any revs or speed, and I wasn’t about to chug up and down hills for 35 miles with an iffy engine. And now it’s in surgery and I, the girl with three cars, is stranded. A pedestrian!! Unthinkable.

Then it came a hard frost over night. Look at my greenhouse!

25.3.15 A frosty morning

However a package arrived on Tuesday which cheered me up endlessly.

I bought a new camera!

Those of you who may recall my post about the Quest of Week Three (find it here: https://notmuchofayoungfarmer.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/minimalist-march-quest-of-week-three/) will remember that I have been searching for my camera for, like, ever! Since I have decided that my role as designated photographer-slash-camera-provider may have, unintentionally and unwittingly, provided somebody with a camera bounty after a night out, a new camera was in order. I use my iPhone but, let’s be honest, the quality is serious iffy.

So I went on tord ‘Bay and had a nosy. I’d heard of these mysterious ‘DSLR’ cameras before, raved about on every single blog and on every Pinterest pin about ‘how to make your blog better’, so I searched for DSLR cameras, looked at the ones ending on Sunday, decided I liked the Canon EOS one, was outbid on two (and went into a consequential rage because of being outbid), my Daddy then found me a buy-it-now, and so I did, and it came yesterday!

I am in love. The photos are amazing! I think I’ll end up looking at my iPhone photos with such derision and contempt now.

Here are some I took this morning!

A little lonely cauliflower... a lot of them seem to have been badly affected by frost!
A little lonely cauliflower… a lot of them seem to have been badly affected by frost!
The "Dutch" tomatoes and peppers, living in the utility room.
The “Dutch” tomatoes and peppers, living in the utility room.
Some onions... wow, the DSLR really shows up the green coming on the compost!
Some onions… wow, the DSLR really shows up the green coming on the compost!
My Ailsa Craig onions.
My Ailsa Craig onions.
Lots of little guys poking up here in my salad starters!
Lots of little guys poking up here in my salad starters!
Tomatoes that, unlike the Gardener's Delight, have resisted the cold - despite being uncovered overnight!
Tomatoes that, unlike the Gardener’s Delight, have resisted the cold – despite being uncovered overnight!

Ooooh, I’m ever so pleased! Expect a lot more photographs now folks!

It’s about to get serious!

I hope you all enjoy.

Katy

x

Minimalist March – Week Three

Week three has been the biggie! Most specifically, week three Saturday.

Today I’ve come at it running. I woke up at 7, thought that was a bit early for a weekend, dozed until what I thought was half eight (it was 7.45). I had my cup of tea, checked emails, scrolled through Pinterest, and spent about twenty minutes waiting for my computer to finish configuring updates. I got changed, decided to walk the dog, came back, had a perfect boiled egg and soldiers (one soldier did desert the Noble Battalion of my plate – for the gaping jaws of Bilbo! Cheeky sod), and thought, let’s be at it.

I got some good tunes on, and this morning I dragged half my life out and through the blender.

I had three foot-high piles of notes from my entire undergraduate career (and I still feel like there is more somewhere – I know there are a couple of modules missing). They have been stuffed in bags ready for the “Twisted Firestarter” (aka Grandad, who is a bit match-hasty) to try his best to smoke out the village.

Oooh, wasn't I a little clever bee?
Oooh, wasn’t I a little clever bee?

I then went mad with the shredder. As some of you may know, in my brightest heart of hearts, I long to be a writer. I’ve longed to be one since I was thirteen. Maybe younger. Today I’ve just gone through ten years of notes – and filled six huge bags full of shreddings. Brutal! It is all in my head, or not worth featuring in the paperback edition of my collected works.

A little brutal, maybe! But all this shredding won't be wasted.
A little brutal, maybe! But all this shredding won’t be wasted.

Then we moved onto clothes. Not clothes! I am a hoarder, a compulsive purchaser, and a permanent scorner of returns. I have also gone up a size or two since I was 18. And even though I am sure I have donated many things to charity, in either those bags you get posted through the letter box that you leave on your drive and hope the charity (and not some opportunist in the same vein as Bilbo the soldier-thief), or bunged into the clothes bank. So I have been harsh, and brutal, and realistic. I have six huge bags – even bigger than the shreddies! – full of clothes to go in the clothes banks.

I do think that if I had never spent all this money in the first place, I would be loaded!

I have also filled the spare bed with an entire wardrobe of clothes to try and sell on eBay. These are things that are top quality, some of them never worn, that I think might make somebody else happy.

Cheesy, I know!

Finally, I tackled my books. I have a big plastic box, I think designed to go under a bed, and it is full of books to take to the second hand bookshop. These are books I’ve read that I have clung onto, deluding myself I might read them again (James Joyce, I’m looking at you), and books that it’s about time I gave up on.

I feel a lot better for going through all this. There’s a lot of work ahead, especially with sorting through my clothes, ironing them, taking attractive photographs, and listing them all on eBay. There must be about fifty items – I don’t think I have enough hours/energy on a weekend to do it in one slog. It might end up having to be a one-a-day type thing. But I will get it done!

Check back for an update on what progress I’ve made!

How is your Minimalist March coming on?

Katy
x

Grow, my pretties… Windowsill growing

These are what I call my “Dutch seedlings”. Mum brought them back for me from a Dutch garden centre when they went to Germany (without me!) last August.

They hadn’t shown much promise in the greenhouse, so I moved them onto the windowsill of the spare bedroom, and look at them now!

Little green soldiers standing to attention
Little green soldiers standing to attention

This photo was taken on, ooh, Friday morning – they’ve grown a few more millimetres since then! So here I have my “Dutch cherry tomatoes”, “Dutch peppers” in a mix of colours, and then some Ailsa Craig toms, because I had a few seeds left in the packet.

Isn’t it funny how they’re not growing in these modules nearest the end?! Is it because they’re that little bit further away from the light? I turned them around, but not much seemed to happen.

Then I had to move the seedlings off the guest room windowsill due to a water-related incident… on an aside, white toothpaste (not the gel stuff) works absolute wonders on getting pesky water stains off painted wood surfaces! They are now living in the utility room until they’re a wee bit bigger, and then I shall move them out to my greenhouse.

So far I seem to be swamped with tomatoes! I think I have about four trays of tomatoes coming on. I’m hoping that they will all grow big and strong, and I might be able to sell some decently sized plants at the WI plant stall.

I will run around and take some more pictures today as part of my Greenhouse Sunday. Some things are coming on mighty fine…others, not so much.

Till laterz!

Katy

x

Minimalist March – Quest of Week Three

It has taken me a lot longer to do each too individually than I thought it would. It’s taken me about three weeks to do my bedroom. This is because usually I’m so tired after I get home from work that by the time I’ve cooked, ate my dinner, washed up and had a bath, had an actual conversation with my parents, it’s normally half nine and I just want to curl up and read a book. Sometimes I can motivate myself to do maybe an hour’s work – but this is usually sorting through paperwork, you know; the type of personal admin you do accumulate over the years.

This week I’ve been trying to list stuff on eBay to try and flog. But I was out Wednesday night with work and last night I got really annoyed with my computer being slow, so I ended up spending the later part of the evening trying to sort it out.

Minimalist March is also running alongside my own personal writing challenge, plus my frugal living (it complements frugal living certainly!).

One thing that I have been hoping to uncover, which I have not found as yet, is something I am now starting to miss, as I’m getting more and more involved in blogging, and would be something very useful for eBay as well; and that’s my camera.

At the moment I use my phone. It’s an iPhone 4S which I think is about a dinosaur now. The camera is passable, certainly; it usually takes great pictures of my vegetables and seedlings and loves to take pictures of Bilbo, but he is very photogenic. However now that I’m reading other blogs and getting more into the serious stuff, I am realising a proper camera is probably a better medium for all this.

Now I do have a camera. I got it for my birthday a couple of years ago. I found the case. I think I found its box as well. But no camera! It’s been missing for a while. I think I tried to get the police involved but they just sneered at me.

Minimalist March - ou est le camera

So where is it?! I found the laptop cover I was looking for while I was still in teacher training. I even found the shoebox with mum’s wedding shoes in. I even found my birth certificate, which I’ve been looking for since god knows when. But no camera.

Look at this mess!

No filter - just to give you an idea of the mess my life is in!
No filter – just to give you an idea of the mess my life is in!

Wish me luck!

Katy x