Category Archives: If We Were Having Coffee

Monday Coffee in Lockdown

Come on in and grab a seat. I’ve taken the liberty and separating our sofas so that we adhere to the two metre rule. It’s wonderful to see you again. Grab your cup and remember to put it straight into the dishwasher to avoid contaminating anyone around you.

It’s unfortunate that our usual haunt has closed during this lockdown, but it does give me a chance to host our coffee catch up in my ethereal lounge. Time seems to have slowed and everything has taken on an apocalyptic appearance, especially venturing outside. I know it sounds terrible, and I really shouldn’t do it, but I’ve adopted the reference of ‘walkers’ used on the television show, The Walking Dead, to describe those souls traipsing past my house making their way to the forest just down the road. I fear them, each one a prospective carrier oblivious to the inhabitant that is growing within their healthy bodies.

I’m sure I can be forgiven for thinking that a trip to our local food store is not dissimilar to bathing in a septic tank filled with clean water. Chances are, you won’t see the germs but they will certainly be taking liberties with your clothes and exposed skin. Gloves are pointless as they just add to the contamination of different surfaces. You might not catch anything but the person two metres behind you won’t be thanking you when you’ve touched all the metal railings, containers and unwrapped food with those ‘safe’ gloves. If you don’t believe me, find a pair of clean gloves and spray a little paint on the fingers. Now go touch all your precious surfaces and see what happens.

My cynicism is born from spending too much time reading about the non-conformers – the free thinkers – who assume this is just a bunch of bull. ‘Scare mongering tactics’ and ‘utter nonsense’, and my favourite: ‘the government is just using this to control you’! I wonder what you think of those comments? How far should we accept what we’re told to do before saying: no, this affects my civil liberties? Do you feel the same way?

Considering I’ve been locked away for more than two weeks, I have to admit I haven’t found this lifestyle much different to my normal hermit lifestyle. The big difference is running my Writers Club Online, though my Zoom meetings have taken care of face to face group discussions. The children love it and have adapted well to the new norms. Social distancing was something I happily practiced anyway and travelling as little as possible is just sensible to reduce your carbon footprint.

Do you notice how fast technology is being developed now that we are facing a new war. Is this our version of an industrial revolution that sets a precedent for working at home to become a cultural norm, reducing travel and therefore activating a movement for climate change? I wonder if those who work from home will want to return to the office after tasting the opportunity to be closer to their families while accomplishing those same roles. I know it won’t be the case for everyone. Some will balk at the idea of being trapped at home. Others though, might appreciate it. Definitely something to think about in a future, especially with housing shortages and office blocks standing empty for years.

Maybe the future will see less office space eating up our central business districts and instead, housing estates with forests, play areas and facilities taking precedence over those spaces so that workers live closer to CBD’s but work remotely, time sharing office space. Just a thought.

Anyway, it’s nearly time for me to prepare for my webex meeting with my writers from Wooden Hill Primary. Thank you for stopping by. Let me know what you think our future holds.

Stay well and stay safe.

Monday Coffee in Isolation

Hi! I won’t hug you today as we are practicing social distancing, but I will say it’s great to see you. At a time when the world is coming to a standstill, having a chance to meet friends makes me think we are far luckier than our ancestors.

While the media fills our heads with information and updates of doom, I take to social media to find my friends and give updates on positive events. Sharing fun ideas on how to keep the children busy has been well received and I am determined to keep it going for as long as I can.

My Writers’ Club has adapted like a chameleon to new vegetation. We’ve had two webex meetings and have managed to collate ideas and start writing projects. Considering some children are as young as six, I’m very impressed at their capabilities and can look at our teething problems as minimal. I will be opening the club to new members who will start in April. If your children enjoy creating worlds and pushing their imagination beyond the obvious, contact me. I’ve attached the flyer below.

Contact me if you would like your child to join the online Writers’ Club.

At home, the house has been full for about two weeks now. All my children are keeping busy with their schoolwork. I’m trying to supplement their work to encourage further growth while we are in isolation. Never one to waste time, my daughter has enforced school schedules, even if there aren’t any lessons planned by their teachers on the day. Instead, we make use of BBC bitesize and other programmes that offer free lessons to support children studying from home.

My biggest challenge is keeping my large family fed. Food runs have been cut to reduce exposure to the virus. My next run might be done with gloves and a mask. I’m getting paranoid over the chances that I might carry the virus in with the shopping bags or on the packaging. So everything is unpacked, cleaned and my own clothes changed with a complete decontamination of my face and hands. It’s exhausting but necessary if I want to keep the family safe. Are you following any protocols to keep your families or yourselves safe? Are you as paranoid as I am?

We have reached the days when earth’s most toxic inhabitants slow to a rumbling stop. While we complain and worry and fight to survive, remember to take a moment to appreciate all the things around you. Our greed led us here. Let’s hope this world wide experience will make us approach the future in a better way. I’m not holding my breath though.

Stay well and stay safe. x

Tuesday Catch Up

Stay well and stay safe.

That is my new catch phrase for communications. It is simple and succinct, and hopefully expounds the depth of my feelings towards those with whom I communicate. How strange it is to watch the world tilt on its unsteady axis, reeling and writhing from the threats and effects of a virus. To see the deprivations of human nature as well as its heights of generosity. Indeed, if I were a writer, I would classify this as a perfect plot line for an apocalyptic tale.

With a family of six and additions that kick the number of humans up to eight very large, hungry adults and children in a household, I am feeling the pull of peer pressure to join those panicked shoppers stripping shelves and aisles of their staple goods. Succumbing to that fear would add me to the ranks of hoarder, the selfish individuals who think of their own survival instead of the good of the whole community. Sitting on the fence though, I see both sides. My hubble is high risk and, knowing that I wouldn’t have to go out for food for a very long time, is appealing. But, looking at it from a community point of view, I couldn’t live with myself if I knew I was taking supplies away from the vulnerable members of our society. Where do you stand in all of this? Should we be questioning our morals at a time when survival seems to be key? My simple answer is: read some history books. Who do we celebrate as being the heroes during the worst of our past – the survivalists or those that sacrificed their safety and supplies for others?

With thoughts of survival in exclusion, keeping our minds and bodies active is the order of the day. I’ve had to think of ways of continuing my Writers’ Club without meeting face to face with my members. Thank goodness for the internet! I am able to offer a subscription to any family who wants something to do during school closures and isolation. Keeping children active, interested in varied, fun projects and motivating them to use their minds will stop cabin fever and stimulate continual growth of their minds and bodies, just in a different setting. Check out my Book Corner on Facebook if you are looking for ideas on how to keep your children entertained or active. Subscribe to the Writers’ Club for interactive sessions, webinars and online classes that will keep them entertained. I will add a form at the end of this post for that purpose.

Community is everything. In our area, we have some unsung heroes organising groups to care for the vulnerable on each street, making sure they have enough food and provisions for their isolation period. Keeping that outlook, no matter how tempting it is to hide away and survive on our own, is very important. For those that watch the Walking Dead, you know what I’m talking about! Community means survival and sacrificing those extra bags of pasta or toilet rolls means a family who can’t afford to bulk buy will get a chance to eat and enjoy comfortable ablutions too.

To close this Tuesday Catch Up, I would like to reiterate my initial message in this communication: stay well and stay safe. Try to limit your media intake to preserve your sanity and though it’s easy for me to say, try not to stress out. If you need help, reach out to friends and family. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, message me. I’ll be happy to chat to you from under my rock, in my cave, sipping on tequila. Feel free to join me for a chat there!

 

For those interested in subscribing to the Writers’ Club, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.

Monday Coffee

Pull up a chair and grab your cup. It’s time to relax and find out how your week has been.

Last week was one of the busiest I’ve had in months, even though I don’t have a nine-to-five post anymore. Possibly working way past reasonable hours has meant me popping up in social media at odd times or answering emails when most decent folk are fast asleep! It has been worth it. Not only have I managed to sign up four schools to my Writers’ Club, I’ve re-edited Scat The Black Cat and given the cover and illustrations a face lift. There’s more news to follow about Scat’s projection into the spotlight, so watch this space.

What has been the greatest achievement of your week? Did you manage to complete a project or work on a life goal? I’d love to know, so do share your stories in the comments below.

This week, I’ve launched a new feature on my Instagram page (@eloise_writes) – I’ve started Book of the Week. This feature will help promote indie authors’ books and hopefully share new titles with my audience. If you have a new title that you’d like to be featured, send me a link to your book and I’ll do the rest. Unfortunately I can’t promise to read all the books I promote on a timely basis to produce reviews, but I will endeavour to get to as many as I can.

Later this week, I hope to share some ridiculous clips of my cats talking. Apparently, my cat Kiki realised that if he spoke to me, I would respond. So, when I walk into the room, he meows a greeting. If he requires feeding, he comes up to me and meows with a different pitch, length of meow and slight reverberation of his voice. The other cats have cottoned on to our conditioned response to his voice and have now copied him. If you don’t believe me, look out for the posts on my social media later this week.

Kiki watching the birds.

Well, my cup is empty and, to be honest, I fancy a take out! So, I’ll love and leave you for this week. Join me for a coffee catch up next week and don’t forget to send in your weekly input.

Have a great week.

El x

Monday Coffee

It’s late – I know it. I’ve just finished my latest assignment and my brain feels like it’s about to explode. Rhyming slants and iambic pentameter beats are oozing out of my pores instead of the rich smell of coffee granules, ground and filtered through steaming water into our awaiting coffee cups.

Monday has been very busy. Mailshots had to be sent out for my Writers’ Club, which is starting this Friday, Business admin had to be taken care of before another week passed with it staring at me from the to-do list. The good news is that I actually have students signed up for the club. I hope to attract more once they settle back into the school routine and more schools offer the opportunity for a club to their students.

Who said quitting your job meant you could stay home and watch daytime television? Certainly not me! I have more jobs to complete than when I was at work? Go figure. There light at the end of the tunnel is knowing that I can expand my writing capabilities and utilise them across different areas whilst hopefully earning a decent living doing so. All it requires is hard work. So, I’m rolling up my sleeves and trying not to look at my bank account in the meantime.

In all honesty, the dream is still there, all sparkly and bright, but sometimes the hard slogging to make it a reality makes it feel like an insurmountable mountain I can’t climb. There are good days and there are very bad days. I take my hat off to those of you who have already made the jump – you are heroes in my book. Till I reach the other side, or even get halfway, I think I will be hanging on the moral support of my friends and family to keep going. Self doubt is the worst offender. It creeps in during the midnight hour when I lie awake thinking of all the tasks I need to do and all the financial hardship we might endure if I fail. Silencing that negative voice gets harder as you push further into the murky waters of the unknown possibilities of making money through writing. It does for me anyway.

Enough of that negativity! This is my quality time to catch up with you and find out what you have been doing with yourself over the past few months since I last stopped by for a coffee. Feel free to add your links or share your stories in the comments box.

Cheers! Here’s to the future and more coffee meet ups on a more regular basis.

 

Thursday, already?

I have started about three of four blog posts of the past few days, hoping to catch up with you and tell you all about the events from last week and what has been happening this week, to no avail. Sickly sprogs sprouting things that they shouldn’t, time turning the crank and speeding up every moment, my to-do list growing by the second – the cards were against me writing to you until now. Exhaustion is not an option as there is still so much to do and so little time. Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Forced to face the anger of the blustery wind, my night time coffee readers run for cover behind the double glazed windows of the coffee shop, observing the carnage outside. Trees thresh about, gripped by shuddering spasms while swaying in unison, as though possessed in their prayers for salvation. Beyond those glowing rectangular frames, cups clink and milk hisses as crowds of bloggers, authors and poets mingle with artists and musicians. A warm atmosphere tinged with satisfaction sits atop the bookshelves and multi-coloured sofas; everyone is in his or her safe space. On days like this, the coffee shop is full to capacity.

I’m glad you found me. We haven’t got our usual seat by the brick wall filled with book shelves. Instead, we are further back, pushed against the glass wall overlooking the swollen river which looks like it’s trying to hold onto the contents of its dinner without upchucking over the grassy lanes. Our meeting today is rather brief. It has been a long day and an episode of The Walking Dead awaits. So, let me get down to sharing my week with you. For those who are subscribed to my blog, you might have noticed my new Free Write section appear this week. This is part of my practise course work for my degree. The creative writing aspect requires you to try to free write every day. Some days have been difficult and others not so much. Overall, I managed four days out of seven. I have to improve.

Ideas have come together for the Literary Festival at the end of this month. Activities are now ready for my little Book Corner, I even have a roller banner designed for the occasion. I just need to order it and hopefully get it delivered before the event. The Children’s Writing panel event is going to be pretty exciting because it’s a question and answer session for people wanting to tackle writing children’s books for the first time. My nerves are tingling at the prospect of getting a questions I can’t answer but I think it will be a good experience.

Last week saw a pivotal moment in my life. Circumstances are pushing me in a more definite direction now and I feel it is going to lead to more exciting adventures in the future. I’ll share more once the picture becomes clearer.

What about you? What has happened to you over the past week?

Today, I got to meet up with a lady I’m mentoring. She has some wonderful ideas for a children’s book and has no idea how to start, so I’m helping her. I have a feeling she is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future as she has the ability to spin a yarn that has me in stitches for hours. I love her story telling and can’t wait to see her book come to life.

The hum of the coffee shop is slowing to a gentle murmur. At last, those possessed trees are now resting and the silence outside is a welcome relief for those stragglers from the coffee shop waiting for their buses to take them home. As we part ways, I wish you a happy week ahead and look forward to catching up again for another coffee date next week.

Have a great week!

 

Monday Coffee

It’s a whirlwind Monday with everything going at full speed ahead. Sparing a thought for Thomas Cook and their troubles, I’m hoping our travel plans together don’t go awry. Where are we going? Well, we’re blasting off with Space Dust, of course! It’s time for the book’s blog tour to begin. Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Thanks for meeting me here at the coffee house. I’m sorry it has been so many weeks since we last had a coffee catch up. Let’s get our beverages, find our favourite yellow sofa next to the book shelves filled books and I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to.

Image result for school gifSince we last met, the school term kicked off to a speedy start, which cut down my writing time to just two days a week again. It was great to see the new little faces of the Reception class – some of them are only just four years old! My intervention groups have changed this term with a focus on the early years and one of the junior classes. That means a more concentrated effort on those struggling students and more time for me to help them along before the half term.

Have you changed your schedule since the new term has started, or does school life not affect you any more? What have you been up to for the past few weeks?

As I sip my black coffee and nibble at a ginger nut biscuit, I have to share an exciting project which I hope will take off in the future. I’ve started putting together a package for my Author Enrichments which can be run in any school to help enhance literacy programmes already pre-existing within the classes. Once that is up and running, I will be able to use my writing and specialist literacy skills to provide author visits with a difference. Would you like an author visit that provides more than just an interesting talk and a story? Let me know what you think.

There’s more news about Space Dust. It’s going on tour! I’m still preparing the write ups for different blogs that have kindly agreed to host me from the end of September through to October. Each stop will provide an original post with interesting takes on how the book came to fruition, author interviews and character reveals.

20190916_110201000_iOSI’ll be giving a sneak preview of the sequel to the book and, at the end of October, Space Dust will be accompanying me to the October Literary Festival! Joining the likes of Fiona Barker, a panel of children’s authors will discuss the joys and heartbreak of writing children’s books.

20190916_110217000_iOSI will also be holding my own Book Corner work shop at one of the local libraries. All the characters from my books will be getting involved in craft sessions and activities to entertain and enthrall readers of any age. Don’t worry if you can’t attend. There will be live updates and videos right here and on my author website, so you won’t miss out!

The ginger nut biscuits are finished and so is my coffee which means it’s nearly time for me to go back to the grindstone and finish off those write ups. Once the tour is ready to rumble, I will send out the links to the pages participating in the tour so that you don’t miss anything. Send in your questions and comments on all that you see and like. Let me know if you’re enjoying the tour and what’s your favourite reveal.

Don’t forget to order your copy of Space Dust and leave your pics and reviews on my page or on amazon so that others can share in your enjoyment of the book.

Have a great week!

 

 

Monday Coffee

Come, sit next to me. The coffee house is packed today because of the dreary weather outside. Take in that strong aroma of coffee beans mingling and inter-twining with the flaky, baked pastries and sweet cakes. I’ve ordered your beverage already, so let’s catch up. Continue reading