Saturday 31 March 2018

The Struggling Writer in his Garret

Welcome aboard, Dan
We accommodate all flavours of holiday maker here. Our current visitor is (Mr) Dan of  'Dan and Dan' fame, frequent visitors and Friends of the Blog, married last year on that cruise ship off Italy. 'Mrs Dan' is famously the more enthusiastic about our livestock and was here with her Mum (Cousin Cathy), if you recall, a few weeks back, narrowly missing our ewe 'Rosie' having her twins and failing to see any ducklings hatch.

The best kind of 'struggling writer' came
bearing gifts. Thanks Dan!
This Spring, the couple had decided to visit separately because Mrs Dan wanted to treat her Mum to a birthday break, while Dan's visit needed to give him a week of total peace and quiet in which to write up a thesis as part of his final marks on his University "Masters" degree.

The writer in his garret. Also known as our
spare bedroom.
The 'Uni' in this case is London School of Economics, the Masters is in Business Management and the Thesis is in "Supply Chain Resilience" That subject is one close to our hearts as it was my bread and butter for most of my working life but is also currently quite topical and timely following well publicised failures in Danish shipping giant Maersk and in my own company, DHL's abortive attempt to take over chicken distribution for KFC. The former was as a result of a massive cyber 'hack'. The latter was just a dog's breakfast comedy of errors.

Emerging now and again for food.
So, Dan is here for a short week, closeted in the spare room where we have borrowed him a desk and given him a chair and even 2 turkey feathers for quills. He works away in 4 hour+ bursts emerging only occasionally for tea and stopping (otherwise) for just his meals and to sleep. He has 6000 words of brilliance to create by Tuesday and has already done a lot of taped interviewing with people in the business, which he is able to upload to a voice-recognition website which transcribes the audio and gives it back to you as text. Sometimes the text is even quite accurate but he still has to spend hours proof reading it to make sure his thesis makes sense. At other times he has to go on conference calls for his 'proper job'; this course is only really an allowed study-sabbatical. He also works well into the evening after supper, so we leave him alone for three hours or so when we nip off to the latest play rehearsal. He is getting on OK and is still on schedule to complete by Tuesday.

A tangle of lambs round his legs as Dan tries
to line up the bottle on the correct lamb's mouth.
He allowed himself one little 10 minute distraction when he decided to tease Mrs Dan by being caught on camera, bottle feeding the little ewe-lamb which she was so fed up to have missed being born. We were a bit concerned that this could be the end of a short but happy marriage but Dan happily pinged them across to Mrs Dan on 'messenger' and within seconds (he said) drew out the expected jokey/angry phone call.

The brilliant play-set created by the guys at the CE scheme.
Other than that, life has been all about The Play which is now getting scarily close. Dress Rehearsal is only 2 days away on Monday evening, and the performances are on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. By now, of course, they have the set built on the stage and everyone is mightily impressed and delighted with it. It features a 'Rayburn' style range made from the real, metal front and top but built to a wooden carcass as well as an old dresser for the 'good china' which had to be given 2 new doors made to look in keeping. Elizabeth stepped from 'Producer' to 'props' dept for an afternoon to knock out some matching curtains and cushion covers out of an old duvet cover, on the sewing machine.

The Players rehearsing a scene from "Anyone Can Rob a Bank"
The Lisacul Players are now in parachutists "ground-rush" mode, cramming in rehearsals every evening and even a couple to fine tune one of the acts on Sunday afternoon. No spoilers on this blog, of course, suffice to say it is all frantic hard work as the deadline looms, but "The Show will go on" and I'm predicting it will be a superb, funny success which will delight the audience and leave the team all exhausted but elated. Watch this space for progress reports.

Liz jointing up a turkey.
(Typing is interrupted at this point by the Guinea Fowl kicking off their alarm, and me letting the dogs loose just as the Heavens opened and a huge hail storm comes down. The dogs may or may not have found a scent-trail but they give up half way across the 5-acre field and race back to get under cover from the hail. Their route home crosses that of dozens of hens and roosters fleeing for cover too and I even saw the whole flock of ewes and lambs racing for the shelter. If Brer Fox was indeed on site and snatched a bird, then I suppose we should leave him welcome to that one.)

Clearing out the 'office' under the stairs.
...Which rather distracted me from my train of thought. What else is new? With the loss of my trusty old PC, the house lost the need for my own 'garret' - the little cubby hole under the stairs which had become an office and glory-hole. The Interior Design Department feel there are far better (and more attractive) uses for this space including, possibly, a comfy chair for herself, so the area is being dismantled for all my bodged shelving and the accumulated junk found better homes (or consigned to the wheelie bins in the best tradition of de-cluttering).

The late Cathy Chapman, featured in the
previous post (plus dog, Kes)
I suspect that is enough for now.

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