Cool for the Summer

Ugh. UGH. I just glanced at the date and realised that in one month’s time I will be returning from my holiday. Which means in one month and one day, I will have nothing to look forward to except autumn, which is a tenuous thing to look forward to when a) this weather might last until October, and b) autumn is rarely as autumn-y as I’m expecting.

I mean, there are some other things to look forward to. It’s my birthday in September? I recently joined a cashback website and am interested to see if it makes me any cash? Life is actually pretty decent given that I’m living in a first-world country in a house with good plumbing? But still. I’m so excited for my holidayyyyyy that it’s hard to look past it. There will be (more) sun! There will be (non-Thames Estuary) sea! There will be tasty (not cooked by my mum or I) Greek food! Oh yeah I’m going to Greece what a surprise. Well I kind of have an excuse; a friend is celebrating her birthday in Zante, so I’m going to backpack from Corfu down to Kefalonia and then to Zante. It’s going to be My Family and Other Animals meets that time I went backpacking before. I’ve got extra packing cubes this time, and I know what I don’t need to take versus what I do. It really boils down to packing cubes.

Who else is going on holiday soon? Who has had a holiday recently? My uncle recently sent me photos of somewhere in the north of Scotland that apparently has its own micro-climate and I shit you not, I thought it was the Mediterranean. It wasn’t until I squinted at the mossy stone walls and distinctly rolling hills that I thought ‘could this actually be north of the boarder?’ I can’t remember the place’s name, but as soon as I remember it I’m adding it it the list (also: York, Malta, the Giant’s Causeway, Rome, Haworth in one of the Yorkshires where they Bronte sisters lived, Cornwall, eastern Greece, New Zealand).

I’m going to attempt a minor digital detox while I’m away, so fully expect some bullshit ramblings from me on my return about the joys of getting back to nature and interacting with other cultures. Maybe I’ll stay out there and avoid any potential crises and just finish dragonnovel underneath an olive tree or something. Use up my freedom of movement while I’ve still got it. Hm.

Lawrence Durrell in the Durrells 2016

Holiday Countdown

Happy Monday darlings. After six-plus years, today I realised the merits of iTunes over YouTube streaming. I’ve also remembered how much I love The Fratellis… It’s a good thing I don’t claim technical brilliance, innit.

Speaking of the Internet, I’m trying to work out decent posts to magic up while I’m away. Does anyone have anything they’d like to see?

Just kidding, I know not a single person will tell me if there is… so I will probably mass-dump videos I like and talk about my favourite stuff, as per tradition.

There was actually something serious I had to say but I’ve completely fuckin’ forgotten it, so it was either not that serious or is completely pointless so doesn’t need worrying about. Either way my memory’s going so it’s time to go cuddle a dog and double-check my clothes for when I go on holiday. Did I mention I’m going on holiday? And I’m going to spend ten days of my life without the my phone beeping at me? I’ll be there in a week. I can’t find a GIF smug enough, so you’ll just have to imagine my shit eating grin.

Automated Email Responses?

You know when you know you’re going to be away for a while so you try to get all your work done in good time to pack and buy sandals and ensure a stress-free ten days? And you end up trying to work on five tabs, a blog and an online shop in one go?

I haven’t even thought about what I’m going to leave here for you guys… maybe a collection of my suggested YouTube videos, which is the stupidist flipping list I’ve ever come across… I suppose that is my own fault, but I really don’t want to watch season three of Orange is the New Black. Not on YouTube, anyway, and not until I’ve finished season two.

I’m also trying to come up with a nice automated email for when I’m away – you know, the ones that say ‘Doctor Mills is out of the office until 12th August, after which she will endeavour to respond to your query’. My gut wants to put ‘Francesca is currently sitting on a beach and/or asleep and she sure as shit isn’t interested in your message, HMRC/Tumblr/actual friends and colleagues, so please give her some time to respond. If you’ve heard nothing in three months, assume she’s either not interested or hasn’t left the beach’.

My head is saying that’s a bad idea. Any ideas?

Summer Buzzin’

This is one of those weeks where I’m glad I’m a freelancer. I go to work in short shorts, I have lunch in my garden and I start the day watching my dogs lollop around the field with the canine equivalent of beaming smiles before flopping down inside all day like sleepy cherubs.

pinterest.com/pin/6896205649449915
pinterest.com/pin/6896205649449915

It’s also one of those weeks where Instagram stops working, I realise that I’ve got a lot of birthday and holiday-related expenses coming up and I just splashed frappe all over myself and the kitchen.

Still, maybe by the time I get to Zante the euro will have been replaced by a skills-based economy in which my particular brand of cute sarcasm will be gold dust… and maybe Brussels will have cancelled the debt, handed out icecream to every Greek citizen and worked out a solution to the refugee crisis.

Actually, while I’m thinking about it: I shall be offline from 26th July- 6th August, mostly because I need to retrain my brain not to assume every second sound is an email. My Etsy will be on ‘vacation mode’ – it’s going to Tahiti with its girlfriend – and I might schedule some posts for here/Tumblr/wherever to remind you all I exists… hopefully on a beach or clifftop with some nice music and some decent Fanta.

Okay I have to stop typing now because I’m having this paradoxical experience of daydreaming about my holiday while quashing suffocating terror that I can’t really afford one. If this were a Tweet, #freelancelife would be apt.

Enjoy the weather while we have it and drink lots of water!

Quick Art Update

I usually just post these things in Twitter and/or Tumblr posts but they’ve all cropped up in the last couple of days so I thought I may as well do a proper post… Ahem.

I got an email earlier that most of my Etsy shop’s listings are expiring really soon, so if you’ve ever fancied any of what’s there head on over ASAP. Plus I am going on holiday for ten days on Friday so any physical orders after the 11th July won’t be shipped until the 23rd at the earliest, by which time most of those items will have gone. So get on it!

Society6 is having one of its free-shipping-on-most-items days if you follow this link and this link only. It’s weird and they don’t tell you how long the offer lasts, presumably to whip you up into a frenzy. It’s until the 13th according to that very link.

I’m currently taking story commissions on DeviantART (all the info is on the right hand side below the advert). Once again, when I’m away I will technically be on holiday so if you request anything then you won’t get a response for a few days.

I hate doing what are effectively sales pitch blogs but at least this way it’s one lone social media post, as opposed to eighty over the course of a day… plus this trails on nicely to what I really want to talk about, which is HOLIDAY READING.

You know the drill. I take more books than I can carry, I read most of them, set up blogs talking about them and always include one novel that is totally depressing and/or gross. The first year I did it I took Trainspotting, which I haven’t read since; last year was We Need to Talk About Kevin which I then chose to study for my A Level and never want to read again… the further I explored it, the more effed up it became. I think this year will be Goodnight Mister Tom, which I have never previously read because I saw the TV adaptation about ten years ago, got so distressed I cried and have refused to open the book ever since.

But I’ll probably take this fortnight’s Private Eye and The Son of Neptune so it’s okay! There will be laughs all round! I will also take a book of codewords because since I stopped going to school my vocabulary has been on the downturn, which is bad for everybody. If I’m not careful I’ll only be able to speak in dog chatter… “Don Don, why are you barking? No one cares. Shhh. Hello Fred. You look very handsome. Go away that was my flapjack. Snuggles time.”

I love snuggles time. Speaking of which.

From goldenstories.tumblr.com
From goldenstories.tumblr.com

Holiday Post 2013 #1: Literature Appreciation Post #3

Last year I did a list of books I was going to read on holiday, and I thought I’d do another. Incidentally, I published the To Kill a Mockingbird fan fiction just last week (this has been a great year for getting stuff done, huh). So, this year I’m reading:

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

It’s my ‘heavy and disturbing’ holiday read – last year’s was Trainspotting – and I’m excited/nervous to read it. Nervous because I’ve seen the film, which is, to use technical language, fucking creepy. I also loved Ezra as Patrick in Wallflower, and although he’s a good enough actor that when I was watching him as Kevin I wasn’t thinking of him as Patrick, I’m not sure what my imagination will do. But I’m kind of excited because on the last day of term, my English teacher was talking to us about books we could read over the summer for our American literature coursework, and she actually suggested this. I’d already been planning on reading and maybe studying it, because I got the impression from the film that it’s more about the American Dream and/or family life than it is about grisly murder. I’ll let you know what the nightmares are like.

  • The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over the World by Tom Feiling

I started this about four years ago, and it was pretty intense because it’s a factual account of the cocaine industry. I now know where Columbia is, though, so I’ll give it a bash…

From Bookworld.com.au
From Bookworld.com.au
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I actually have to read this for English. It might not be Gatsby but as long as it’s not a textbook, I’m good with it.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Jay and I agreed to read one another’s book recommendations – I told him to give Wallflower another go – and I started this. Again.

I will finish it.

  • The last couple of issues of Private Eye

Because of this:

From TheDrum.com
From TheDrum.com

I’m not actually taking anything else because I want to do some writing over the holiday. Some meditative consideration of the universe and whatnot. Plus, someone’ll have shitty magazines to read and I want to buy the Financial Times at the airport.