Three Things Wot I’ve Been Doing Lately


Thing Number 1 – Struggling to Travel on the Train

Every few weeks I need to take the train somewhere for my job. Lately I’ve had issues…

  • A couple of months ago I threw my train ticket away in a bin outside St. Pancras station. As soon as I threw it I remembered that I still needed it for the final leg of my journey. Unfortunately it had dropped down through the rubbish, so I had to stand outside the station picking my way through the rubbish bin to retrieve my ticket. Not my finest moment.
  • A couple of weeks ago, at Paddington station, I was just about to go through the ticket barriers to catch a train to Bath when I realised that I couldn’t find my ticket. I retraced my steps and found it in the Costa Coffee shop, on the floor, slid under the stand where you get milk, with just a tiny corner sticking out. If it had slid another inch under I’d have never found it – how lucky was that!
  • Last week, at Holloway Road tube station, I got stuck in these ticket barriers:

Tube station ticket barrier

It turns out you can’t just follow the person in front right through without waiting for the barrier to close and reopen again. I don’t want to talk about it.

Thing Number 2 – NaNoWriMo

Yes, in November I did NaNoWriMo – I think everyone knows what that is, but just in case, it’s National Novel Writing Month, where you aim to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I did it once before. This time I didn’t quite reach the 50K words, I did around 42K, but I was really happy with what I achieved. I needed to do quite a bit of reading research for this which I should really have completed before November, but didn’t, so the majority of my November NaNo time was spent reading rather than writing. Within the 42K words, I have the framework for the whole thing, I got to the end of the story, and there are lots of places throughout where it says things like “Write this bit here”, “Expand this bit”, “Write about that here”. So the bones of it are all there, and I’m happy with that.

Thing Number 3 – Getting Crafty

A while back, a work colleague announced that she was organising a Christmas craft fair for early December, and asked if anyone would like a stall. Well of course I jumped at the chance, what a great opportunity to show off my crafts! Something was niggling at me though and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and then it dawned on me – I don’t actually do any crafts (incidentally, I’m also really excited about the opportunity I have coming up to show off my motorcycle stunt skills…wait…oh crap).

So I bought a selection of cheap unfinished plain little wooden and card boxes, and some wooden hanging leaves, and decorated them with paint, pressed flowers, and beer bottle caps. Here was my finished stall from last Saturday:

craft stall

Did I make my fortune? No. Did I have fun? Absolutely – I really enjoyed decorating the boxes, this was mostly done over November, which you’ll remember was also the month I was trying to write a novel. I really don’t have any artistic/crafty type talent, but I was pleased I managed to do SOMETHING to put on the stall.

EDIT: Neil just reminded me of the other bit to the craft stall story, not sure how I forgot this bit – soon after I had set it up all lovely (as above), and the craft fair was well underway, I decided to quickly nip over to another stall, in doing so I tripped over the tablecloth on my stall and dragged it, along with ALL the boxes, onto the floor, and I fell amongst it all. There was a big crash. I don’t want to talk about it.

What about you? Do you ever volunteer to do something and then realise it was a mistake? Do you save beer bottle caps in case they come in handy some day? Do you ever get stuck in ticket barriers?



63 responses to “Three Things Wot I’ve Been Doing Lately

  1. And did you manage to actually keep the boxes ON the stall?!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh so laughing, sorry, at the taking down of one’s own craft table. Ugh. Definitely no bottle cap saving here for the most non artistic person on the planet. I don’t know how you managed to fit all of that into November. Congrats on the writing too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve been very busy. Sorry about the fumbles, but we all do it on occasion. We just don’t tell anyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am sure my reason for getting stuck in places is very different than yours.

    I love the boxes with the bottlecaps! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’re so funny. I love your mishaps and how you can laugh at yourself. I’ll wish you a December free of tablecloth pull-off and ticket stuck stunts. Hmmm. Those last 3 words would make a nasty tongue twister. Say that 10 x super fast while you go through the counter machine at the train station.


  6. Did you manage to fit in any sleep in November? Congrats on the novel. That’s great!

    You and my husband share a similar talent for ticket misplacement. One time, he managed to lose our boarding passes between getting them at check-in to going through security less than five minutes later. That was fun. So now I’m in charge of all tickets.

    You always make me laugh, Vanessa. Your decorative boxes are lovely, and the image of you dragging away the tablecloth and disrupting the display lets me know I’m not alone when I do things like injure my thumb on a countertop or break my nose with a fridge door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sleep – I knew I forgot something! In all seriousness though, I generally don’t get enough sleep, not because I can’t, I don’t have trouble sleeping, but just because I try and cram so much into my day that I don’t have much night left for sleep! And maybe my lack of sleep contributes to my not paying proper attention to what I’m doing and getting into pickles!

      Losing boarding passes is not good! The kids point out that I always over-fuss with them telling them to be careful with tickets and so on, and then I’m the one that misplaces them!

      Well I’ve never broken my nose on a fridge door, but it does sound like something I would do 🙂


  7. Congrats on the NaNo thing! Well done. 🙂
    I used to do craft fairs all the time when I was painting. Haven’t done any in many years. Your boxes look really cute!
    As for the mishaps…..I don’t want to talk about it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like you need to pin your train tickets to your jacket. As for knocking over bottlecap crafts and getting wedged in ticket barriers…well, you’re on your own.


  9. I got my car stuck one time though…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a busy November for you, Vanessa. Congrats on your NaNoWriMo achievement. That’s a lot of words! We once saved a bunch of wine corks but did nothing with them and then threw them all away!! I don’t know what we were going to do with them, but I’m sure you can think of some crafty thing, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, yes, and no …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would call finding your ticket in Costa Coffee one of the luckiest breaks you’ll get anytime soon. Good that you acknowledge/appreciate it. Saves me the trouble of telling you to.

    One of the most common bits of advice I see about becoming a better writer is to READ MORE. So your time was not wasted.

    By any chance, did anyone film the boxes tumbling along with you?

    Honey, I AM a ticket barrier. (Whatever the hell that means. It sounded good.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! The ticket was upside down on the floor with just the corner poking out, and as I was bending down to get it, I was thinking “Surely I can’t be so lucky for this to actually be it!” I think I gave a little whoop out loud when it was because a couple of people gave me a funny look.

      I’m not aware of anyone filming the boxes tumbling with me, nobody came forward and said they had been anyway, but who knows!

      We are ALL ticket barriers.


  13. You’ve certainly been busy, Vanessa!
    I really admire how you grab chances when they arise, even if you’re not 100% prepared beforehand. (It wouldn’t take more than a few days to learn some small motorcycle stunts…) As for your NaNo goals, that’s great, that you got over 40K! Especially with everything else going on!

    Those are some pretty unfortunate train tales. 😦 Did you at least find for your train commutes that you could get some writing in, or do you prefer reading or looking out the window? I ask because my daily train commute is one of my best opportunities to write. I love taking the bus or train because it’s often a quiet, controlled space to turn to my journal, even when I’m in a new city.

    Back at uni, we would jump ticket barriers! We also once stole a security car, but I won’t go into that…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny how sometimes things that we think of as flaws in ourselves, other people admire! I always think it’s bad that I say yes to opportunities without thinking them through, but hey maybe it’s better sometimes to do that and experience things that we might otherwise talk ourselves out of.

      Very early on in the NaNo month I knew that I probably wouldn’t reach the 50K, but I was totally ok with it, I just wanted to use the month to get as much down as I could, and that’s what I did.

      I struggle to write on trains, I generally read, usually it’s work-related reading – you know the sorts of things like reports or research that is published that you know you should read really but never seem to get time during the working day! The train is perfect for that.

      Stealing a security car you say? Well maybe one day you’ll reveal all!


  14. sandracharrondotcom

    I’ve been giggling at your “I don’t want to talk about it” comments.
    As for NaNoWriMo, I cringe at the very mention so you are a Rockstar in my book not only for undertaking it BUT you managed to glue beer caps to wooden boxes all in the same month. I think I fell on love with you a little bit…is that weird?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sandra, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Glad to give you a giggle! If you want to fall in love with me a little bit, that’s perfectly fine, I don’t know if it’s weird but even if it is, that’s ok, we can do weird around here.


  15. Congratulations on making it through NaNo, and thanks for the giggles! Don’t worry – you’re not alone in your mishaps. It seems most of my blog-worthy experiences fall into the category of ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ (but I do anyway – as you point out, I might as well ‘fess up).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so pleased that your found your ticket under the milk table. Phew! And I hope you didn’t have to dig too far in the trash. I recently was at the grocery for a long-overdue visit, with an exceedingly long shopping list. I had it in my hand when I reached for some pork chops, and it slipped out and under the whole meat cooler area thingy. But not just under it on the floor, mind you, withIN the cooler area. My husband was able to spot it, so he re-arranged some meat packs, (I hope the workers didn’t mind) and lifted up mightily, part of the cooler unit (it did actually lift, he wasn’t breaking it). Then I was able to reach in amongst the blood puddles (so gross! almost enough to make me a vegetarian) and retrieve my lengthy list! And fortunately, it didn’t land in a puddle.
    I also once dropped my library card into a trash bin. My husband fished it out for me. It’s a good thing I don’t often travel alone. Maybe my husband secretly makes a point of not letting me! 😉
    Bravo for the craft table! I don’t do crafts (either), so I’m very impressed. I think your goods crashing on the floor was a masterful way of “accidentally” showing onlookers just how durable your products were! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well at least you remembered to take your shopping list with you, I usually forget mine! Or I used to, now I’ve taken to writing mine in a text to myself because I always have my phone with me – of course if you do that, then you have to be careful to not do what I did once, and text it to a friend instead of myself!

      Good thought on the durability demonstration of my boxes, except that those flip-flip ones were ceramic not wood and two of them broke! But I was just grateful that I hadn’t gone all out on the ceramic, can you imagine if after all that effort I broke all of them! I think I was wise going for mainly wood.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, man! If all your ceramic ones broke, and those were your main product? I would have cried!!
        A friend of mine tried to text her sister about a date she’d just been on, but instead she texted it to the guy she’d just been with. Awkward!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I couldn’t help but laugh while reading your post! Your comedy of errors makes my tripping over a vacuum cleaner and breaking my hand, right before I was leaving to catch a plane, sound kind of boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Cool crafty stuff! I have also been hunched over my craft table, but I forgot to sign up to sell anything anywhere and now we’re out of time. Great planning.

    That ticket stall thing look like what they wanted me to sit/lie in at my last gynecological exam.


    • You do crafts but forget to arrange somewhere to sell them, I arrange somewhere to sell crafts but forget that I don’t do any – between the two of us we’ve totally got everything sorted.

      Oh dear, I’m quite glad all I had to do was get stuck in there now!


  19. You really should write a book, V…oh wait! You are, or at least you are trying. Good enough! 🙂 I never got stuck in a turnstile, but do I have some public restroom stories I could tell… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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  21. Oh my goodness, you poor thing — we’re all laughing at you right now. You’re too funny! I am so afraid of making a spectacle of myself that I take extra care when I’m out and about, which probably means I’m making a spectacle of myself in my own way, I’m sure!

    I wish I were crafty. I’ve had my moments. My ideas look great in my imagination. And then I try them for real. Yeah, no, not a good look for me.

    Congrats on NaNo. 42,000 is amazing, really, and I’m glad that you’re happy with it. That’s a good sign!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe if I was a bit more afraid of making a spectacle of myself I would take extra care when I was out and about too!

      You sound just like me with crafts – I aspire to be crafty and occasionally do something, but generally it doesn’t work out so good!

      Yes, I’m very pleased with 42,000, mainly because it’s something I’ve wanted to write for a long time and so it was good to finally get the bones of it down. Of course I haven’t been back to it since the end of November, but I’m determined to do that in January.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I do think that crafts are bad for your health. Between that and digging through garbage and detritus on the floor, I’m surprised you haven’t succumbed to some obscure disease. But I’m glad you haven’t, because you make me chortle when I really feel like crying. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh gosh, I love how you can laugh such things off! I am mortified when I flub up or do something embarrassing—even if I’m alone when it happens! 🙂 As you might guess from that, I’m somewhat hesitant to volunteer for too many things.

    Congratulations on the 42,000 words in November! That is absolutely awesome and great progress for the story. And especially so when you add in everything else you were doing at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my initial mortification over doing something embarrassing soon turns to chuckles and thoughts of “Ooh, this can go on the blog!”

      Thank you, yes 42,000 words in one month is definitely something I’m happy with, hope I can finish it from there!


  24. What to stop by on Christmas Eve … Merry Christmas to you and your family. Cheers Vanessa!

    Liked by 1 person

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