Monthly Update (June)

It’s the last day of June, so let’s have a look at what’s been going on this month.

Writing

June has been terrible for writing, as I suspected it might. I’ve basically had no time to spare for writing. I started the month with working a 72 hour work week, followed by going straight on holiday to Spain for a week. After that I went straight back to working three nights, followed by my sister and her family coming to visit the same day I came off my last shift. They left today, on the 30th, so writing has pretty much not been happening.

The one thing I’ve done is the prologue and first chapter (very short ones) for a Fantasy Romance novella to go on Wattpad. Hopefully to start publishing in July, but I might postpone to August to make sure I have a bit more ready.

Spain

The boyfriend and I went on our very first holiday together this month. We spent a week in Spain, in a house with a private pool. Despite us dating for nearly six years, we never had a holiday away together since up until October 2015 we were living in separate countries, and any holiday was just spent visiting each other.

Going away just the two of us was absolutely lovely. There was a heatwave happening when we were there, and we were very lucky to have our own pool to cool us down a bit.

The beach in Spain. The sand was so hot it burned our feet!

“Swedish Midsummer”-inspired BBQ

In Sweden we celebrate Midsummer every year in June, and it’s quite possibly the biggest holiday after Christmas. This year I wanted to bring a little of that to England, and so I invited our friends and treated them to a Midsummer inspired BBQ. I offered Swedish crisps, meatballs, candy, cakes and some condiments to go with the burgers that were Swedish. For the brave, we also offered some pickled herring, which is a Swedish tradition at Midsummer.

Some of the things from the BBQ table.

Family Visit

As I mentioned earlier, my sister visited with her partner and one year old daughter. It was their first visit since I moved, and despite them being allergic to animals I think that they had a good time. I know I did. It was great seeing my little niece again since I hadn’t seen her since Christmas!

The weather was absolutely miserable this week, but we did manage to do a few things. We went shopping, of course, but we also had time for a trip to Swanage and the beach, and afternoon tea.

Niece’s first time having her bare feet in the sand.

We had afternoon tea at the Steam Vintage Tea Rooms.

View of Swanage, Photo stolen from my sister’s instagram since I was too busy playing with niece to take any myself.

The Longest Week

I’ve just finished one of my longest work weeks ever. Due to staff shortage, I’ve just worked 72 hours in the past week. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Which is very unhelpful considering that I have a lot that need to get done.

Ignoring all the writing/revising I should be doing, I need to tidy up and clean our flat, print out our boarding passes and vouchers, write a note to the house/pet sitter and pack our bags. Oh yes, I didn’t tell you – I’m going to Spain on Monday!

The work week from hell is a lot easier to get through when you know that you’re off on a holiday once it’s over.

My sister and her family are coming to visit for the last week of June as well, which I’m really looking forward to. The one problem I’m having is finding the time to clean, since when we get back from Spain I go straight into three nights of work, and then they arrive. I might have to only sleep a couple of hours after the last night and do lots of panic cleaning (is there any other kind?) in the hours before they show up.

Now I need to get back to cleaning… I say that, but in reality I’m off to watch the new Wonder Woman movie.

Tank Museum + Durdle Door

My 18 year old brother is a big fan of tanks. (I know, that was my reaction too.) Anyway, apparently barely¬†an hour from where I live there’s a tank museum. Not just a tank museum, but The Tank Museum. It’s the largest tank museum in the world, and the third largest museum of armoured vehicles. Fancy that.

Considering these facts, there was nothing to it. We had to make the drive to the tank museum. I’ll be honest, it’s not my cup of tea. It did have some interesting bits though, it does actually trace the history of tanks which was fascinating to see. You can see how they idea started and how they then perfected it through the years. The first tanks used so much petrol that you wonder if it was possible for them go get anywhere. Where did they store it?

My brother and a tank.

My brother and the tank from the movie Fury.

But I digress. There were a lot of tanks. A. lot. of. tanks.

The museum is in the Bovington Camp which trains most of the armed forces in armoured vehicles. So, while driving there, you came across road warning signs that you were approaching a “Tank crossing”. I wish I’d taken a photo. Even more fun, was the random signs that said “Warning. Sudden Gunfire.”

Just for fun, before leaving the museum we put my brother (and myself) in an armored vehicle ride around the grounds. It was incredibly noise and shaky. I can’t imagine being someone that had to spend hours in one of those vehicles.

tank-museum

The plan was that after the museum we’d travel the extra fifteen minutes to go down to Durdle Door, but the museum took a bit longer than we’d expected, so by the time we reached Durdle Door the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was starting to get dark.

As the rain was starting to come down, my mom and I walked down to the view point and took a picture, then hurried back up the hill again. So, our afternoon with picnic at Durdle Door ended up just being a picture. Also, the path to go up and down is very, very steep. I took a picture of it, but I honestly don’t think it shows how bad it is. By the time we reached the top again my thighs were hurting!

The last bit is the worst, and I don't think you can see it from this angle.

The last bit is the worst, and I don’t think you can see it from this angle.

I’d love to go back again one day when I have more time and can actually go down to the beach and stay for a while. The trek back up again might not be as bad if you didn’t just walk down as well. The incline is so bad you can actually feel it in your knees going down.

At least I got my photo of Durdle Door!

At least I got my photo of Durdle Door!

You can’t actually tell from the photos, but it was actually raining at this point. Not properly coming down yet, but enough to make us quite chilled.

Twelve

Twelve. That’s the amount of working days left until school breaks up for the summer. I’m feeling quite worn down, so I’m very much looking forward to the time off. We don’t start again until September 1. The school holidays are definitely a big bonus when working in a school!

In the evening on the day we break up for summer, my mom, her partner and one of my brothers are coming over to visit for a week. It’ll be fun to show them around this new area where I live. Whenever I’m on outings with school, I try to make mental notes of where we are and if it would be something nice for my family to do.

After a week, they’ll be returning to Sweden, and I’m going with them. Can’t wait to visit home and see the rest of my family. My sister had a baby a month ago, and it will be the first time I see her – it will be so lovely!

Other news is that work did offer me another contract. Fixed-term again, until they break up for summer next year. So, good news – I’m still employed!

Far Away

Living far away from your family isn’t easy at the best of times, so when I got a message last week that my grandma had been taken to the hospital, I was definitely struggling. I wanted very badly to be there for her, able to visit her in the hospital and help out in any way I can. Neither of which is possible when you’re in another country.

She was taken to the hospital last Wednesday morning, and ended up having emergency surgery that afternoon. After that she’s been struggling with an infection, but from what I’m hearing she’s on the mend, and they’re hoping to send her home next week. (With some assistance in the home, since she won’t be able to do everything for a while yet.)

When something like this happens you feel very powerless when you’re far away. It’s made me miss my family extra much, and I can’t wait until end of July when I go home to see them. Especially my grandma, who I will be hugging extra hard.

They Met in Paris…

Ok, admittedly that title doesn’t really mean anything, but I have a weakness for putting something odd for a title. (In case you haven’t noticed.)

During the Easter weekend I actually did go to Paris, but contrary to what the title above might suggest I didn’t meet the love of my life or anything. In fact I met up with my sister (who’s studying in another city in France) and we spent the weekend sightseeing and chatting.

The weekend started Thursday when I took a fast train down to Paris (3.5 hours. I have to say it’s quite neat to be able to go to another country in that kind of time. Especially considering that 3.5 hours is usually the time it takes me to travel just between my mom’s town and my dad’s back in Sweden.) Anyway, I arrived in Paris and had to find my way to the hotel at the other side of the city, where I was going to meet my sister. Did I mention I don’t speak any French?
So, me being the lackwit I am sometimes of course I manage to get on the metro in the wrong direction. (I realised this the moment the doors were closing. Way to go…) I had to travel one stop in the wrong direction and then I jumped up and went across and took the metro in the correct direction. (Feeling very smart, naturally.) Once I got off close to where the hotel should be I wasn’t sure where I was. In fact, I thought I was at a certain spot on the little map I had printed of the neighbourhood where the hotel was, so I walked in the direction the hotel would be according to the map.
Of course I didn’t realise that I actually wasn’t where I thought on the map, and I went in the completely wrong direction. Finally I managed to figure it out, only to find out that I’d been standing at the corner of the street where the hotel was.

I don’t think I need to point out that the weekend obviously didn’t start out all that well. Fortunately I can laugh about my own foolishness, so chuckling a little to myself (and probably getting some odd looks in return) I went down the street to the hotel.

The hotel we stayed at was decent, although the room was tiny. (I’ve heard that’s normal in Paris though.) Breakfast was kind of boring, but that’s also normal at many hotels. At least the neighbourhood was quite decent with lots of restaurants, movie theatres and shops.

During the days we did lots and lots and lots of walking. (My feet still ache at the memory!) We didn’t get around to seeing as much as we’d have liked to, but at least we got a few things in.
Some of the things we saw:
– Notre Dame (Quasimodo, where were you?)
– Sacre Coeur
– Montmartre
– Galeries La Fayette
– Le Louvre (although we didn’t have time to go inside, will have to go again!)
– The Eiffel Tower (and it’s big…)

We saw a few more things, but those are the things that I can remember right now. If you’d like to see some photos from the trip you can have a look here: http://www.spellbound.nu/photos
It’s a temporary link though until I finish adding all the info to the new design of the website. (I all of a sudden decided that I wanted to redesign it.. don’t ask me why.)

On the whole I found the trip to Paris very nice. We had gorgeous weather with 20 degrees two days making it feel like spring had finally arrived. (Until I returned home to the Netherlands at least…)

Otherwise I’m doing ok. I got a new job so I’m biding my time at my current one during my resignation period and waiting for my replacement to be found and start working so that I can train them. (Dance, monkeyboy. Dance!)

I got a week between the two jobs, so I’m taking the opportunity to go home to Sweden and visit my family. I’m looking forward to that very much. I got a really cheap return flight, so that’s great.

Ok, this is getting long winded so I better stop before I put someone to sleep. (If I haven’t already.)

Oh, I’m proofreading and editing my manuscript and I keep thinking it’s crap. I don’t know whether writers normally feel that or if it’s just me. Or maybe it really is crap. I don’t know. I still plan to get it as good as I can though and then I will send it off to some publishers and start collecting rejection letters.

Behind…

Fortunately for me I managed to finish my chapter for last week on the first day of the week, because I was too busy during the rest of the week to even write a single sentence. So, still on schedule! *fingers crossed* Although this week it’s going slow, I’ve not even started this week’s chapter and it’s already Wednesday!

So I’m quite behind… I won’t make excuses, I will finish it…somehow… Last week Tuesday my sister came to visit. She’s studying in France these days, so it was nice to get to see her. She stayed until yesterday morning. During her stay I didn’t get anything written since I was working during the days and spending the evenings with her.

And now I’m sick *sigh* So now I don’t have the energy to write. I hope I will feel better soon, because I really want to stick to my ‘chapter-a-week deadline’.

I’m currently considering re-arranging a couple of things in the book to add some tension a bit sooner than previously planned, but I’ll have to think about it a little more when my head doesn’t feel like it’s wrapped in a ball of cotton.

The week with my sister was really nice. We went out to the cinema one evening, did some shopping and had several nice evenings at home with nice food and watching movies. Then we had a Halloween party with some friends which was really nice.

It feels a bit sad that she’s left again, but hopefully we’ll meet at Christmas when we both go home to visit our family. I just hope I won’t run into any problems with getting time off from work.

Anyway, I better get some more rest so that I can get back to work and writing.