The ‘This Time Next Year’ Tag

My home town – St Ives – I haven’t visited much this year but I still love it very much.

I don’t very often get the chance to get involved in tags but this one takes my fancy and was given to me by one of the most inspiring and fun bloggers that I regularly read. Also, I was looking for a way to tie together everything from 2021 so this fits the bill perfectly.

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you. So thank you funny and entertaining blogger Smelly Socks and Garden Peas .
  • Write your goals for next year.
  • Write how you’re going to achieve these goals.
  • Tag at least five blogger friends.
  • This last one is optional, but in 365 days, write a post about whether or not you’ve been successful!

GOALS – Writing

I have always enjoyed putting pen to paper, although nowadays it tends to be more pressing my fingers onto an iPad. Beginning writing short stories in 2017, I have had fun experimenting with my fiction. Originally I attended an evening class about story writing but I found it a bit boring (sorry) and so I went off on my own and simply went for it. ‘Short Dates’ was produced and then my first novella, ‘The Father, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost’. At the same time I opened a blog but I rarely used it. May 2021 changed all that and now I am a very active blogger who loves being part of the blogging community.

I was proud to work on some collaborations already and guest post on other blogs. Eleanor taught me a lot about guest posting and how to engage with brands – thank you so much! Similarly, I have learned so much from other bloggers. Passing 500 followers was a great milestone and I hope to continue making connections, writing guest posts and trying to get the hang of Pinterest (still baffles me).

My first proper YA novel comes out this spring and I hope I have learned lessons from my previous release. I am not going to waste hundreds on blog tours (apart from my favourite one). I am just going to publish blog extracts and hope that enough people take an interest and pass on a liking for it.

Holidays

I live for my holidays. Being a teacher, I am always looking forward to spending half terms in different places, looking at places of interest such as castles or waterfalls. As a geographer I am obsessed with physical features such as glaciers and I hope to see more. The pandemic has really hacked into my plans and I have cancelled four holidays now due to restrictions.

This year, if nothing else, I intend to go to Amsterdam by train and then onward to Copenhagen. If I ever get my money back from this week’s cancelled trip to Paris I may eventually go to the studio part of Paris Disney too. Having found out this year that my DNA is partly Norwegian, I also intend to spend more time there in the near future, as I am obsessed with it.

Fitness

My fitness journey has been up and down this year but I have managed to always do at least two short workouts a week. I love doing cardio sessions such as combat or aerobics ones, which I mainly get from the Davina MCall app ‘Own Your Own Goals’. I know I am a guy but I really enjoy the range of sessions available on this affordable app (not an advert). Next Year I aim to do two cardio sessions a week, one dumbbells or kettle bell activity and a good, long stretch.

Climate Change

As well as continuing to change my own behaviour and make the most of my position as an educator to widen awareness of environmental problems, I aim to consistently fight for more climate education as well as real political change. I totally support Greta Thunberg in her urgent plan to make real changes as soon as possible. As a blogger, I see my place as a voice for this movement. I want to make sure I keep passing on information about global warming and celebrating initiatives that combat such issues.

TAGS – Optional

I do not expect you wonderful bloggers to do this, but wanted to give you the option.

Kayleigh – Confidently Kayleigh

The Grumpy Olive

Monodreame

Rachel Foy

NotSoModernGirl

Thank you so much for reading my blog this year. I really hope you will join me on my writing journey in 2022 and check out my book and TV reviews, new writing and climate change articles.

A Cafe Dilemma – Book Extract

AD – Below is an Amazon link to my book, which I receive a kickback for, if you choose to buy it.

Here is an extract from my book of short stories about dating, loss and love. These were the first stories that I self published and recently people have been asking me about them. I absolutely loved writing these and still treasure them as my first creations. I hope that you will enjoy and consider adding ‘Short Dates’ to your TBR, Goodreads or Kindle.

Scrubbing Up

 

It was a beautiful morning as I cycled past the River Cam with my hair blowing freely behind me and the  pedals spinning around frantically. I was hopefully going to make it in time for opening but I was cutting it short, without a doubt. Around me, hundreds of students were making their way to their lectures. I was not the only cyclist on the road. In fact, there seemed to be more of us pedal pushers than there were drivers. We all sped along like an army of buzzing bees, heading in the same direction, but breaking off now and again in swarms, in search of nectar. The students’ nectar was different to mine though. They longed for facts and figures. I, however, simply wanted to get through the day so that I could go home again and work on my song writing.

 

Making it to work just in time for opening, I slipped my apron on and tied back my hair, pulling poses in the mirror before edging into the café area and lifting the chairs off of the tables ready for the day. The cakes were there as usual, most of them freshly baked. Cream cakes, sponge cakes, slices of carrot, lemon and walnut cakes. Big cakes and small cakes, sugary cakes and sugar-free cakes. They smelled so delicious that it was always hard to resist them for long. Thankfully Mark, the baker, had left a few bits for me and I stuffed down some fractions of chocolate eclairs before meandering over  to the front door and opening the café, shoving a large A-frame into the street, advertising our latest tempting offers.

 

It was always a bit slow to start with but you could count on Vera, the eighty four year old lady from down the road, to always be the first one to come in every morning. She bought a cheesecake today and I took care to wrap it carefully as we had our regular chat. She asked me if Alex had texted me and I told her that he had written a few nasties last night as usual. We discussed how badly men had treated us and we laughed about how love wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

 

Vera had been married for thirty years when she discovered her husband had a child with another woman and had been seeing her behind Vera’s back for almost as long as they had been married. I had relayed to her my six months of dating Alex and how false he had turned out to be. After I got round to dumping him, he texted me daily, quite pathetically, begging me to take him back. But Vera and I both knew that he only wanted to regain the power as he couldn’t stand the idea of being the one who was dumped. We reckoned if I had taken him back he would have soon split with me to show me he was in charge after all.

 

My boss was in this morning and she was always fun to be around. She had been doing a stock check and when the café became quiet she told me to pull up a pew and sit with her for a while, drinking latte. Glynis always spoke about dreams and ambitions. She had a master plan which ended up with her buying a quaint riverside café in Paris, in which she would enjoy the champagne culture and soak up the general Parisian way of life. I could easily see her with a glass in one hand, reading an erotic novel in the other and hiding behind sunglasses while secretly checking out the passing men.

 

‘So what do you really want to do with your life?’ she said suddenly.

‘Well I want to explore what I can make with my music,’ I replied honestly.

‘How can we make that happen?’

‘If I knew that then I would have tried it by now,’ I answered rapidly.

‘We have to go for those things we dream about. I reckon I have found a way to help you there.’

 

She went on to tell me about a new friend of hers who worked at a music venue in town. I was excited to hear that she had asked her friend if I could go for an audition there, to see if I may be able to perform some songs one night. I was taken aback as she had never mentioned anything like this before. It was lovely that she had noticed my interest in music and thought to find a way for me to try out my singing skills with a real live audience. I crossed my fingers and toes and returned to work as the customers began to roll in again.

 

The counter soon became a mess and I decided I was going to clean the smudges from the inside of the glass which housed the cakes. Preparing a cloth, I leaned into the counter and began to scrub. It was fairly dirty and I had to use some elbow grease to make an impact on it. Most of it cleared quickly and I was ready to finish the job off and do something else.

 

To my annoyance, one small mark would not disappear on that flaming glass. It began to test me. The more I rubbed it with my cloth, the more stubborn it seemed to become. I pressed hard with plenty of soap, yet still it would not budge. Before long I was on my haunches, giving it everything I had, working up a sweat and determined to not be defeated by some crusted blob of curdled lemon.

 

Making circles of smudge as I carried on, I found myself staring hard at the mark, wishing it gone. I blinked and suddenly it seemed to vanish. In its place was a pair of blue, radiant eyes, looking back at me curiously. The eyes belonged to a hot looking guy who looked to be about my age. I had never seen him before, though he seemed recognisable. Maybe I had met him in my dreams. I kicked myself for thinking such rubbish.

That Sunday Feeling

The weekend is full of joy,

Much needed sleep and rest,

On Saturday I get stuff done,

For me that day’s the best!

The weekend is a chance to chill,

And watch TV and browse,

But Sunday brings its own delights,

Like cleaning half the house.

Take me back to the seaside.

On Saturday I shop and dance,

I try to workout and be fitter,

But Sunday brings a different vibe,

That sometimes makes me bitter.

Because Monday follows Sunday quick,

And preparations for the work week start,

I wish we had three day weekends,

More time for fun and art.

Reality brings chores and angst,

As ironing and planning fill my days,

But Monday you don’t own me,

With your taunting, stirring ways.

On Sunday I can still kick back,

And eat bacon sandwiches in bed,

I see you Monday, glare at me,

You’re messing with my head!