I’ve had a rewarding day today. I’ve actually got through almost everything on my ‘to do’ list. I’m a listaholic, forever making lists, but generally losing them or forgetting to take them with me at the crucial time. Yet still I make them. There’s something about writing a few words down in a certain order that makes you feel you are in control of things, if only temporarily.

So what did I achieve today? First item on my list was ‘soft fruit’. I have a line of fruit bushes battling with the thistles at the end of our nominal vegetable patch. These started life way too close to the big oak tree in the garden, so 18 months ago I moved them. Last year they sulked and produced very little fruit, and the birds got 99% of that. This year they’ve done better, despite the fact I never got round to putting nets over them. However, I still only have 100g or so from 10 bushes. One gooseberry bush and my sole whitecurrant bush have disappeared altogether, leaving a collection of red and black currant bushes, and one sparse goosegog. Next year I promise I will give them the attention they deserve. I must make a list to remind myself.

Second item was ‘Maisie’. She’s one of our freebie goats (we have three altogether) and she keeps escaping from the field she shares with Denis. She’d been put back in the stable, where she was very happy, but I wanted to get her back into the field. So Chris has obligingly put up another strand of barbed wire where we think her escape point was. Hopefully she’ll stay put now.

Third item: ‘swim’. The water was 21 degrees and the air temp was 23 degrees, but I enjoyed my dip. It took me an hour and a half to warm up afterwards unfortunately! When I get cold, I take a while to thaw out. The pool was up to 24 degrees by teatime, positively roasting, so I had a longer swim then. I am getting into this footballer’s wife lifestyle very enthusiastically!

Fourth item: ‘facepaints’. Caiti will be doing facepainting at the AIPB summer fete in July so I’ve ordered a 400-face pack of Snazaroo paints today. The price was €88 euro. The plan is to charge €2 a time so we only need a classful of kids to break even. The kit comes with plenty of paints and brushes and a book of inspiratin.

Fifth item: ‘HATW submission’. HATW is Heads Above The Water, the working title of my living in France book. (First 2000 words in this post.) I’ve put together a submissions package for Summersdale and emailed that in today. Fingers crossed. That was a HUGE thing so I’m delighted I’ve got it done.

Sixth item: blog. Work in progress!


But are ‘to do’ lists any good? It’s rare for me to get through mine and I usually end up feeling despondent and a failure when only one or two things get crossed off. Apologies for the touch of drama queen here, but I tend to spiral downwards quickly. So I had a trawl online to see if to do lists are reckoned to be helpful. One piece of advice caught my eye: ‘Male a list of what you need to do to reach your goal.’ I think the writer meant ‘make’, or possibly the whole thing just needed rewording to read: ‘List a male you need to reach your goal’! (Who would yours be?) Anyway, other wise words I found were: ‘Effectiveness has a lot to do with being organised and working to a structure, without being driven by it.’ So, if your ‘to do’ list helps you be better organised then it is doing some good, even it you can’t achieve everything on it. And let’s face it, we’re all over-ambitious when we make these lists, as we are with New Year’s Resolutions.


Mind maps are an alternative to ‘to do’ lists, and since they engage both sides of the brain as you make them, they’re reckoned to be more memorable and effective. I use the latter for plotting out stories and brainstorming. However, I shall start putting them into practice more with my daily organising as they’re prettier for a start and because, according to this website, help the user ‘emerge as a better individual’. I could do with that!

There are web-based to do list packages such as Bla-Bla List, Ta-da List and Remember the Milk, which are very popular. I’m not into these computer based ones, I have to confess. I go with pen and paper but those of you who are more computer literate than me might find those useful.

And now for something completely different. The silliest search terms that brought people to my site from last week were:

  • Women who cut grass naked – suggests a large subset of the population are into this, and on a regular basis. I only did it the once!
  • My fence posts aren’t straight – surely a Charlie Drake song like ‘My boomerang won’t come back’
  • Why is there salt in Bird’s custard – like I should know?
  • Nude French Christmas part 2 – I wonder what happened to part 1?
  • Flowers with bath water – possibly a still life painting?
  • Cycling sayings France – I could come up with a few.
  • Custard dates – anyone want to go out with a bowlful?
  • www.women carp fishing naked.com – frankly, this one is just wishful thinking!!