Goodness, what a literary day today. The boss is back too, so we have to look super-professional and cutting-edge. Not that we don’t always look like that, of course – it’s just that we have to expunge that tell-tale trace of panic from our eyes …
Anyway, did a fair amount of website stuff, which I always enjoy, mainly on the Mentoring site, and we have plans for the Health Centre site too. Hurrah. About time it got updated. I’m sure we still have stuff about the Bubonic plague up there somewhere, if I looked closely enough. Groan.

And what fun I’ve had with the University rejiggling of the bank holidays. A concept which is seriously pissing me off, if only for the complexity of the new regime we have to do – but frankly I can’t be arsed to make a fuss. For once. Anyway, the powers that be have decided that bank holidays and University closure days are not fair for part-timers, as those part-timers (such as myself) who work the beginning of a week get to take and enjoy more bank holidays than those who work the end of a week. A concept, I admit, that even I can understand. However, instead of doing the sensible thing and just chucking in a few more holiday days for those people who work the end of the week – as I would have done – they’ve decided to subject the bank holidays of all part-time people to a series of mathematical formulae designed to work out an even balance. Allegedly. So, David and I have pored over this, sighed a lot and finally worked out that I am (possibly) allowed to have 9 bank holiday/University closure days in one academic year. However, as there are actually 13 in total, this means I owe the University four days up to and including March 2008. As a result, I have to either work an extra day in a bank holiday week, or take it as part of my leave, or as unpaid leave up to the value of four. Ye gods, no wonder Higher Education is struggling. So now I have a natty little spreadsheet designed to work it all out as I go along, which I have designed myself, and a pretty nifty headache.

To cap it all, my case is easy, as at least I work full days when I am here. Those people, such as Andrea in the Dean of Students’ Office, who only work partial days have to work it all out in hours. It’s astonishing we have time for anything else at all, really.

Had a UniSWriters meeting at lunchtime, which was thin on the ground as some people were sick (we missed you, Julia! – hope you’re better soon) or on training days, but we had some very good discussions about the manuscripts and about the publishing business. They were also very helpful about cuts and changes I needed to make to the poem I took along too, so that was great. Oh, and Jenny at the Library is going to come to next week’s Book Circle discussion of A Dangerous Man ( and has even read it in preparation (thanks, Jenny!), so at least there might be more than a couple of people there. Which will be nice. I’ve decided now that if there’s only a few of us and we run out of things to say, then we can always sneak off early to the pub. Heck, I’m sure Michael would approve.

Oh, and Angela who used to come to UniSWriters but left the University last year rang up for some emergency publishing information. I don’t see myself as the font of all knowledge, in any area, but it was lovely to talk to her again. My advice was, as always: send stuff out to agents/publishers before trying the self-publishing route. After all, I’m very much for having both routes to markets open (as you well know). In any case, I strongly advised her against using AuthorHouse, which she was initially keen to do – their reputation isn’t good, from what I’ve heard. Thankfully, I think I convinced her.

Back with my colleagues, we’ve had an in-depth discussion about the injustices of the social/work system with regard to non-child producing people. Now, I know I’m not a great fan of the concept of The Child, but I would like to say that I entirely agree with the provisions of maternity/paternity leave and think it’s a Good Thing. However, at the same time, I’ve always felt it discriminates strongly (as society does, to my mind) against those people who choose not to have children. I mean: hey, where’s my nice lot of leave when I produce something valuable or simply want to take a long tranche of paid/partially paid time off, eh? I don’t see why people without children can’t have some similar perks also. We all work hard enough, after all. However, I feel I’m a lone voice in this – well, Ruth at work agrees too, so perhaps together we can form a small splinter group. Child-free too.

Tonight, I’m off to Guildford Writers with the start of Chapter Three of The Gifting, so hope to get helpful comments on that. I’m still worrying about my last chapter, darn it. I did scribble down a couple of paragraphs last night, but hadn’t really got to the crux of the scene. Ah well. Perhaps it’ll all be all right on the night. You never know.

And I've written a piece of flash fiction for the next Writewords ( group challenge:

Carbon Copy
Genevieve lay back on the couch and sighed. At her feet, two scantily-clad young men massaged her lascivious toes. Bliss. They’d work their way upwards. In time. It had been a while since she’d been able to afford enough tokens for a double session and once again she thanked her long-dead grandmother for the ancient typewriter and carbon paper she’d recently discovered in the attic. It was amazing what the authorities would believe. These days.

Today’s nice things:

1. UniSWriters
2. Writing a piece of flash fiction
3. Guildford Writers

Anne Brooke

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