Well, today is the 1st of November. Can you believe 2020 is almost over? Actually, I am sure you can and I am sure most people are happy that 2020 is almost over. What a year! I remember hearing in the week between Christmas and New Year last year, on the English News NHK Radio Japan podcast that there was a mysterious virus in China that was killing people. I knew back then it would spread and sure enough, it did.

Yesterday, I knew today was the 1st, but this afternoon when I sat down to write this, I had forgotten until I spotted my Erin Condren perpetual calendar was still on October, lol. That prompted me to dash around the room changing all the calendars to November. I will also have to put the sunrise and sunset times in my planner, I am a bit of a weather geek and like to know these things.

We are just about to enter a month-long lockdown on Thursday here in England. About time too. I think the Government were too quick to relax things over the Summer and then moved too slowly in bringing back restrictions in. I still stayed home much of the time apart from the odd medical appointment. I also visited garden centres a few times in August and September, thankfully they were pretty quiet when I did. I was in and out as quickly as possible. There are so many people flouting the rules too, it just makes me sad and angry all at the same time.

My anxiety has been quite bad in recent months, I do not think it was because of the lockdown though, in fact, I think that helped my anxiety. Not having to worry about going out every day was such a huge relief and still is. Unfortunately, I have started having that overwhelm and panic feeling at home. One I half expected after going through some old paperwork that bought up very bad memories – I also watched a disaster movie just afterwards, but it is one I have seen a dozen times before, so that was a little confusing. Another was totally out of the blue at dinner time just before the Charlotte ROVAL NASCAR race. Even my team winning did not help it. I have realised I am sensitive to emotions around me, which is incredibly difficult as you cannot control other peoples emotions. The weather seems to affect things too and I do not understand it unless it’s a low-pressure thing. We’ve had three or four named storms over us this week, right now we have the remnants of tropical storm Zeta over the north of Scotland I believe. It is so muggy here today, the temp is 17c (62.6f), windy and pouring down with rain. I do not mind the wind or the rain, I just mind the mugginess and the heat. I definitely dislike heat. I am hoping for a nice cold Winter!

NASCAR is coming to a close for 2020. We had the longest race ever it seemed this week in Texas. The red flag for the weather was over 72 hours. They started the race on Sunday and finally finished on Wednesday. Unfortunately, my team had a tyre issue and could not recover from ending up a lap down, they finished 20th. They do not have to win this weekend at Martinsville in Virginia but it sure would help. Two if not three drivers will get through on points. The team have a pretty good track record (pun intended, ha!) at Martinsville, so I am hopeful. The final race is next weekend out at Phoenix in Arizona.

Still watching the train cams, in fact right now watching a rather drizzly scene from Switzerland, but it is really quite beautiful even with a misty view from the cab! Also, here in the UK on TV have been a lot of train documentaries on lately. Reruns of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railways are on the Yesterday channel most evenings, Tony Robinson Travels the World by Train on a Saturday evening, Monday evening has a Paddington Station docuseries, another evening has a Glasgow Central docuseries and one series with Chris Tarrant travelling extreme railways. Plenty of fantastic trains to see and lots of amazing scenery! I’ve also discovered the series Highway Thru Hell on the Blaze channel. It is so interesting to see the crazy wrecks and extreme weather. It is set in Canada, so plenty of snow! There does not seem to be a boxset available for this, so I have to hope it continues on the TV. I do not subscribe to any of the multitudes of streaming services, but I expect it is on one or more of those. I did finish the Murder, She Wrote boxset in September. I started it in May when I had a nasty case of the flu. I watched two to three episodes on most days. The boxset had four movies too, which are set after the series ends. But, honestly, they weren’t great at all, they felt forced time-wise. None were set in Cabot Cove so I really did not enjoy them. When I rewatch the boxset, I will not be watching those four movies again, that is for sure!

I decided to buy a couple of pot plants about a month ago. A spider plant and an orchid. Both seem to be doing okay, although the orchid lost its flowers about ten days ago. I am watering both once a week and keeping an eye. I really do not know if the orchid needs repotting, it seems quite tight in its pot but apparently, that is normal. I do have a new larger pot and special orchid compost ready to go when necessary.

Finally got the earth wire sorted out for my ham radio gear. Just need to find the motivation to turn the radio on now. I also need to sort out all the award paperwork, logs and that sort of thing. My shortwave folders need updating with all the latest schedules too. With the new sunspot cycle starting the bands may pick up.

I just spent four (yes, four!) days searching out my planner for next year. Yes, I usually use Erin Condren, but the width is not quite enough in the vertical planner, so I thought I would check out the other combinations she does. But even after spending hours checking and pouring over the measurements, I am still sticking with the vertical planner. No other planner comes close to what I need. Ideally, I would like a 24 hour or blank lined daily, but the Erin Condren ones are 7 am till 8 pm which is totally useless for me because of NASCAR or ham radio events. NASCAR is often after 8 pm and can be as late (or early) as 3 am. Ham radio events start at one minute past midnight and end one minute before midnight, so again, 7 am till 8 pm is useless. And I need to see a week at a glance, so I am just going to stick with what I know and write smaller!

So, NaNoWriMo if you have not heard of it is National Novel Writing Month. Every November hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world, sign up to write 50,000 words during the thirty days of November. A lot of people choose to write an actual novel, but having read the rules, you can write what you like. So, my start is with this blog post. I may add more blog posts, perhaps try something resembling a story, or just write letters. It all counts towards that 50,000 word total! It is completely free to enter, you just sign up on the site and off you go. If you complete the challenge, the folks at NaNoWriMo have some great discounts on writing-related products at the end of it.

Here are the daily word totals you need to hit in order to reach that 50,000 word total:

Day 1 : 1667 words
Day 2 : 3334 words
Day 3 : 5001 words
Day 4 : 6668 words
Day 5 : 8335 words
Day 6 : 10002 words
Day 7 : 11669 words
Day 8 : 1336 words
Day 9 : 15003 words
Day 10 : 16670 words
Day 11 : 18337 words
Day 12 : 20004 words
Day 13 : 21671 words
Day 14 : 23338 words
Day 15 : 25005 words
Day 16 : 26672 words
Day 17 : 28339 words
Day 18 : 30006 words
Day 19 : 31673 words
Day 20 : 33340 words
Day 21 : 35007 words
Day 22 : 36674 words
Day 23 : 38341 words
Day 24 : 40008 words
Day 25 : 41,675 words
Day 26 : 43342 words
Day 27 : 45009 words
Day 28 : 46676 words
Day 29 : 48343 words
Day 30 : 50000 words

If you hit 1667 words a day for thirty days it actually totals 50010!

I am using Grammarly to write in at the moment, it has a word count (or character count) at the bottom of the screen. I was thinking about Scrivener, so that may be an option at a later date if I start to write more. I really like Grammarly, it is a clean white space mostly except where you type. There is a menu on the right calculating your readability score, you can hide this. Also, it has alerts for your writing issues such as spelling and of course, grammar. There are not any distractions like you would find in Microsoft Word or LibreOffice. I do use LibreOffice for Word documents though.

So, time to wrap up this rather long blog post. If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo, I wish you luck and hope you hit that 50,000-word goal by 30th November 2020! Perhaps a bit of an escape during these awful times. I honestly cannot see anything improving unless everyone does their bit, and even then it might just take a miracle.

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