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September Newsletter

Hi Folks
Well, I have good news and bad news…
The bad news first: The Elfin Diary will not be published this year.
The good news? I will be publishing an Elfin’s Almanac in its place.
This year has been a pretty awful year for myself and my husband. We’ve had a small series of disasters (like the car expensively breaking down time & again) but the worst of it has been illness for both of us. First, my husband, after being unwell for several weeks (but refusing to see the doctor because “it’s only a bug”, the silly man!) eventually collapsed with abdominal pains and had to be rushed to hospital, where sepsis was diagnosed. Luckily, the doctors caught it in time; but when he was discharged home, he was still very weak and needed my constant care.
Then after three weeks or so of running around and worrying, my arthritic knees started to swell up and hurt.  Normally, this isn’t a big problem – I just stay off my feet for a few days. However, this time the pain didn’t go away. In fact, it started spreading to the rest of my joints; my muscles became very stiff and painful also. Pretty soon, I was spending 12-15 hours a day in bed. I was unable to do anything really, even holding a book or a tablet up to read hurt my hands. Adding to things, sleeping was difficult and continually disturbed by pain.  I certainly couldn’t sit up at the computer – 20 minutes or so of that had my back and shoulders aching badly. Luckily, husband was on the mend by then and was able to look after me.
So, in short, I was unable to do any work at all on the D from early July onwards. I had most of it completed; all that remained was filling in all the diary pages: the daily transits, moon changes, festivals etc, plus the Sky at Night articles. This is the biggest job of all and takes me at least six weeks.
Anyway, at the beginning of September, after blood tests and doctors visits, I finally got a diagnosis of  Polymyalgia. It’s an autoimmune disorder, so its often triggered by stress. I’m taking medication and feeling much better, but I get tired very easily and usually have to nap in the afternoon. And the polymyalgia could return at any time.

So – there I was. Sitting at the computer, wondering if I could ever finish the Diary, and sadly deciding that I couldn’t – not without damaging my health again with the stress. Then up popped an email from Amazon, begging me to buy the latest Old Moores Almanac. And a lightbulb went off!
I had most of the information I needed to finish the D already on my computer, in the form of lists and reference works; it wouldn’t take a great deal of work to transfer those lists into an Almanac.  And the small Diary has always functioned as an almanac as well as a daily diary. So, just for this one year, the Diary will become an Almanac.
Not to be able to bring you a special 30th anniversary edition of the D (yes, the first Elfin Diary came out in 1990!) is a big disappointment – I had lots and lots of plans for it.
But, as the saying goes, if you want to give the Gods a laugh, just tell them your plans….

The Almanac has nearly everything that the Diary usually carries, except for the actual diary pages with their daily transits, birthdays etc, and the Sky at Night articles. It will be out next month, will cost £8.64 plus the usual postage. You can preorder it here – use the coupon code OCTFREE at the checkout to get free postage on your entire order (valid until October 31st).
Oh and on’t worry, the Diary will be returning for 2021!

I’ve also the usual mugs and T-shirts on sale. Unfortunately, the reliable little firm that has always printed them for me has gone bust and I couldn’t find anyone charging the same low prices. So my apologies for the price rises.

Finally, a plug for mine & Brian’s writing effort The Todmorden Tales We had intended to bring it out last spring, but life got in the way. I’m still working on the Kindle version, but the paperback is almost ready to print and you can preorder it from the website. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just have a look at the site and read the sample chapter. You never know, you may like it!

Well, that’s all the news for now,

My hope this year is that you are all well and have what you need.