Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the company that printed and sent out mugs, bags and t-shirts had to close for a while. However, they are now slowly reopening . So I shall be putting those products back on the site soon. I may have some new designs by then!
Recently, going through the list of customers who have registered on this site, I noticed that that were far more registrations than actual customers (i.e. people who had bought something from the site). So I went through the list and found hundreds of obvious spam registrations (no, I won’t describe how I recognised them as spammers) and it took me a whole afternoon to delete them all. I undoubtedly erred on the side of caution and deleted some genuine accounts. If that’s happened to you, then you’ll have to register again. You may find it a litle harder to register this time as I’ve taken some measures to block spammers from registering.
I hope this finds you all in good health. So far me & Brian and keeping the lurgy at bay by not going anywhere. It’s getting quite boring – apart from the Asda delivery driver, we haven’t talked to anybody or had any visitors for over a week now. It’s all very well being able to Skype and email people, but It’s not really a substitute for getting out of the house and talking face to face. However that’s life; sometimes you just have to accept that things are what they are and that you can’t change it.
Interestingly, I’m now seeing reports that lockdowns, flying bans and people choosing to stay at home are already producing cuts in air pollution and carbon emissions. What a pity that it’s taking a deadly epidemic to make us change our habits….
At least I’ve no distractions from working on the 2021 Diary – that’s all going pretty much to schedule. (Cross fingers, toss salt, clutch rabbit’s foot – oops, where’s that pesky rabbit got to?)
Hopefully, those of you that can get out are keeping an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours – just knocking and checking that they’re OK will cheer them up. And if you’re going shopping, save a few items for the local food bank if you can – not just food, but things like baby milk, soap, tissues etc; there’s been such panic-buying this last week that in many areas, there isn’t enough left for foodbanks to buy. And talking of panic-buying, why on earth is everyone stocking up on toilet paper? There are substitutes you can use – and you can’t eat it!
This coming weekend is quite busy, astrologically speaking. If you don’t already know, the Spring Equinox is this Friday, at 3.58 am (GMT). This is the astrological New Year, when the slate is wiped clean and new starts are possible. This year it’s followed by a Mars-Jupiter conjunction at 11.35 GMT. Mars and Jupiter meet up only every two years or so, so this is quite significant. The conjunction is in Capricorn – any project started now will eventually bring rewards – and the Equinox’s promise of a new beginning is emphasised.
On Sunday, Saturn moves into Aquarius – efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19 will be stepped up globally, with co-operation between science communities across the world. But don’t expect a big breakthough just yet – on 11th May, Saturn turns retrograde, quickly slipping back into Capricorn. This retrograde period will last until 25th September and the Lord of Time won’t re-enter Aquarius until December. This suggests to me that the epidemic will be with us until the autumn.
Another astrological happening to watch out for is the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto on 5th April, an event that happens only every twelve years. This one will be in Capricorn, the sign of boundaries and restrictions; Jupiter represents expansion and travel, while Pluto signifies karma, endings and beginnings. In terms of the “lockdowns” going on, this may well mark the intensification of all kinds of restrictions. Accept what cannot be changed, draw on your inner strength, use the time wisely. In December, Jupiter will burst the bounds of Capricorn and enter Aquarius; and on the 21st December, the day of the Winter Solstice, Jupiter will join Saturn in Aquarius. So look forward to that!
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.
I am now selling greetings cards – A6 size (the size of the small Diary), blank inside, suitable for most occasions.
There are five designs in this range – rabbit, deer, panther, fox and squirrel. I’ll be adding more designs in the near future. Go to the Greetings Card page to see what’s on offer.
Well, the Solstice is here – at 11:07 BST on the 21st – and the days will start getting shorter (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, of course; its the reverse if you’re South of the equator). I’m still working on the Diary, but things are going much better than they’ve been for the last couple of years and Things are on course for printing at the end of September.
You can buy your elfin T-shirts, bags and mugs from the site, if you can’t wait. I’ve spruced up the site a little and I’ve done away with most of the T-shirts and other stuff that I’ve had on sale for the last couple of years. Nobody seemed interested in buying them, which was rather disappointing – I thought that everybody would want a splendid gold-on-black Zodiac T-shirt, at the very least. So they’re off the site; however, if somebody wants one still, I’m prepared to do one-off orders.And I’m always on the lookout for new designs that you may like.
Besides the Diary, I’m also busy on a new project. Way back in the Dark Ages before the internet, me & my husband Brian published a small magazine call The Little Red Book. In it, we published a series of very unserious short stories called Tales of Old Todmorden, about a coven of pagans in Yorkshire and their various comic misadventures. We wrote 17 or 18 of these stories and people seemed to like them; for years, we’ve been asked if we can bring out a collection. Well, twenty years on, we’re finally getting around to it!
With luck, the Todmorden Tales will be published in the autumn, in both print and ebook.
I’ve set up a website where you can download one of the stories for free; if you feel the book is worth buying, then you can sign up for email updates there: www.todmordentales.com. Or just contact me.
Well, that’s all the news for now. Enjoy the solstice!
Well, I’ve been tidying up the website a bit. Because nobody was buying them, I’ve deleted all the Zodiac and Dreamcatcher T-shirts, and the Dreamcatcher mugs and bags. I was quite disappointed that they didn’t sell that much, I thought they were good designs. I’ve also deleted the mousemats and notebooks – again, almost nobody seemed interested in buying them. I may introduce one or two new mug and T-shirt designs, but from now on I think I’ll mainly stick to Diaries.
I’ll soon be bringing out the 2019 Elfin Ts, bags and mugs, so look out for those!
As for the 2019 Diary, it’s still on course for a September printing. Will there be a Desk Diary as well as the softback and harback? I will NOT make any promises – it’s all depends…..
I’ve decided on the cover for the 2019 D – here it is!
I’ve just got an ISSN number for the Elfin Diary. It’s the same as an ISBN number for books, but for periodicals. The Diary’s ISSN is 1368-9134; the advantage of having one is that shops with digitised cataloguing/ordering systems can easily order the D.
I came across ISSNs by accident while looking for something else; the system is operated by the British Library and I will be sending them a copy each year. In my correspondence with the Library I discovered that Caroline had been doing that since the first edition of the Diary in 1990. Thanks to the over zealous executor of her estate who refused me access to her paperwork and records, I had never known that. They’ve requested that I send them Diaries for 2012 – 2016; I’ll have to start digging around in my cupboards!
If anybody reading this has old Elfin Diaries that they don’t want to keep, please let me know – I can probably take them off your hands. There are gaps in my own collection of Ds, especially the ones published in the 1990s before I met Caroline.
Today would have been Caroline Heaney’s 70th birthday. I wish she was still around now, if only to give me her usual forthright and cuttingly honest opinion on how I’ve managed her precious Elfin Diary in the six years she’s been gone.
I’ve finally found some nice zodiac sign designs – take a look at them here.
You might also like the Dreamcatcher designs – these are also available on mugs and bags. Go on, take a look!
Meanshile, I’m getting on with putting the 2018 D together. I intend to get it out in good time this year. So fingers crossed…!
….. to let you all know that I’m dealing with your ordes as fast as I can – I’m very aware that many of my Ds are destined to be Chrissie presents.
This is a pic of the present state of my office. It’s normally a lot tidier, but I’m so busy…!
Anyhoo, I’m down to the last 50 or so orders and I hope to get them all out tomorrow.
There will be postal strikes next week, but as the strikers are all Crown Post Office employees, and posties and sorting office staff are still working, I’m not expecting them to interfere much with the Diary deliveries. However, I’ll still try to post out as many as I can before the end of the week.
Hallo Elfin Diary people!
First of all, some news about the Diary. I’m afraid it will be late again. My plan was to to finish and proof it this last weekend, chuck it at the printer today and have it ready for posting off at the end of next week.
Hah! Thursday, I was shifting some furniture and my back went. Slipped disc apparently. Anyway, it’s blooming painful and I’ve been flat out in bed ever since, unable to get to my computer. I’m writing this on a little tablet thingy by the way; I’ll be getting a laptop ASAP so if this happens again I can at least carry on working.
Work on the D was further delayed earlier this year by my having cataracts; one has aready been fixed very successfully, and the other will be done by Christma. My sight is already improved.
(I’m not fishing for sympathy with all this, just letting you know what’s going on.)
If my back improvement continues, I should have the D at the printers next week; I’ll pay them for a fast turnaround and with any luck they’ll be in the post mid-November.
I think you’ll agree with me that 2016 has been a pretty strange year so far. Have a good Samhain, if you celebrate it; and let’s all try to make 2017 a better year in whatever way we can.
Last year’s softback diary was pretty awful quality, I have to admit; it’s one of the rasons I’m using a new printing company this year. They’ve just sent me some samples and I’m impressed with the quality of their paper, binding and card. The softback, at least, will be much better this year. Happily, their prices are also cheaper – which means that I can reduce the softback price back to £9.99!
I’m still looking at finishes for the hardback D, but i don’t expect to have to put any price increase on that. The same goes for the Desk Diary, btw.
I’m now organising the 2017 Diary, and making some changes. I’ll still be selling Elfin T-shirts, but I’m adding a range of non-Elfin Ts. A couple of examples are posted here. There are several more designs to come, including a set of Zodiac signs. I may even be selling Elfin mugs as well!
Oh, I’ve not forgotten the Diaries – they should be ready sometime in October. It will be a bout three weeks or so until i get an idea of prices; when that happens, you will be able to pre-order them here. So stay tuned…. Better still get on my mailing list (see right).
I’ve now just wrapped up the last of the current stock of hardback Ds, and have about 6 softbacks left. But I had already ordered reprints of both before Christmas – they should be here next week sometime. So you can still order a Diary; just be prepared for a wait.
I still have plenty of Desk Diaries, and of course unlimited supplies of the PDF Diary.
It seems that the flood danger is over for now. However, there is still considerable disruption to services in Dumfries & Galloway, so I won’t be posting out anything until tomorrow (Saturday). The postal services may or may not be working then – they weren’t working last Saturday – and Monday will be a holiday here in Scotland, so they won’t be working then.
Sorry if you’re waiting for a Diary to arrive, but I can’t change the weather, or holidays!
I won’t be able to deal with any orders for a few days, perhaps not until next week. The storms have affected our area quite badly, we are in a flood danger zone and more rain is forecast. There is no postal service.
This morning the river alongside our property briefly burst its banks and the water got up to our doorstep before going down. Most roads are closed and I’m concentrating on making my home flood-safe (half the garden is currently under water, despite the drop in water levels).
So thanks for your patience and have a good New Year!
The softback Ds arrived last night (yes, a Saturday night), so today I’m busy packing up Ds ready for posting tomorrow. Hopefully, the desk Diaries will be here tomorrow. There’s hundreds of orders, with only me & Hubby to deal with them, so some of them inevitably won’t arrive before Chrimbo. Sorry about that folks; this year, it couldn’t be helped. But I’ll be more organised next year. I’m even thinking about doing the wall calender again!
Anyway, I’m dealing with the earliest orders first, and the ones I know are meant as Chrimbo prezzies. The people who haven’t paid for their Ds within a month after ordering will be left until the very last – when there are unlikely to be any Ds left anyway!
Well, the hardback Ds, at least – I’m still waiting for the softbacks and the desk diaries. I’ve actually sold out of hardbacks and softbacks and have got more on order. The print-on-demand service I’m using is good – although the initial printing is taking over three weeks, any reprints are apparently done in a day (or so the man says!) It’s more expensive than my previous printers, but so much faster!
I’m busy wrapping up and posting Ds, but I’ve finally found time to tweak the website. I’ve found a new woprdpress theme that looks great with only a few adjustments; I’m forced to admit that it’s much nicer-looking than the design that I created myself. I’ll start posting more Diary pictures as well, as soon as the other Ds arrive. I got the Diary PDFs to the printer so late that wasn’t time for them to send me a hardcopy proof. They’re slightly different to the old Ds – the softback D will have a full-colour cover, and the hardback D is a proper bound book. It looks very smart.
Hallo all Efin Diary peeps!
Well, it’s been a bit of a year here at Elfin HQ. I’ve had to say goodbye to my printer at rather short notice (I’m not going into the reasons) and the financial situation has been dire. My chronic health problems haven’t been helping either. But I’m still here and I’m determined to bring out the Elfin Diary once again.
It’s going to be late again, I’m afraid – I anticipate I’ll have the first copies ready at the end of October. Unfortunately, as the one good thing about my old printer was that he was cheap, I’m going to have to raise the prices of the Ds. The new prices are: hardback £17.99; softback £11.99; desk diary £16.99.
You can pre-order them from the website now. There will be a PDF version at the usual £5.99; but that isn’t ready yet.
There will be incense – I’m waiting on a shipment of Fern & Moss. The price is the same and again, no postage will be charged for incense alone. There will also be T-shirts – I’m awaiting the arrival of those as well. The postage on the Ds and the Ts will be the same as last year – £1.50 per order.
Now, is there any good news to report? Most of the trees I planted in the garden this year and last year are still growing! That’s several fruit trees, two oak trees, a beech tree, a weeping willow and a cherry. Seeing that lot – and the other trees I intend to plant next year – grow into a woodland will certainly be an incentive to stick around for as long as possible!
Honestly, I’ve found that planting a tree is extremely therapeutic and positive (and yes, I do go out and talk to them as well). So if you have some garden space, why not plant a tree yourself? The Woodland Trust will be happy to advise you on all aspects of trees and tree care; under some some circumstances they’ll even pay part of the cost of planting a small woodland. Go to woodlandtrust.org.uk, write to them at The Woodland Trust, Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG31 6LL or ring them on 0330 333 3300.
But that’s all for now peeps. Here’s hoping that all’s well with you and yours,
Well Diary peeps, I have to apologise – the D is going to be late again. I hope to have the first Ds for sale around the end of October. The bad news is that the price will have to go up – I’ll explain the reasons in the next newsletter. The D covers will also be a bit different – only the hardback and the desk diary will have the usual foil-block covers; the softback D will have a coloured laminated cover.
You can pre-order your Diary – I’ll have the website shop sorted in a day or two and will start sending out order forms for those customers who prefer to order by post. (If you want a paper order form, let me know your address via the contact form and I’ll add you to the post-only list.)
Sorry about this, but its been a difficult year here at Elfin HQ – I even thought for a while that I wouldn’t be able to keep the Elfin Diary going any longer.
Anyway, enough of the whinging – the D is going to be published!
For a couple of years, I produced a PDF version of the Elfin Diary. This was basically the version that got sent to the printer, with hyperlinks to useful/interesting websites added. I thought people would like this – an Elfin Diary they could install and read on their electronic devices! It was cheaper than the dead-tree versions as well. But sales were very disappointing; maybe a dozen in the first year, half that in the second year. (The third year, when I’d not bothered to put a PDF version on sale, I got a request for it from a visually impaired customer; I sent her a copy – I’ll do the same for anybody with visual problems, so don’t hesitate to contact me.)
I regularly got requests for a Kindle version, but at that time it was simply not technically possible to convert the very complex layout of the Diary into anything other than PDF. However, this year, I’ve been taking another look at e-book publishing, discovering that things have moved on in the last few years. It appears that the Diary can be converted into .epub and .mobi versions without losing readability.
It’s still quite a complicated process and will mean changing the layout of the D – but only for the electronic versions. The printed version will remain unchanged – people seem to like it that way. Though if you don’t, and you think it could be better, I’ll certainly consider your suggestions. You’re the customer after all.
I may give up on supplying Elfin Diaries to shops. Every year I have problems getting payment out of one or two; that’s easily dealt with – I just don’t supply them again unless they pay up.
With the economy bad for almost everyone at the moment, I don’t nag traders for payment. People get plenty of time to pay up, without nagging. But this time, it’s been such a hassle! With some, I’ve been waiting over five months and never had any reply to my emails.
Publishing and selling Elfin Diaries was never meant to make me a fortune, just a living and no more. I enjoy putting it together and marketing it – what I don’t enjoy is getting people to pay up. In a good financial year, I can carry a bit of unpaid debt; but this isn’t a good year. Elfin Diaries, as a business, will start going down the plughole if I can’t get what I’m owed.
Which is why I’m seriously thinking of sticking to retail business and selling straight to customers. It’s so much easier!
Yes, another occasional newsletter from that slightly strange lady who publishes the Elfin Diary.
First things first – if you don’t want to get any more of these fascinating communications, then just say so! I shall immediately remove you from my mailing list and you’ll never hear from me again. You can do this by writing to the address below – I’ll even refund your postage, to make it really easy – or by emailing me at the email address, also below.
If you’re still reading (and not rushing off to tell me never to darken your letterbox again), I have what might be good news for you. I’ve noticed that you haven’t bought a 2015 Diary yet. Of course, there could be any number of reasons for that – you’ve forgotten about it, the dog/toddler/budgie chewed up the order form I sent back in October, somebody gave you an Elfin Diary for Christmas; or possibly, things have been tight for you, as it is for nearly everybody, and you decided to forgo buying my Diary.
Whatever the reason, I’m reducing the price of everything by 20%! You can either use the order form overleaf or order online (website address below) – where you can pay by Paypal, credit card or debit card.
If you’re ordering from the website, when you get to the checkout page use the coupon code newyeardiscount to have the price of your order discounted by 20%. There is no minimum order amount and you can use the coupon code as many times as you want from now until the end of February. Your friends can use the discount code to buy a Diary from the website as well – they don’t have to be previous customers.
Well, that’s about it. I hope you had a good holiday and that all is well with you and yours. If not, my thoughts are with you.
Hallo to all Elfin Diary folk!
It’s another dynamic & thrilling newsletter from Elfin Diaries HQ! First the bad news – the Diary will be late (again! Yes I know!). But I’ve been so busy this year with house-moving, taming a really big garden, redecorating etc that I’m really behind with getting the Diary together. Also, I’ve developed RSI in my hands, which pretty much keeps me off the keyboard some days (being resistant to the idea of going to the doc and getting injections for it, I’ve found a gel called Biofreeze that’s really good for the pain). But I slugged on with it and its finally done. Expect the D to be ready in October or possibly November this year.
I’ve finally got a new article for the D – its ‘Recipes For the Eight Sabbats’, which somebody (sorry, I’ve forgotten who, but thank you for it) suggested years ago. I’m no cook and I’ve not tested the recipes, but they sound pretty yummy!
A little more bad news, sorry but I’ve had to increase the price of the hardbacked D to £16.99. The softback and Desk Diaries will remain the same price – £9.99 and £12.99 however.
I’m still selling incense – this year I’ve added a couple more smells – as well as Fern & Moss, I’ve got Orange Blossom and Oceans. Give them a try! They’ll still be the same price, £1.99 a packet with free P&P.
And I have T-shirts, as usual. This time the design on them is a bit different – an old woodcut of an astronomer with an astrolabe (that’s a sort of model of the Solar System). Colour is white on burgundy.
Another bit of news that some of you will like is that this year I’ll be able to process website card payments directly, instead of through Paypal. I’m not a huge fan of Paypal and I’ve finally found a reputable card-processing outfit that won’t cost me any more in charges than PP does. If you’re happy with Paypal, you can still use that, or send me a cheque or Postal Order. Or cash, gold bullion, whatever – you can pay for your D pretty much anyway you like! Except over the phone – that needs a good mobile signal and I haven’t got one of those. Using my mobile here means going out into the garden and waving it around for a bit and getting funny looks from the passing traffic!
Hallo to all Elfin Diary folk!
First of all, apologies for getting out this newsletter so late. I was late completing the D, and didn’t get it to the printer until he was just about to go on his hols. Sigh. I promise, I really will be better organised next year. But it looks like there won’t be any Ds available until October.
More bad news is the the price of the Ds will have to go up. but to compensate, the hardback & softback Ds have 16 more pages.
I am again offering free postage for early orders. Order your Ds before October 21st (cheques can be post-dated) and you won’t need to pay P&P! This offer applies to anywhere in the world btw, not just this country
I am still selling the fern & Moss incense, at the same price, and again post-free.
2013 Elfin Diaries
I also have some 2013 Elfin Diaries still left – softbacks, hardbacks and desk diaries. I’m selling these for £4 each, with free p&p.
Well, what a funny, strange year this has been. Everyone I know seems to be having problems and struggles, and I hesitate to turn on the TV news any more – it’s been enough to depress anybody, lately.
More than ever, its worthwhile stopping to remind ourselves about what we have rather than what we do not have. For myself I can say that I’m alive, fairly healthy and have all that I need. My great hope that every one of you can say the same.