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Newsletter September 2011

Hello Elfin people!
First things first – you want to know when you’ll get your Diaries. Well, the pages are printed but John, the chap who does all the binding, has just gone on his fortnight’s holiday! So the Diaries won’t be ready for me until the end of the month. At which time, I’ll have a mammoth task of packing everyone’s orders and posting them out as fast as possible. (I will, however, delight my local Post Office – like so many village POs these days they’re strugging to survive, so I’ll be giving them all my posting business and heaving all those parcels up the road to them.)
The delay in printing isn’t the fault of the printers – I should have got the material to them at least a month earlier than I did; they’re a busy lot and had other jobs scheduled. Next year, I shall be properly organised (hah – get me, a Pisces, saying she’ll get organised!!) and get the Diary to them on time for an August/September launch.
In the meantime, I’ve been sorting out Caroline’s mailing list. She was a technophobe, couldn’t get on with computers at all (I remember her ringing me up one time, with “Something’s wrong with my computer!” Me: “So what happened?” C:” It wouldn’t do what I wanted, it just wouldn’t, so I picked it up and threw it onto the floor!” Me:”O dear…” C:”…and now when I switch it on, it just makes a funny noise and won’t do anything. Do you think I’ve broken it?”) So she didn’t have any idea how to set up customer lists on a computer; her ‘mailing list’ was instead a series of boxes containing C5 envelopes with a name and address on each, all indexed and sorted. Every time she used an envelope – to send out a newsletter, say – she would write out another envelope to replace it.
The system suited her, but that’s not the way I work. (For a start, I haven’t got the space for all those boxes in the bit of hallway that currently serves as my office.) So I’ve been entering every name and address (around 400 so far) into a computer database. And one thing I’ve noticed is that quite a lot of you live quite close by another Elfin customer; there are three of you just a few streets apart in Muswell Hill, for example, and the GU postcode seems to be full of you! So here’s a suggestion – when you (finally) get your D, how about taking it out in public, so that everybody can see it? Or how about wearing an Elfin T-shirt? You never know, there might be another Elfin person that you’ve been passing by for years, without knowing; and if you get together, well it gives Fate a chance to work….
And another bit of news – there WILL be a Desk Diary! If you haven’t seen it before, it’s A5 size (twice the sixe of the ordinary D), 252 pages, ringbound, softback, with two days to a page – plenty of space to write all your notes! It should be ready about the same time as the others and will cost £11.84 + the usual p&p. You can pre-order it now on the website.
Well, that’s all the news that fits… Hope you’re all keeping well, warm and dry.

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Newsletter August 2011

Hallo to all Elfin Diary folk!

I’m Val Dobson, this is my first Elfin newsletter, and I’m pleased to be able to tell you that the 2012 Diary is at the printers.

It’s been a bit of an adventure getting this far. As you all probably know by know, Caroline died in June; in her last phone call to me, she asked me to carry on with the Diary.
Apart from the 2009 and 2010 Ds, I’ve been helping her put the D together for 13 or 14 years – my job was copy-editing, researching all the stuff that goes into the diary section and putting it all together in a desktop publishing program ready for printing. And I set up and looked after the website (I’m a web designer as well.) Late last year, she asked me to come back and do the bulk of the 2012 D; I’d finished the diary section by May, all that was needed was the articles and a few other bits and bobs.
Separated by 200 miles, communications between us were limited to emails and phone calls. Her illness meant that she was often incommunicado for long periods, so I didn’t worry when her phone calls dropped away. She had always seemed so very strong, coping magnificently with her illness, determined to carry on – I wasn’t worried. She’d let me know when she wanted me, that’s what I told myself. She’d last for ever. And, at the time my hubby was also ill, and needed my attention. Now of course I wish I could go back to some weekend in Spring, lift up the phone and talk to her….
If she were reading this now, she’d tell me to stop being so soppy and get cracking on some Diary work!

So, to get back to the present, here’s the news that this newsletter is supposed to be about.

The 2012 Diary will come in the usual softback and hardback versions. However, it’s going to be a little shorter than usual. There’s only one article, by Libby (much thanks!), as I couldn’t get Caroline’s Diary files. If any of you sent in an article for the 2012 D, please resend it and I’ll consider it for the 2013 D. And in the rush, I’ve also missed out one or two sections. It should be out in early September.

Wall calender
There won’t be a wall calender this year; sorry, but there just wasn’t time to prepare one. I’ll try to put one together for next year.

Desk Diary
I can’t say yet if there’s going to be one – you’ll be the first to know if we get one ready.

T-Shirts
Yes, we have Elfin T-shirts! Silver on burgundy, size L (to fit 42-44in chest) and XL (to fit 46 – 48in chest). They have the Elfin Diary 2012 logo on them with the message “In Memory of Caroline B Heaney 1947 – 2011” (This was Andy the T-shirt printer’s idea.)

Incense
II’ve had quite a few people asking if I’ll be selling the lovely Fern & Moss incense. I’d very much like to – I love it myself – but unfortunately it appears to be unavailable at the moment. However, I’m waiting to hear from the wholesalers and will let you know.

Electronic versions of the Diary
I’ll be selling a PDF version of the Diary – you’ll be able to download it from the website or buy it on a CD. You can then read the Diary not just on your computer or laptop, but also on a number of e-reading devices such as the iPad and the Kindle. I may also be able to offer a .mobi format as well. Forward into the 21st century! But if you’re not a techno-wizard, fear not – there’ll always be a proper, REAL, Diary as well, one that you can actually touch and hold and write in.

The website
has been completely revamped; the website address is as usual www.elfindiaries.co.uk; or you can try www.elfindiary.co.uk – they both lead to the same site. It has an e-commerce shop that takes Paypal payments. However, cheques, Postal Orders and cash are still very acceptable.

The Elfin Mailing list
I would like to save both trees and postal costs by sending out my Elfin news via email. So if you would rather receive Elfin news that way please let me know your email address. And if you don’t want to be on my mailing list at all, tell me and I will instantly and permanently remove all your details.

Changes
I was considering a complete overhaul in the appearance and layout; then somebody reminded me “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Quite right – if you didn’t like the D as it was when Caroline was producing it you wouldn’t have bought it every year, would you? So the Diary will remain much the same.
On the other hand, everything has to change and evolve. I’ve thoroughly updated the Psychic Guide and added some new entries; I’ll be making some small changes to the layout for next year, to add more information. But it’s your Diary, so what changes would you like to see? Is there anything you would like included in the Diary? What sections do you find most useful? What sections would you want to be left out, if any? Please tell me.

Do you know of any shops which might sell the Elfin Diary? If so, perhaps you could pass on their telephone number or email address to me.

Finally, any other comments? Please let me know!