Coming up in April, The Mortal Bath will be participating in the A-to-Z Challenge.

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For the challenge, every day in April is assigned a letter of the alphabet, except for Sundays, which are an A-to-Z day off. So, April 1st = A, etc. Don’t fret, I’ll still be publishing Sunday in the Garden, horticulture fans. Alphabetical blog posts can be thematically coherent, or not, as long as the letters are on the right days.

Part of me is a bit suspicious of this sort of activity. The rules, I suppose, the ‘Hey, how about this idea?’ something-to-do-ness, keep ’em busy type thing. The part of me that’s an English teacher who on occasion plans “writing lessons”, if you know what I mean.

However, it’s a very small Gollum, muttering in the corner and braining fish. The A to Z project is something I’m looking forward to for a number of reasons.

Having developed bloggy momentum through the first three months of this year, I feel quite comfortable that the challenge is not so much in sustaining a daily output… although that is of course Still A Thing. The tough aspect foe me is definitely that it’s as much and maybe more the external deadlines – trying to set the posts to go out on the right day in different time zones, for example – and the structure.

Actually, though, the “letter days” aspect is something I have found really quite helpful for planning purposes. I dug out a yearly planner I’ve not been in since October and sketched out the month’s posts in advance. This might seem obvious practice for some, but it’s a novelty for me to attempt this much organization with The Writing, and I’m – blush – kinda liking it.

As a prompt, I decided to use a Birthday Book we have.

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A quality little item, as you’d perhaps expect from a hotel revelling in its majesty. It has a poetic quotation for each day, some of which chime with the letter of the day, so I’ll be using it for that, and there are some birthday-linked posts in there as well.

So, let the sequence commence!

If he allowed it, I’d embed some Prince here – yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhh – but you can have an Alphabet Treat from Cypress Hill instead: A to the NSFW musical link

It’s in the trees! It’s coming!

The Mortal Bath has a few different sections. ‘Sunday in the garden’ records the process of fixing up a suburban plot.

This week in ‘Sunday in the garden’, the excitement has been to get away from the unending task of de-brambling the veg patch, with an increasingly battered fork, to engage in the construction of a treehouse in the overgrown laurel.

Last week I got hold of some pallets, ripe for repurposing (a word which, I’m amused to note in an article aggrandising my DIY, autocorrect seems to think should be ‘repair posing’). The mostly intact ones are going to contain a compost pile (see next week’s SITG…), but the one that arrived in several pieces was quickly earmarked for summat different. There aren’t many occasions one gets the opportunity to make a treehouse for one’s kids, I suspect, so here we went.

There was some protracted wrangling of the base. I worked out quite quickly we’d have to knock off two end slats, but the right configuration in the tree was proving elusive. Eventually, I worked the floor piece round the complete other way to the way I’d thought – of course! – and got it fixed in place.

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Actually fitting the space and looking ‘organic’ too. At the other corner:
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Meanwhile, on the other side, supporting struts and side pieces slotted in nicely.

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The main idea had been to keep it ‘rustic’ – another irritatingly buzzy adjective, meaning simply unfussy, with perhaps an extra dash of slap in the execution – and so it was at least partly design that the two end sections…
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…forming a wind and/or child falling break…
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… came together neatly looking like a kind of ship’s prow. Everything was done with screws anyway, facilitating removal or replacement in case of some sort of balls-up, which added a sense of ease and lack of bother to the process.

The view from inside:
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Some extra panels on the right (as you look) followed, and there’ll be more going up on the left as well. We’ll probably need a roof of some sort as well at some point. However, the little one had started helping by this stage, road testing the platform and pronouncing it ready to entertain guests, so I was happy to leave it at that, and a fine morning’s work.

In the afternoon, we managed to get in a bit of lino in (pre-schooler beneficiary stomping up and down on it actually helpfully):
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… but I couldn’t locate the right tool to trim it down. Besides which, the sun had had enough by that point, retreating behind a thick and chilly layer of cloud, and it was time for lunchy.

Next week: back to the forking…

Blogging every day has become a positive habit this year. I’m into a third month of it now. Flipping the calendar over for March and continuing from February was a lot easier than at the end of January, where I swithered endlessly over the decision to carry on a New Year plan of action or to ‘ease off’ somehow. Backing away from new behaviour patterns is maybe a natural instinct, when it feels like it might be hard work.

So far, though, this perception has been absent. Posts like this, getting all meta about it… well, it’s not that I’m not having that conversation with myself, just that it’s not something I tend to let bubble up here in The Mortal Bath.

Alongside this, I am nurturing an interest in technical assistance. Like the gardening, really – digging up the weeds a bit, having a spring clean around all the habitual tools and methods I have accumulated. Seeing what still works, what doesn’t and needs throwing away – or B U R N I N G – and what new kit might be useful.

Trialling this week:

WriteMonkey for Windows (following a suggestion from a Jon Westenberg article on Medium.com)
Omni Notes for Android (had enough of Google Keep, and find Evernote’s UI a bit horrid)
Buffer, Edgar, Hootsuite

Will be posting on how these work out later.

It’s gonna make life easy for me!
It’s gonna be easy to get things done!