Welcome to the first anniversary of my weekly ‘Life  in Laytonia’ posts. 

Writing these weekly rants, reflections, observations, columns, blogs, call them what you like, has been one of the few good things – correction – probably for me the only good thing to come out of this wretched year of the pandemic. 

It has transmuted me from the full-time couch potato that I was in March 2020 into the part-time couch potato that I am today.

And as we go into the second year of these weekly musings, the sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed this week’s deliberate mistake… 

No?  Take another look.  It’s there three times. The clue is in the word ‘weekly’…

Yes, these ‘weekly musings’ (some cruel people might say weakly – thought it wise to get that cheap jibe in before anybody else does) have almost imperceptibly become these ‘fortnightly musings’:

Feb.1st (Words & Pictures) Feb. 8th (Bouquets & Brickbats) Feb.15th (Write On) Feb. 22nd (A Kiss On The Bottom) March 1st (Game, Set & Tears)…

Suddenly, we go from the1st of March to March 15th (Ooh, Matron…)  A 2-week gap!  Today is 29th March – another 2-week gap. 

How, or more to the point, why the radical change in the past year’s rigid ‘L in L’ timetable? 

If you chanced upon my last column/blog, you may remember that I was very much on hand to help  – oh, before I go on:

Confession Time

I could have just as easily announced that going forwards my weekly musings/rants will now be fortnightly.  The over-detailed listing of the past month’s ‘Life in Laytonias’ is merely an unsubtle way of directing you to those that you may have missed or may wish to revisit…?  Possibly…? 

Yes, shameless self-marketing.  Very vulgar.

As I was saying, if you read my last column/blog on 15th March (Ooh, Matron…) – tut, tut, there I go again – you may remember that I was very much on hand to help my darling wife following her painful shoulder operation.  As you can imagine this took up much of my writing time.

Or did it?

Was it another work avoidance ruse?  Regular readers will know exactly what I am talking about. 

Was my Nurse Ratched posturing simply a new excuse to put off doing what I am supposed to do? 

Was it newfound nourishment to feed the little fiend who took up residence inside my head years ago, signing in under the name ‘Mr. Procrastination’?  That devilish demon lodged in my sub-conscious whose daily mantra is “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”

The answer is a firm NO!

Now that I have once again got the writing bug, I have been thinking for quite some time about “going more sporadic” so to speak.  Freeing myself up to embark on other literary projects whilst continuing my weekly – now fortnightly – bulletins.

I have, however, my loyal readers to consider who have been reading them every 7 days:

Danni in Germany, whose beautifully written erudite comments are in themselves mini blogs – and not even written in her first language. 

George Fairbrother, who has been supportive from way back in my Telegraph Online ‘Layton on Lockdown’ days.

L in L’ reader Brad who, when I took a few days off around Christmas, posted this plaintive comment:

Brad on January 6, 2021 at 10:39 am

Come on, George.  It’s Twelfth Night.  Six days into the New Year.  Ten hours into Lockdown 3.   

Is that Broadband still on the blink?  We need some wit, reflection, reminiscing and general moaning.  Missing you.

Brad

I have a commitment to these good people. 

And I especially have a commitment to my dear friend, the talented composer/conductor, Debbie Wiseman, OBE.

Debbie ‘Maestra’ Wiseman, Composer in residence at Classic FM, is possibly one of the most sought after composers for film, television and orchestral works.  Certainly the hardest working. 

No fiendish demon inside her head, enticing her away from the deadline/task in hand with work avoidance cups of tea, emails that can wait, washing machines to be loaded, Twitter-trawling, etc.  No.  Debbie Wiseman works all the hours God sends.  I doubt she knows where the washing machine is!

In the past year, however, she has made a radical change in her rigid work schedule.  She has taken to having a lunch break every Monday to faithfully read my weekly ramblings.  ‘Lunch break’?  A quick cuppa and even more quickly, back to work.

Possibly she does have a little fiendish demon inside her head, who pops up around 1pm every Monday and hisses ‘Don’t waste your time on this drivel, Debbie – get back to work!!

I felt duty bound to let the Maestra know of the change in my not so rigid work schedule.

On Fri, 12 Mar 2021 at 07:13, George Layton wrote:

Hi Debbie

I know you’re probably having blog withdrawal symptoms but just to let you I am probably going to go fortnightly so that I can do other stuff – but only with your permission!!

George x

Reply:

Hi Georgie,

I was getting blog withdrawal, but you have my permission to go fortnightly!!  Looking forward to it!!

Lots of love

Maestra x

Not everybody was quite so charitable. 

My best friend of over 60 years is my eagle-eyed Proofreader.  After I have posted my piece, he emails his corrections and they are gratefully received.  He can spot at a glance a missing or redundant comma, bad grammar or the wrong use of a word .  For example:

Hi George

It’s Jimmy Connors not Conners.

xx

In my very first blog blog I wrote about “making the leap into unchartered waters”.

Ping!  I clicked on my inbox and read the email:

Hi George

Uncharted waters not “unchartered” waters.

xx

I had always thought it was ‘unchartered’ waters.  Of course it is ‘uncharted’. It refers to areas of the ocean (and life) that have never been explored and therefore is not on a chart! There you are, you live n’ learn! 

Ever grateful for my proofreader’s righting of the wrong, I always go back to my post and rewrite the wrong. 

Well, I was ever grateful until my self-appointed and much-valued proofreader became my self-appointed editor.

Some of you may remember that some weeks ago, I wrote about how my life-long pal/proofreader had voiced his disappointment in the blog that he had just read. It was ‘George-Centric’, he felt.  I should have been writing about President Trump, who the previous week had been up to his usual shenanigans.

When did I write that blog…? Let me check…I do remember, respecting his privacy, I had named my best friend ‘Mate’.  When was it…?

Good Lord!  It was nearly 5 months ago!  Doesn’t time fly when you’re not having fun. 

The ’George-Centric’ blog had been a personal ‘wearing my heart on my sleeve’ piece about my self-imposed exile from writing and how I had walked away from a reasonably successful writing career.

Somewhat defensively, I pointed out to ‘Mate’ that there had been acres of newsprint dished out on President God and the American Election written by political commentators far more adroit than myself.

With my customary ‘George, you can’t let it go/Dog with a Bone/Labouring the Point defense mechanism, I relentlessly continued to overstate my case by quoting from the blog in question:

Writing is subjective.  You cannot please everybody.  You cannot write to committee”.

As with Debbie, I felt it only correct to telephone ‘Mate’ and let him know that ‘Life in Laytonia’ was now going fortnightly.

Thank God for that’ came the reply.

So, how is it going with the new literary opus?

Well, there’s a lot of thinking going on.  Along with a lot of cups of tea.  And dishwasher loading.  And hanging up of laundry. To say nothing of vacuum cleaning, duvet changing and…

It must be bliss being married to a writer.