Clear out

It’s time for the big clearout. I once read a book called Clear your clutter with feng shui – in fact I still have it somewhere – and it was awful; it made me realise how bad I am at clearing things I no longer need. So, during this four-week relatively work-free period, that’s what I’m trying to do.

The trouble is, I realised when I had fallen behind schedule after about four days, that during these 4 weeks I have planned to clear the garden, clear the house, do some decorating, and make substantial progress on the novel. And of course, I actually need four weeks for each of these activities. Ah well – just have to do what I can.

This week the back of the garage – long a resting place for plant pots, old tiles, an aquarium, a coil of barbed wire, some beanpoles, and many, many weeds – has been cleared and tidied. We need to have a party now to make use of this big empty space. And I’ve been working my way down one of the long garden borders, clearing away even more weeds. Yesterday I reached the stinging nettles. I’m still tingling all over.

When it rains I work indoors, on what should be a big spare bedroom but has turned into a junk store. It’s already looking better but there’s lots to do. Four bags have gone to the charity shop – but I have to resist the urge to buy something else while I’m there.

And, of course, I’m not really work-free. I’ve written two newsletters this week, and sorted out photos of the event held in Yorkshire in June, so that we are left with a good collection of usable stuff. I’ve done loads of preparation for the workshops and slam I’m running in Dorset this week. This should be a lot of fun – three slam workshops with youth groups in diffreent parts of Dorset, and a grand slam on Friday. It means a lot of driving, and I will make very little money from it, but I might get time to mooch around a bit and do some research for The Novel (which has now reached nearly 25,000 words). If the weather’s good, I might even go to the beach and swim in the sea.

I’ve also prepared for a session at a nursing home in Ledbury on Monday. I’ve been to this place a couple of times before, and I think it’s the hardest thing I do. The people are really very poorly indeed; some of them are strapped into their wheelchairs. I read poems to them, and we try to write a poem together, but the response is unpredictable and slight. The lady who works with them says that they really enjoy it, but it’s very difficult for me to tell. But last time I went, a gentleman  whose head was bent to his chest during the whole session, suddenly lifted it as I left and said, “Thank you very much indeed.” So – I’ll go back, feeling a failure, but doing anything I can.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue clearing – the house, the garden, and myself. I think the gym sessions are beginning to have an effect.

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