It’s been an up-and-down week again. Last weekend was lovely, with both of my kids around; and I even wrote a new poem, which I’m rather pleased with. I’d include it in the blog, but I’ve entered it for a competition and it mustn’t be published or self-published – does a blog count as publication? I’m not sure; my readership was only 2 last week so it seems unlikely, but I’ll stay on the safe side. Strangely, the poem is about geese. Sort of.
I did loads of admin during my three days at home. Bit of a panic, because my external hard drive (the backup for all my files) wouldn’t work. It was less than a year old, so I’ve exchanged it for another, intending to back everything up again straight away – but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’m living on thin ice. I would have done the backup, honest gov, but during the workshop I ran for kids in Uley (in the depths of Gloucestershire) (11 kids! during half-term! volunteering for a 4-hour creative writing workshop!) I started to feel really ill; some kind of stomach bug. I managed not to throw up while the kids were there, but made up for it later, and came home and slept. And that’s been the pattern for the week – I’ve worked during the day, and slept from the moment I came in.
Going to the prison on Wednesday, then, was not much fun, especially with the car doors frozen, and the road through my village closed. But being there, both on Wednesday and Thursday, was a joy – the guys are so keen to write and be involved, and I’ve even started a staff group, which is notoriously difficult. I have to keep rigorous records, and it’s not easy to keep up with all that’s going on. And I spent a lot of time just looking for people. It’s only a small prison, so what it’s like in a big one I can’t imagine. There was a joyous moment when I met a man in a long brown skirt, going into one of the wings. He turned out to be a Buddhist monk, so of course I introduced myself and asked if he would write a short piece for the new prison newsletter. He gazed into the middle distance and said, “Well, I’m never sure about writing; things become so fixed when they’re written down.” It was such a delightfully Buddhist reply.
I dragged myself from my sickbed to a meeting of TADS, to present the calculations about finance for taking OTWAP to Edinburgh. They agreed, unanimously, to back us. Hooray!
On Friday I was making preparations for two meetings, one to be held in York and the other in Manchester, both within the next two weeks. Both have been postponed. One of them has been postponed several times already, always by the same person, always without a good reason. I had pre-booked cheap advance train tickets, trying to save public money, but it won’t be refunded. Despite my irritation, though, it is a great relief – the next week would otherwise have been a nightmare, and now it will be ok. I won’t tell them that, though.
Being ill has meant the postponement, too, of lots of my jobs, but now I’m beginning to catch up with them, and should be back on track by the end of tomorrow. The one thing that has really slipped is the ironing. Oh dear. No – I really mean that; when I do the ironing it’s the only time I get to watch all the tv films I’ve recorded. Perhaps tomorrow evening…