It’s spring. Which is lovely. Daffodils and primroses out everywhere. But I have a problem with daffodils. When I was 35, and I saw all the swathes of daffodils by the sides of the roads, I suddenly thought, I’m halfway through to 70. I’ll only see the daffodils 35 more times. Since then, every spring I think how many times I’ve got left, which can be a little depressing. Of course, I could just make up my mind that I’m going to live until I’m 80, and the remaining number would take a leap.

Meanwhile, I have to make the most of every day, obviously. Monday at the prison was not one of the days I want to remember. I can’t really say why, but it was to do with security and a prisoner who has formed what they call an inappropriate attachment for me. As it happened, it all turned out ok in the end, but I spent most of the day feeling like a rat. Wednesday in the prison was also a bit strange. I had met a prisoner on the Monday who writes poems, and he showed me one “a powerful statement of how I came to be here,” he said. Actually, it was a rather poor poem attempting to justify his attack on his wife. So I asked him to come to my group on the Wednesday. Sure enough, he read the poem to the other guys, who told him what they thought – it was full of cliches, too long, too rhyme-driven, and showed that he was in denial about hiscrime. They really don’t need me. We agreed that if he wants to be a real writer he should do it again, from his wife’s point of view, and blow me, he agreed to have a go! Peer pressure is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, he rather dominated the session, and one of the usual guys felt a bit left out, I think.

In between I went to an ArtLift meeting – full of other artists (I mean painters, ceramicists, etc. – real artists) and health professionals, and we talked about the project, which organises artists to work within doctors’ surgeries, and is very successful in helping a lot of people. Fun; and I stayed too long.

Thursday was at home – hooray! I did lots of prep, and went to the dentist, and did a bit of organisation for rehearsals of my play.

On Friday I started a course of three sessions with some adult literacy students (and their 5-year-old kids) at a school in Hereford. They were very chatty, but were mostly prepared to have a go at everything, and produced some excellent pieces. The kids were fun, too, although shy – we made a little poem about snakes.

I had planned to go to the hospital in the afternoon, but got half way there and turned back , having seen the balloon flying over the racecourse. Cheltenham races are, I’m sure, great fun for people who like that sort of thing, but I’ve tried to get out of Cheltenham at 5 pm on a race day before, and it took ages.

This did mean that I was able to catch up with a lot of other stuff – so much so that for one glorious moment it looked as if I would actually be up-to-date with everything; but a few long phone calls soon brought me back down to earth.

And just now I have been scrabbling round with earth – my own home-grown compost, to be precise – filling a trough with lilies of the valley and some bulbs that will grow into blue things. I have quite enough of those yellow things in my garden already; blue flowers don’t at all make me think about how many (or few) years I’ve got left.

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