Ok, I know that this isn’t really like prison. But the sun is shining outside, and I’m indoors, working. Again. I would have been outdoors for a little while, but the saga of The Mowers Of The World vs. BMR-B continues: I tried to start my mower for the first time today, and it wasn’t having any. I begged, I pleaded, I left it charging for ages from my car, but still nothing. Why? Why don’t they like me? Anyway, I’ve made a decision. All this hard work I’ve been doing means I have a little extra money, and so I’m going to buy a decent mower, one whose parts are not obsolete, one that will go when I turn the key; perhaps one that will even pick up the grass. I’ll have to get it soon, though, while the grass is still below thigh-level. Next Saturday is probably the limit.
However, gardening is not actually my job, although sometimes it feels like it. I didn’t get everything done last weekend, of course. Being with my kids takes priority. But I might just catch up today – except that I would really like some kind jailer to come along with a big set of keys and tell me that I am free to go.
I love my work, but sometimes it seems tedious. Two prison sessions this week were ok, except that they have released my best writer (again). I got a lot done on the newsletter, and had fun getting one group to act out the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet. They would have liked to carry on with the fighting, but two of them had to go for a counselling session.
TADS, my local amateur drama society, had its AGM on Monday. I’m the secretary. It all went well, but took up most of the evening. On the way home I was stopped by police – flashing blue lights and everything – because one of my headlights wasn’t working. It’s fixed now, although strangely they didn’t ask me to prove that I had got it done, or check in with them, or anything.
A meeting in London on Tuesday went ok, although we didn’t really finish all we wanted to do, and I just missed the best train back. I’ve been trying to tell people about proof. If an organisation does something with young people, and there are indications that their confidence has improved, the organisation can’t possibly say that what was done caused the improvement – not unless they use large numbers and careful statistical testing. It could be due to anything – a new teacher at school, their acne vanishing, the acquisition of a new boy/girlfriend. But most people – intelligent people – just don’t understand this. We can settle for reporting on what the young people say, which is fine; but it’s subjective evidence, and not objective. Sorry – a hobby-horse of mine.
I went straight from prison to a Rotary Club meeting in Ledbury. Not that I’m a member – I had been asked to read my flood poems. Lots of nice comments afterwards, but by then I was so, so tired.
And I was worried, because somehow, at our last performance of Once this was a poet, we had managed to leave a prop – somebody’s table – at the theatre. My tech guy was back in the theatre on Wednesday, but couldn’t find it, so I went on Saturday. I would hate to lose something belonging to someone else, quite apart from having to find another one ready for the next performance. Now, I have a strange and inexplicable talent – I can find things. I take no credit for this; I haven’t spent long hours in practice or anything. I went into the back room at the theatre, full of bits of scenery and hardboard and assorted widgets, and went straight to the table. Yes! Somehow I just knew where it would be.
But back to the rest of the week. Oldies Thursday, and a lovely 94-year-old who remembered everything. And the hospital in the afternoon; two interesting people there. But oh, so much pain! The 94-year-old has had enough, and doesn’t want to reach 100; one of the people in the hospital had lost her mother, father and niece to cancer, and was there with her sister, who also has it. And I moan abotu working. I should pull myself together.
And finally, on Friday, the last session with the adult literacy students, who always give me a giggle, and produced some excellent pieces of work.
Since then, I’ve been sitting at the computer – writing up stuff; devising the next session in my drama course for the prison; answering emails (where do they all come from?); writing reports and invoices; paying poets… I am chained to my computer, with no chance of escape until the end of this week, when it should get easier, and I will have a new spring in my step, etc.
Except that my son’s car is broken again – not springs, though, but linkages, whatever they are – and I’ll need to help him get it sorted. And the mower won’t work.