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I’m back! Now, where were we?

Ah yes – just after the last post I Went Ape with my son and daughter. There are lots of Go Apes; this one was in the Forest of Dean. We strapped up into safety harnesses and went climbing and swinging through trees. It was great fun, and the knowledge that everyone has wood chippings in their pants (it happens when you land after the zip wires) is very bonding. We all enjoyed it immensely.

Then – well, another week of prison, a TRA staff day, and generally getting ready for my holiday. It all seems a long time ago now.

I’m brown. Ok, I know it’s not supposed to be good for you, but I know that being in the sunshine makes me feel better than anything else I do, and I’m always very careful not to get burned. I was in Skiathos, a small but lovely Greek island – probably the place where I feel most at home. I was in a different hotel from usual. It had the usual low-rise blocks of rooms, but my room was different – a little round house set in the middle of the gardens. I felt like some kind of elf:

My elf house

I had a lovely week. I sunbathed and swam and read and wrote. I spent some time shaving bits off the poems I will use in the Radio 4 slam qualifier this week (there’s a time limit of 2′ 15″, and most of mine are nearly 3 minutes), and I wrote a couple of thousand words of The Novel, and the first draft of a new one-act play, which I’m quite pleased with. Oh, and some poems – one of these isn’t bad, I think. But it felt as if I had done nothing but enjoy myself. I didn’t drink much, but then I never do, but I did eat kateifi (worth going to Greece for alone) and lots of tomatoes and cucumber, which they make really well there. I spoke quite a lot of Greek too, and I’ve obviously improved, because whenever I tried it, the person I was talking to always replied in a torrent of Greek, which of course I couldn’t understand.

Now I’m just planning my next visit. I think that next year I’d like to go there for a month or even two, but this all depends on my poor blind cat. She knows where she is at home, and would I think be miserable in a cattery.

But really, of course, what I’m actually doing now is getting back to all the things that need to be done. I haven’t completely finished my unpacking, and I need to do loads of prep for things I’m doing this week. I’ve picked two big bowls of blackcurrants from the bush in the garden, and I’ve got to prepare those for the freezer; and I must start making plans for Ring Round the Moon, the next big TADS’ production, which I’ve somehow agreed to direct.

And today we had a rehearsal for the last ever performance of Once this was a poet. It made me feel quite sad, knowing that I will see it only one more time, but the cast were terrific, and it was an excellent rehearsal. Anyone coming to see it (Wednesday July 8th, 6:30 pm, Ledbury Market Theatre – tickets available from Ledbury Poetry Festival box office) is in for a real treat, a theatrical experience that will never be forgotten. Ok, sales pitch over – but it really is worth seeing.

So, home with a vengeance. Skiathos is home with a big sunny smile.

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