Found and lost

Well, August was going to be quiet for me, but it isn’t. It’s been a busy, bitty week, butI seem to have found a lot of time to get stuff done. And lost some, too.

Monday was prep, and putting together a book of poems written by a prisoner and his wife for each other – aah! It had to be done in time for their wedding anniversary, so took high priority. And a trip to the hospital was good, too – I spent a lot of time with a woman looking after her husband; she seemed to value the experience.

Tuesday: the prison. It was the first session of a new writing course, and I had 9 in the group! One of them, to be honest, couldn’t speak much English, but he asked if he could stay and just listen, which was fine. The others – well, they’re all keen, and three or four are very good writers.

But I felt a bit odd in the afternoon, and on the way home I knew I’d got cystitis. This is a very unpleasant illness, and when I have it I get a temperature and feel terrible. So instead of doing what I had planned when I got home, I went straight to bed, drinking gallons and gallons of liquid. A whole evening lost! I was still ill in the morning, but called the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics for me without my having to go to the surgery and be seen. How very sensible! I’ve had cystitis often enough to know when it’s a real infection (sometimes it goes away), and doing it this way saved time for everybody. I had to go back to bed for a while, but managed to do a lot of Poetry on Loan work, and stuff for the South West project, and some prison work too.

In the evening I went to the National Indoor Arena, to see Walking with Dinosaurs. I like to recommend things if I can. The dinosaur show (which I went to at the insistence of my son) was extremely well done, especially if you were about 10; just slightly Disneyish for my liking. But the NIA! I’ve never come across such bad queue management, and when I suggested to some managers standing around watching people waiting in the rain that if they put a few signs up it would help, they were positively rude.  Contemporary views on public service are that you should aim to delight the customer; they clearly confused “delight” with “insult”. I hope never to go there again.

Thursday I was at home – just as well, because I was still feeling a bit wobbly and had to go to bed for a while. But I did go to a meeting about the forthcoming work with patients in a local doctors’ surgery; and answered loads of emails, and put together a big book of poems from my last prison writing course. It’s an amazing collection, I think. I even managed to hack my way through a bit of the jungle laughingly known as my garden.

But the evening was a disappointment. It was the first readthrough / audition for Ring Round the Moon, which I’ll be directing. Only 4 people came. One was a woman who had lost her voice and came to say she wasn’t coming; one was my technical guy; one was a chap who I’ve already cast; and the other will almost certainly have a part, too. We waited for over 45 minutes, then gave up. Which meant I had found a bit of extra time to work on the book of poems…

…which I finished on Friday! Hooray! And I did lots of other stuff, too, before going to the hospital and spending a long time with a lady with terminal cancer. She told me about the problems she has with people who tell her to be positive, as if she’s going to get better; she has to work really hard to persuade them that that’s just not the right attitude for her.

So on to the weekend. I understand some people have time off at weekends, and this weekend I did what some people do – decorating! At last I have finished the woodwork in the room I painted in January. This may sound trivial, but the room has two sets of patio-style doors – 70 little window panes to paint round – so it’s not your average woodwork-painting job. It’s done now, though. But I still didn’t feel quite right, and had an hour and a half sleep on Saturday afternoon.

All is fine now, though, and I feel good. I’ve started my income tax return, and I should finish it this evening, and I’ve mowed and planted and answered the mail. But, but – somewhere, somehow today I have lost a ring. It wasn’t expensive; I bought it in Greece and it lives on my little finger and I’m really used to it. Oh dear. I’ve checked that it didn’t get caught up in my painting gloves. The other possibilities are that it came off while I was replanting the hanging baskets; or, more likely, when I was shovelling the grass clippings into green bags. Four of them. Which I think I’m going to have to empty, now. Not only a ring lost, but time, too; though on this occasion I think the ring is more important.

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