…which refers to the light wire used for bundling hay; a very straightforward word that we use when everything’s gone wrong. A deadline that I had to meet by 14th December was brought forward suddenly to 7th December, and this has turned the week upside down a bit.

But anyway. My Faithful Reader thought I hadn’t blogged last week, because I did it late, so I’m writing earlier this week. (Thank you, Faithful Reader, for sticking with me!)

So – I’ve spent quite a lot of time this week preparing an evaluation report with the shortened deadline. Usually I like doing these (strange person), but this time I didn’t have all the information I needed and had to rely on other people to supply it at short notice. Fortunately they delivered the goods, and I’ve more or less done all my bits now.

I’ve been to the hospital twice. The people I meet there are amazing; they face treatments, day after day, that make them feel sick and miserable, and the only thing they complain about is the queues. I don’t blame them in this; the medical staff are great, but the way the place is run seems to be pretty awful.

I had a meeting at the doctors’ surgery, too, to tell them about what I’ve been doing and get them to refer more patients. The doctor I’ve been working with mainly said that one of the three ladies is making real progress since she started the writing sessions. I hesitate to attribute causality, but I do think it’s made a difference. We had our second-to-last session on Friday, with two of them there; they had both written stories based on incidents in their lives – between 300 and 500 words each – and these were ladies who started off terrified at the thought of writing a word. They were proud of themselves, and rightly so.

On Monday evening we had a readthrough of potential plays for the one act play festivals next year – we need to get the entries in by early January, so we have to make a decision soon. Four plays were in contention – two of mine, one by an existing member of TADS, and another by a woman who has only come along recently. I know which ones I think we should do, but the decision is to be made once our Chairman has collated everyone’s views. She needs to get a move on.

Rehearsals for the current production are coming on well, apparently; I haven’t been to many because I have so much work at the moment. But various comments have made me think about the role of the director. It’s so important to be encouraging as well as firm; almost everyone needs to have their confidence bolstered. It’s easy to forget this when the pressure is on, and it’s made me wonder whether I’m guilty of neglecting this aspect myself. I hope not.

I ran another course on Wednesday; again it went well, but there’s always the thought that it could have been better – if we had all week, to include everything the participants would like to cover. Oh well.

I was feeling a bit weighed down by the evaluation; so much of my prison work has been put back because of this and I’m having to work all weekend (again) to try to get everything back on course. But the last couple of days have made up for it – a hospital session and the surgery group, and then on Saturday morning a poetry workshop with ESOL students (studying English as a foreign language) in Hereford. They were great; how on earth they can write such good stuff in a foreign language I don’t know. They were all eastern European, and all good-looking. How do they do it?

And now I’ve caught up with all my emails, and done most of my write-ups, ordered loads of Christmas presents online (shame; I quite enjoy real shopping), and I’ve embarked on all the prep for this week. I’m still a bit caught up with all I have to do at the moment, but hey! – I was always good at untangling wires, so perhaps by the end of the day my unruly bundle of stuff will be tamed. I hope.

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