Happy whatever…

…to all my reader. It’s hard to know what to wish people at this time of year; Christmas has gone, and we haven’t reached the New Year yet, but happy something, anyway.

It’s been a relatively normal week, I guess. The tree came in, and was decorated, and I strung lights round a Christmas tree I had years ago, with roots, and that is still clinging on to life in a pot on the patio. In the next village along the road is a guy who really goes to town with his Christmas lights. Now, this can look naff, but he goes beyond naff and into something approaching Blackpool. Everybody who passes stops for a look – the lights cover his house and garden, and each year they become more and more extreme. His electricity bills must be enormous, but he brightens up life for everyone who goes past – good on him!

My decorations are far more restrained.

I had a really good day at the prison this week. My group were amazing; they worked hard on the book that will be made of their pieces, and all wrote another poem. One guy, who has real problems with writing at all, produced the best thing he has ever done. An interview with the governor went well, too; two of the guys had a list of questions to ask him about the changes that are happening in the prison, and he spent well over an hour with us. I’ve written the interview up and sent it to him for checking; in fact, the next issue of the newsletter is nearly ready to go.

I also wrote a new poem, a sad little thing; and, equally important, a list of all my outstanding jobs. I now feel back in control. Sort of.

The Son had his usual Christmas Eve Eve party on, well, Christmas Eve Eve – a lot of his old friends from school. For the first time, I was allowed to stay downstairs, rather than being banished to my bedroom. I stayed, mostly, in my office, and I could hear them chatting sedately and listening to Christmas music. They’re growing older, I thought; time was when I could hardly bear the noise. We had some fun with The Son’s newly-purchased chocolate fountain. The first batch (a whole kilo!) of chocolate went wrong, so we had to start again, and the second time it worked – and everyone who arrived went straight to it.

By Christmas Eve, I was just about all ready, but tired – not used to late-night partying. I timed my new one-act play, and it’s 29 minutes, which is fine for the competitions; made sausage rolls and mince pies and cheese straws, iced cakes, and tidied up a bit. Just like a normal person, really.

Christmas Day was lovely – just The Son, The Daughter and me; very relaxed, with enough food and lots of lovely presents. We all had what we hoped for and some surprises. I have to say, though, that I find a whole day of inactivity (I don’t count cooking and washing up as activity) quite tiring…

…so yesterday I was back at work, finishing the newsletter and working on the book of the prison group’s poems, with just a brief visit to the Next sale (disappointing). And I finally managed to get round to sending a long, chatty email to my friend in New Zealand. It’s only taken me since last Christmas.

And today I’ve started on some research for a project for the Cheltenham Literature Festival, and done more work on the book. I should probably do some gardening – pruning the buddleia, for example – but I feel I have to do the things that really have to be done first.  I’ll feel happier when I know I’m up-to-date with everything.

And I hope you are all happy too, and enjoying – well, whatever you’re doing.

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