Back to normal

Well, now things are back to normal, but the week saw a lot of dsiruption. I took my car in to the garage on Monday – not first thing, though, because most of the mechanics hadn’t made it. We had had more snow. Eventually, after much testing, they said there was nothing wrong with it. Perhaps it’s like me, and isn’t very good in the cold. And I did manage to stock up on cat litter.

My Faithful Reader, who is in the current TADS’ production – her first bit of acting for 35 years, she telle me – came to my house for some coaching on Monday. I made her promise not to see the additional mess caused by the proch decorating, let alone the normal mess. I think she found it really helpful; just an hour or so of individual attention can make all the difference as far as confidence is concerned. I went with her for half of the rehearsal in the evening, but I couldn’t stay for all of it, because I needed an early night prior to…

The interview on Tuesday morning, in a school on the other side of Oxford. It should have taken me 1hr 45 mins to get there; the interview was at 9; I left at 6:15, and arrived just before 9:15. It was a joint interview with somebody who, as it happens, I had never met, although we had spoken a lot on the phone. During the delays (mostly just from volume of traffic, rather than the weather) on the journey, I decided I really didn’t want this job, with the thought of all that travelling, but as soon as we got into the classroom, I changed my mind. The school was lovely, and the kids were a delight.

We came a close second. Oh well.

My meeting in the late afternoon was cancelled. Another meeting on Thursday morning was cancelled, too, but I was only told about it when I was half-way there. All these cancellations meant that I could really get on with decorating the porch. In fact, I finished it all! Except that I didn’t. Just as I was clearing everything up, I noticed a place on the skirting board where the paint hadn’t stuck. It was a patch of rot, so I’ve had to start again, with digging it out and treating it and filling it…

I didn’t cancel the course I was running on Friday in Taunton, and it went well; everyone seemed to enjoy it.

It’s been quite a good week creatively, as well. I’ve had an idea for a new play; I’ll have to write the first few pages soon, to get it fixed in my mind, but I’ll probably do the rest when I’m on holiday. And I’ve written two poems, one inspired by the snow and the other by – well, you decide. It’s been a while since I’ve included a poem in my blog, so here are both of them:

Written white

Happiness writes white, a poet said.
This morning, happiness is everywhere;
Scribbled, splashed on gardens, hills and streets –
An unexpected gift from shivering angels.
And grown-ups all remember how to play.
Beneath the ski-suits, mufflers and hats,
In technicolour, everybody smiles.

The arbitrariness of edges

It’s a bastard to paint,
My cottage. Black and white,
Magpie; timber-framed, chocolate box –
Whatever you call it,
Still a bastard to paint.
No combine harvesters here,
Rolling transformation on the prairie,
But a hand-drawn plough on patchwork fields.
The beams and posts aren’t straight, you know –
They meander, pathways stumbled by a drunkard
Seeking a vague lodging.

The first time, you, the painter,
Try to follow lines prescribed by
Predecessors. And you fail.
Later, slowly, comes the clear reality,
In black and white,
That it’s up to you to choose.
It’s your brush, your paint, your wall,
And every line you take is yours alone,
All edges arbitrary.

Also, I received the first two copies of the prison diary book, and they look great. I’m really pleased with them, and I think everyone at the prison will be too.

Today – well, today I’ve been at the rehearsal for TADS’ next play. I haven’t really been involved with this production, but I went to the technical rehearsal in case they found they needed an extra pair of hands, and – hey! I’ve got the job of operating the following spot. I’ve always wanted to do this. A following spot, in case you don’t know, is a moving spotlight. What’s more, there’s an air-raid scene, so I can wave the spot around all over the place as if it were a searchlight.

Ok. I accept that this may not be what many people would think of as back to normal, but this week there should be no cancellations, no lovely white stuff, no snowmen; and probably fewer smiles.

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