That’s what my play is called – Cuffed. It does make sense, when you see it.

First, sorry that the blog is late this week – I think I might have overdone time off this weekend; now I’m really going to have to focus on work to get everything done in my two days at home this week, so a fairly brief blog.

Last Sunday I went to see Jimmy Carr. He was very funny – one-liners, mostly, which is unusual nowadays; most comedians tell stories; but I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Monday was write-ups and more write-ups, interrupted by a meeting about the ArtLift work I do in the local doctors’ surgery. It was a useful meeting, and also ended up with the probability of funding for the work I do with nurses at the hospital – excellent news! The dress rehearsal of Cuffed in the evening went really well, and I knew I could stop worrying about the performance on Saturday. Not that I ever do stop worrying, but in theory I didn’t need to.

On Tuesday I phoned my friend Jackie in New Zealand. I had missed her birthday and wanted to apologise. I’ve known Jackie (or Jekkie, which is how her name is pronounced with a New Zealand accent) since I was at university, and although we talk to each other only about once a year it’s as if we’re still sharing a flat. She’s coming over to England later this year, and I’m really looking forward to spending some time with her.

More write-ups and prep, and out to see a documentary (Mugabe and the white African?), which was interesting and thought-provoking. The man is clearly mad.

Wednesday was the second session with the Gloucester reading group. It was great, They hadn’t done the prep I asked them to, but we talked about books, and I read a few poems, and then they all had a go at writing a little poem themselves. They were excellent! It even made up for finding some rot in one of the beams on the outside of my porch; it’s all been dug out and treated, and today I should finish the filling.

Yet more write-ups and prep, and lots of actions from all the meetings last month, and I wrote another poem, Pockets. Always good news. We had another little rehearsal in the evening, just to boost the cast’s confidence.

Thursday was a bit different. As well as the inevitable actions (writing a job description for someone to take over my work in the North West), I went off to Swindon to look at a coffee shop The Son hoped to take over and run. He has a dream, and I want to help him live it, but this was not the right place. It was a good space, but within a few yards of four more coffee shops and a Subway. The competition was fierce, and I think that this venue stood a strong chance of failure – it has already failed twice. He was gutted, and I felt really bad, but I don’t want his dream to turn into a nightmare so I have to be honest. In the evening I saw Invictus – good performances but a bit of a stodgy script.

Friday was the hospital, and work with a lovely woman who was a real inspiration. I think she got quite a lot from the session, and I know I did. I love doing this stuff. And my group at the doctors’ surgery were brilliant – they work so hard! And later I started doing some clearing, and threw out 5 pairs of boots. Honestly, why do I have all this junk? I need to spend a few months getting rid of stuff. Nobody needs as much stuff as I have.

And so to Saturday – an exit strategy written; a trip to see the car The Daughter wants to buy (she bought it, although the salesman was horrible); a bit of shopping; and the play – Cuffed, my play, as part of the Cheltenham One Act Play Festival. Well, the cast did the best performance they have ever done, and the audience laughed out loud at the bits I hoped would be slightly amusing – this made the poignant bits even more pronounced. We won best actress, best original play, best in Gloucestershire, and best in festival, which means that we go through to the quarter finals of the national one act play competition. Not just Cuffed, but very, very chuffed.

And now I have to introduce a new character in my blog – The Bloke. The Bloke came to see the play and took me home; he had bought champagne (for if we did well) and chocolates (for if we didn’t). We drank the champagne. This has been a good week.

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