Writing in the dark

I’m not actually writing in the dark; it’s bright sunshine outside and I would rather be gardening or clearing the garage, but I have to work indoors today. But my website is down. The Son (who is my technical adviser) is working on it but hasn’t got anywhere yet. Meanwhile, I’ll write the blog anyway in case it’s back up soon. It’s strange; I know people read my blog but I still have no idea who most of them are, and I’ve had only half a dozen comments since I started, so I’m usually writing in the dark, but this time it’s worse.

So, this week. Monday was mostly a prep day. I paid Poetry on Loan invoices and the balance of the money for my holiday accommodation and flight (just hoping that the cloud will have gone by the time my holiday comes round); I planned the set list for my gig this coming Saturday; made phone call; answered emails; sent some pieces by prisoners for possible publication in an excellent magazine called Not Shut Up. The dress rehearsal of Cuffed was in the evening and it went really well. I filmed it this time, but unfortunately my head is visible throughout. Hmm. Not really the effect I wanted.

After the rehearsal I drove up to stay with my mum in Cheshire. I got there really late, and very tired, and just spent a little bit of time with my mum before I had to go to bed. The next day was great fun – two courses for front line library staff on working with young people. It’s hard work, but very enjoyable, and they all seemed to get a lot out of it.

Wednesday was another prep day – the workshop I was supposed to run was postponed until this week. I have so many emails! They take a good deal of my time, and I always forget them when it comes to planning what I’m going to do. But I got them all answered / deleted and did some work for the prison newsletter. I also went for test drives in a couple of cars – both nice, but neither exactly right. I have been spoiled by owning a Prelude; nothing else will ever be the same. Diving in the evening was fun. I find the theory easy, but faced with all the equipment at the side of the pool I completely forget what order I’m supposed to do things in. I’ve written a poem now to help me remember. And the key thing about diving is to relax, but that’s always been something I’m not too good at. It’s probably very good for me.

Excellent day at the prison on Thursday; lots of bits and pieces sorted out and a good start on the newsletter.

I applied for some work early on Friday morning – I really need to start looking out for more opportunities, what with three of my big pieces of work ending in the next few months. And the hospital – well, what can I say? Every week I go there, and nearly always I meet people who make me feel inspired and humble. They were terrific. I had planned to take a Prelude for a test drive in the afternoon, but – oh no! – it had already been sold. Alas; I think my days of Prelude driving are nearly at an end.

In the evening I went to see Dara O’Briain (I think that’s the right spelling) with The Bloke. He was very funny (Dara, that is, although The Bloke is funny too), but talked extremely fast and the sound wasn’t too good, so he was probably even funnier than I thought.

And then, of course, I had to start worrying, because it was the quarter-final of the All England Theatre Festival on Saturday. We set off for Marlborough and had our tech check. It was really odd – a brand new school with what they refer to as a theatre; in fact, it’s just a glorified school hall – hand-pulley tabs, no way of getting from one side of the stage to the other; no dressing rooms; not much room off stage and some other very odd features. If only, if only when they designed it they had asked somebody – anybody – with some theatre experience what was needed, it could have been wonderful.

As for the performance – well, it was all a bit sad. My poor leading man made a big mistake early on and it wrecked his confidence, so he rushed the rest of the play, and it just didn’t work anything like as well as it had in the dress rehearsal. My leading lady, Penny, won the best acting award, so that was something, and the adjudicator said it was very close, but we didn’t win. Never mind. These things happen.

Yesterday I cleared stuff from the garage – a whole carload to the tip and half a bin full of paperwork that I have kept for years for no purpose – and pruned. I’m planning a bonfire. I wish I could spend today in the garden or doing more clearing, but here I am in my little office, ready to do write-ups and prep and answer emails; and writing a blog that probably no-one will ever read. Ah well. At least the sun is shining.

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