When I was working in business, we avoided categorising anything (variables, bug reports, etc.) as miscellaneous, because if you’re not careful, everything gets lumped under that heading; people won’t bother to think about what group a problem or issue really comes under. But still, there was a need for a miscellaneous category. It became OAS (odds and sods), in a slightly pathetic effort at disguise. This has been an OAS week.

Monday was a home day – notes for my manager at The Reading Agency to prepare for a meeting; writeups; trying to arrange a meeting; a long phone call (well, three long phone calls) from my mum; prep for the school I’m working at; an evaluation report for the women’s group work; emails; more emails; a TADS meeting. And Tuesday was much the same, except that I had fun making The Son’s birthday cake, and did some packing, and worked on my big report for the North West project. In the evening we went to see The Losers, a totally undemanding, lightweight and enjoyable movie.

Wednesday was a bit more strenuous. It was my first real session with a school in Birmingham where I’m working with a group of autistic boys. It’s taking me a little while to adjust my expectations according to their abilities. They are very enthusiastic but have extremely low attention spans, so I have to provide lots of different activities and lots of moving around, while at the same time giving them a very strong structure. It’s a bit different from other school classes I have worked with, but really interesting and good fun; there aren’t many of them, so at least I’ve been able to learn their names already.

In the afternoon I had a meeting at the Ledbury Poetry Festival. I’m a trustee, and although I don’t do anything like as much to contribute as the other trustees, my main task is to manage the policies. Dull or what? But we have a review each year to go through them and make sure they are up-to-date, and that was what we did on Wednesday. I still have to make all the changes to the documents, but that’s just painstaking and a job I should get done this week. This was followed by a normal LPF meeting; things seem to be going well for this year’s Festival. And to round off the day, another dry suit diving session. It seemed a little easier to manage this week.

The Son came home briefly, with his girlfriend, and they pronounced the cake to be excellent.

Prison Thursday. It was an important morning. My group has written a play, and we had to get it all recorded in one morning, because two of the guys in the group will be leaving the prison before I go in again. The play is set in Vancouver airport (well, why not?), on a day when all flights were grounded; so the helicopters flying around outside didn’t help, and neither did the people talking outside in the corridor; my ineptitude with the new voice recorder was yet another problem. But we did it! Only just, but we did get all the recording complete. And much to my astonishment, the Security people listened to all the takes straight away, which meant that I could bring the recorder home ready to put the whole thing together.

In the evening I did some more writing up and handled yet more emails.

On Friday I was asked to provide some information for The Reading Agency – today, please! And the doctors’ surgery groups in the afternoon; both groups went really well, with some new people who got stuck in straight away. In the evening I wrote the minutes for the TADS meeting. During the day a tree surgeon came to trim our horse chestnut tree. This is a very important tree – it was planted, as a conker, by The Son when he was only about four. Of course, we never really expected it to grow, but now it’s a full-grown chestnut; it’s something I’ll hate to leave when eventually we sell this house.

Saturday was gardening, packing and Arthur Smith at The Roses in the evening – he was funny, but not as good as I had expected.

Yesterday was a lovely day, sunny and warm. A special day – the tenth anniversary of the death of my husband Pete Brown. I took some freesias to leave near where he lived, in a caravan at the edge of a fruit field, and then went round Hailes Abbey with The Bloke. This is a very peaceful place, and an ideal way to spend such a day. I did no work at all, all day. Pete would have been proud of me.

I didn’t think that I would last ten years
After you died, what with the tears
An’ all. But you planted the seeds of dreams,
And showed me life is what it seems:
A buzzard’s flight; an apple tree;
A child’s kite; and poetry.
Your caravan, your ashes are long gone,
But you live on, Pete; always, you live on.

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