Party time. . .

…not all week, obviously, but that’s how the week ended – with parties all round. Monday was, as it often is, a prep day. Loads of emails and prep for a meeting this coming week and for some training the week after; a job application and some competition entries (I don’t do this very often but these ones just seemed appropriate and easy to enter); prep for the school on Wednesday. In the evening I went to a meeting about the Gloucestershire one act play festival, and found myself on the working group. Honestly, I really must learn not to volunteer for things!

Tuesday was similar; I finally finished handling all the email and ordinary mail left over from the holiday. I also had to spend some time talking to a BT man who wanted to put a telegraph pole outside my house. Now, my house has one thing going for it: it’s very pretty, and a telegraph right outside the front would not do it any good, but there was little I could do about it. My next door neighbour, however, is a different kettle of fish. He spoke to the BT man for about two hours, and I think just wore him down; we won’t be having the telegraph pole after all. Full marks for persistence, The Neighbour!

I felt very sleepy in the afternoon, and should have realised what this meant – usually if I’m really sleepy during the day it means a bad headache is on the way, and sure enough, it came on Wednesday. I had to run my school session with my head pounding. It went ok, though; they did some good writing and had some great ideas (how do you describe a rhino? It’s got a horn in front and looks like an army!). I just had to go to bed when I got home, though, and only managed to do a bit of work, which put me a bit behind with everything.

Thursday was good, though – lots of prep for a slam I was running in the evening and for the training and the meeting and the doctors’ surgery group, and I got started properly on a big report I have to write for my South West project. And picked all the remaining blackcurrants. There were loads of them! It’s been a good year for blackcurrants. The slam in Lydney went really well. It was between a Bristol team – all experienced slammers – and a team from Lydney, only one of whom has any real slam experience. It should have been a complete walkover, but the Lydney people held their own, and achieved a very respectable result. Everyone had a great time, and the only regret was that there weren’t more people there.

On Friday I finally downloaded some audio editing software and  started work on the audio play that I recorded at the prison some time ago. The software wasn’t difficult to get to grips with, and I hope to have it all finished today. This is not going to be a highly polished thing, though, I’m afraid; I have to have it done by Thursday this week and I just don’t have time to learn all the finer points. The doctors’ surgery group went well, although not all of them turned up; of course, these people by definition are not well, and sometimes they just can’t make it.

My brother had his 60th birthday recently, which is really hard to believe. One day he might grow up, but he certainly hasn’t done yet. Anyway, I went to his party on Saturday, with The Bloke. It was a long way, in Horncastle, near Lincoln, so a lot of driving was involved. It was a good party; my family met The Bloke for the first time and were all impressed, and the weather was lovely. En route we saw a pirate and a spaceship. I hadn’t been drinking. There really was a life-size statue of a pirate in one garden and a full-size replica of an Apollo nosecone in another. We stopped to take photos on the way back, and the owner came out. He was dressed in a strange costume – one side was an English soldier’s uniform and the other a German’s. He beckoned me over, and posed for a photo. I asked about the spaceship, and he said it was just something he had built to pass the time. The English eccentric is not dead, than goodness.

Up early the next day – I had to attend the event managers’ meeting at Ledbury. As part of the poetry festival this year we resurrected the idea of a street party. The centre of Ledbury was closed and bands played; the pubs brought tables and barrels out on the streets and there were lots of stalls selling interesting food. I was one of several poets entertaining people. I talked to people on the street for a while, then gave them an estimate of how long it would take me to write a poem for them, based on our conversation. The idea was that if I failed to produce a poem in the given time, I paid them £1. I wrote seven poems and didn’t have to pay anything, and all the recipients were delighted with the poems they were given. Among them were three love poems for couples; I really enjoy doing these and it was all lovely.

And I managed and compered the final event of the Festival, with four poets whose work I enjoy. The audience seemed to enjoy it, too,  and – a miracle – we finished just about on time. Finally there was a party for all the Poetry Festival helpers. I stayed for a bit, but I’m not really a great one for mingling. And I was tired.

So, party after party after party. I wish I could have got more done earlier in the week but the emails and mail take up so much time, and the headache didn’t help. This week is going to be horrendous. It’s not all a party.

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