Quite a few things have been finished or come to an end this week. On Monday I finished editing the prisoners’ audio play. Well, I finished the first version, anyway; I was quite pleased with this, because I’ve never used audio editing software before and it came out ok, but since then I’ve had some ideas about how it can be improved, so when I have time (huh!) I’ll work on an improved version. Still, the guys were pleased with it when I played it to them at the prison on Thursday, so that was ok – and in my opinion it’s a good piece of work from people who’ve hardly written anything before. And I finished freezing the blackcurrants, and watched the last episode in the current series of Dr Who. V good it was, too.

On Tuesday I went to Manchester for the last Board meeting for my North West project. It’s a bit sad, really. I’ve been working on this for four years, and now it’s coming to an end. I still have a few bits of work to do on it, but it’s all gradually winding down, having achieved most of its objectives. The big report I wrote for it was well received, with only a few minor changes to be made. I haven’t written the minutes of the meeting yet; my outstanding tasks are stacking up a bit at the moment.

The school project hasn’t finished yet – that’s this week – and last week’s visit went very well indeed. We created a song, and they selected the pieces they will perform for another class in our last session, and worked out who would do which bits. It was a great effort for kids whose attention spans are apparently very limited.

I felt very tired and had to sleep in the afternoon, but still went diving in the evening – essential prep for the weekend!

On Friday I heard that the last slug of Arts Council money had been paid into the Poetry on Loan account, which meant that I could pay the outstanding invoices and put in my own last invoice. I’m going to resubmit our bid for further funding but the way things are going with public finances I don’t hold out a lot of hope. It was the last session at the doctors’ surgery; good, again, with plans made for a book of the pieces the patients have written – yet more stuff for me to do, though! We’ll be starting up again in September, so this one isn’t over for good.

And wow, what a weekend. To get the PADI (international scuba diving association) Open Water Diver qualification, you have to do four dives in, er, open water, and prove that you can perform various skills, mostly to do with safety. Our diving school took us to a quarry in South Gloucestershire – two dives on Saturday and two on Sunday. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you add in standing around for some time having the briefings, getting kitted up in dry suits (which are (a) uncomfortable and (b) not at all dry) and weights and hoods and gloves and a buoyancy jacket and an air tank, and taking it all off, and then doing it all over again – well, believe me, you get tired. The water was cold. It’s ok while you’re swimming around, but quite a lot of time was spent under water waiting while other people did their skill tests, and then it got really cold. On the second day, The Bloke, who is my diving buddy, had trouble with his ears and we surfaced a bit early. We didn’t realise that a dive has to be at least 20 minutes to qualify, and we had done only 16 minutes – so the two of us had to do it all over again. But this time, on my extra dive, I saw one of the two giant koi carp who live in the quarry lake – an event as rare, apparently, as seeing a shark on your first sea dive, so that was fun. The Bloke saw some of the Great Crested Newts that live there, too. On the way back I put the finishing touches to a poem I want to submit for an anthology.

But in the evening, tired as I was, I had to drive up to Cheshire to stay at my mum’s, ready for a training course in Manchester today – the last training course I will organise for the North West library people. It all went well, except that the room was almost totally airless (I could have done with my scuba equipment) and I nearly fell asleep – not a good thing for a course facilitator! I had to stop on the way home to sleep, but now I’m back, ready, finally, to get round to the ironing that I’ve put off doing for – oh, weeks. I’m going to get it done tonight, whatever happens.

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