How to feel better

It’s not been a bad week. On Monday I went to the hospital, which is nearly always inspiring; two lovely people who were really appreciative and, as always, incredibly brave. And I finished the minutes for the South West meeting; it always makes me feel good when I finish a job like this which is not terribly inspiring.

On Tuesday I managed to start a job which I’ve been wanting to do for ages – painting the garage window. I got it sanded and filled and undercoated, and finished it all on Friday. That’ll stop the rot in one place, anyway! And I did lots of prison stuff, started my income tax return and went to see The Expendables, which was rubbish.

Wednesday was a strange day. The power was cut off for most of the day as part of the work on the road, so I couldn’t do much work. A man came to give me a quote for a new gas boiler – the one I’ve got is 25 years old, and they keep telling me they won’t be able to get parts for it. Gulp. £3700. I’ll have to think hard about that one. In the afternoon I went to The Bloke’s house to work, but apart from writing the minutes for the last TADS meeting and sleeping for a while, I didn’t manage to do a great deal; but in the evening I finished the tax return – hooray! I must give credit to the Inland Revenue – the online tax system is excellent. It’s easy to use, guides you through well, tells you if you’ve made any mistakes, and gives an instant assessment; what’s more it gets slightly better each year. You might not like the assessment, but the means of getting it is as painless as it can be.

Prison on Thursday. It was a great day. The previous new chap in the group is coming on brilliantly, and there were two more new ones. I went to see them later, to check that they had enjoyed it and would come back next week, and found one of them working on his homework – writing a poem – when he could have been just having a bit of relaxation with the other guys. He’s hooked! And in the afternoon, we got the newsletter finished, checked, corrected, changed and ready to roll. We were let down by the prison chaplain who had promised a piece, but nice Maggie from education stepped in with a lovely few paragraphs. Getting all this done meant I left a bit late, so I spent some time food shopping to avoid the worst of the traffic, and got home in record time.

Friday was the hospital again. Sometimes this is more difficult than others; I started working with one lady and she was called in for an appointment, and that was that. Some people say no before I’ve even had a chance to explain. But one chap said yes, and we wrote a good piece, although he said he is a very private person and doesn’t want it to be used at all. Shame. Still, he enjoyed working on it, so that’s ok. And I finished the window frame and mowed the grass.

And yesterday, apart from going out and having a good time, I had some great news – the prison I work for has won 6 Koestler awards for creative writing – two highly commended, one bronze, two gold and a platinum. This is significantly better than last year, and I think they’ll be very pleased. It might even help to persuade them to keep me on for another year…

But what has really made me feel better is an attack on the garden. It’s looking so neglected, and I’ve had a go at one small bit, clearing away four big bags of stuff. At least now it looks as if someone is taking an interest, even if she hasn’t got the faintest idea of what she should be doing. And I bought a garden swing seat (something I’ve wanted for ages), reduced in a sale to £35. And seen The Son and The Daughter, briefly. And had some fun with The Bloke. Ok, I’ve got no employment coming in, and still months of work to do on the house and garden, but really, what’s to feel bad about?

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