Well, I’m glad that week’s over; it was hard work, though I guess if you have a proper job it wouldn’t seem like much.

The week started with a lovely day with The Son and The Daughter, and lunch out for Mother’s Day. We went to a pizza and pasta place that had real Italians eating in it, which I always think is a good sign, and the food was good and the service excellent. And I had some lovely presents, too. I did a bit of work after The Daughter had left and while The Son was sleeping.

On Monday I finally finished all the prison entries for the Koestler awards, which was a weight off my mind; did some prep for the Oxford school; and worked on the prison newsletter.

Tuesday was all day at the school; not a bad day, although the afternoon was a bit manic, as usual. In the evening I drove off straight from the school to a meeting in Birmingham. This was for a project in which I will be mentoring what they call an emerging writer in his work with a school. I’d never met the guy before and he seems ok. Afterwards I gave someone a lift home, which meant that I didn’t get home until quite late.

Wednesday morning was prep – for the Ross surgery group in the afternoon, mostly. I can only work with them for 4 sessions, so I’ve prepared an outline programme for their work for 8 more sessions. There was also some prep for Ledbury Poetry Festival meetings and for the prison, and more work on the newsletter. In the afternoon I went to the Ross group; they are such a pleasant group of people, and really keen to write – it’s such a joy to work with them. I had to leave promptly to get to the annual Poetry Festival meeting to review all the policies – health and safety, child protection, etc., and that went well; it was followed by the AGM and another meeting. Another late evening home, but I was determined to get the newsletter into a printable form, so I just stayed up until it was done, despite the early start I would have on Thursday morning.

So, Thursday; the prison. Oh dear. What a disappointment. One of my group had decided that he just didn’t want to act in the play in a public performance. Nothing we could say would change his mind. I was quite upset about this. I’ve been trying to get a performance on at the prison for nearly three years, and here we were, just a week, away, and the whole thing had to be scrapped. But I was even more disappointed for the other guys in the group, most of whom had never acted before, but who were about to overcome their fears and just do it. They didn’t want to get anyone else in to play the part, because they have all worked on the play together, and anyway it would have been very short notice. The guy’s fears were unfounded, too; he thought he would have the piss taken if he did the play, but we had 21 names down for people who wanted to come and see it, and when people want to see something they just aren’t going to take the piss. Anyway, in the end we agreed to do a recorded performance. Fortunately I was able to get permission from Security to take in my voice recorder, and the nice security lady offered to take some still photographs. We might be able to make it into a kind of visual recording, I think.

When I got home there were long phone calls, mostly from The Son who needed help to find the way to Liverpool, and I did some writeups.

On Friday I had a really productive meeting with an artist who has worked in surgeries as part of the ArtLift project, and who has an MA in arts in health settings. We planned the training session that I’ll be running for Poetry on Loan; I don’t think I would have come up with such a good plan without her. I dashed into Tewkesbury to collect a trophy that had to be returned, and home for half an hour with The Son. And mowed both the lawns, and did my accounts, and wrote lots of emails, and sent out a reminder of the rehearsal of my play, Terry Doyle. I hope they all come.

And then, hooray! it was the weekend, and hasn’t it been great weather? We had to return the trophy, which meant a drive to Rangeworthy, just north of Bristol. As it was so nice, we meandered into Chipping Sodbury, just to have a look round. Sunday was a jolly day, too – a trip to the garden centre to get some plants to replace ones that died in the frost. The only problem is that before I can plant the new ones I have to dig out the old ones, and that’s going to be hard work. And The Bloke and I went for a bike ride, which was good exercise and great fun too. The Bloke cooked some fantastic food, and I did some more work on the adjudication, which I should finish today.

It was a bit of a full-on week, except for the rather lazy weekend. This week I’m mostly at home during the days but out in the evenings, and there’s still loads to do. Not quite a Phew! week, though.

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