Reaching the end

My busy period is drawing to a close, but at the end of last week things were looking a bit fraught.

I was at the school in Oxford on Monday, preparing for their end-of-project celebration. They worked well, mostly; a good day. In the evening I did the writeup, and wrote yet another letter to the AA, and an email complaining about the rep on my holiday. I don’t like complaining about individuals, but in this case a complaint was deserved. And I answered loads of emails, although I still didn’t finish all of those left over from my week away.

The school in Birmingham on Tuesday went brilliantly – they came up with some fantastic images. More emails later, and out in the evening to see Senna, which was excellent – see it if you have a chance.

I spent all day on Wednesday with an arts organisation in Bristol. A group of us may become their associates, and we were deciding exactly what this meant. When I first heard about this, the implication was definitely that working with them would lead probably to offers of work, but now this seems less certain. It was good to meet with other thoughtful people, but on the other hand I did pay £18 for the car park! I went to a TADS meeting in the evening, and did some prep for the prison and a session with the Oncology nurses.

Blimey, this all sounds really dry! Actually, it was – work, work, work… Anyway, the prison was good, as usual, and in the evening I did my end-of-month accounting, and prep for my GP surgery group and the event I was managing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday evening…

…which meant I had to go to the event managers’ meeting on Friday morning. They’ve closed the entrance to the motorway I would usually use to come back, which is a bit of a nuisance, but at least I know now. At lunchtime I worked with the nurses. We haven’t met for several months, but they excelled themselves, turning out some really good poems, in just an hour. Straight from there to the GP surgery. We’ve finished the play now, and we read it all through, making little changes to ensure that it all hangs together. It’s great! The group can be really proud of themselves for this piece of work.

The Daughter popped in on her way to a hen weekend. We didn’t have those, when I was a lad; people hardly had hen nights at all. In fact, I’ve been married three times, and never had a hen night, but I’m not sure that I’ve missed anything. And then it was off to Ledbury. I realised just how stressed I was when I got there and realised I was an hour early – an hour I could have spent working. It’s was all getting a bit much. However, the event was wonderful – Tony Walsh and Hollie McNish. Some of Tony’s poems made me remember why I’m involved in poetry, and even inspired me to write a (not very good) poem when I got home, even though it was late and I was very tired.

On Saturday I did – guess what? Yes, more work; prep for the Oxford school and the Birmingham school and a workshop I’m running on Wednesday, and writeups for the nurses and the GP surgery groups. The Son and The Son’s Girlfriend came for a while, on their way back from a wedding; it’s obviously that season. Eventually I decided not to answer the last few emails but to go to see The Bloke instead, before he forgot what I look like. Poor The Bloke – I spent most of Saturday evening and Sunday asleep, although we did manage a mooch round a garden centre in between my snoozes. I popped home on Sunday (more prep) and saw The Daughter again, on her way home. She had a blister on her finger acquired from doing and undoing zips on the huge number of dresses she had tried on. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

And today – well, it was the last day with the Oxford school; a celebration event with the kids running activities for other pupils and parents. They were terrific, and at the end just about the whole class gave me a hug. Aah. I’ll miss them. On the way home I saw something I love – blue fields. I don’t know if it’s linseed or borage, but you don’t see them all that often, and there they were, shimmering like water in the sunshine.

So, all I have to do over the next few days is workshops and prep for the few days after that, and by this time next week I’ll be relaxed. The end is in sight. Of course, all that means is that I’ll start getting worried about where my next bit of work is coming from, but I still don’t have time to think about that yet.

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