Cheese straws and family values

It’s been a family day today – but I’ll come to that later. The rest of the week has been pretty much all hard work. On Monday, I wrote up my hospital session from last week, prepared for a war poets session at the prison, and finished, at last, the book of pieces by my GP surgery group. The book took me 5 hours, and I was really glad to get it done. It’s an interesting mix of pieces. And then I wrote up my last session with the oncology nurses.

I spent most of Tuesday answering emails; so many emails; and spent 3.5 hours putting together the prison newsletter. It’s still not finished, but it should be this week. I hope. I did some ironing and sewing later.

On Wednesday, I did quite a bit of Poetry on Loan stuff – answering emails, sorting out poets for gigs, etc. I prepared for my GP surgery sessions, and wrote the adjudication for Richard III; yet another job that took me several hours. I spent some time at the hospital, with a  really chatty bloke, and bought some last-minute presents for The Daughter’s birthday. And mowed the big lawn.

By now, I was a bit fed up with working from the moment I woke up until late. Why do I do this? Several reasons: it needs to be done; I have commitments that I have to keep. But why do I get myself into this position in the first place? Partly it’s insecurity – the fear of having no work and no money. But partly it’s because that’s how I was brought up – to work hard. My brother’s the same, and now my kids are a bit like it too – both bad at taking time off. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a strong work ethic, but I think you can take it a bit too far. When I say, you, I mean me, obviously.

Anyway, Thursday was the prison. Almost every week, I don’t feel like going into the prison; almost every week, when I’m there I love it – this week was no exception. The members of my group work so hard, and the newsletter team put so much effort into it – it makes up for any difficulties encountered in getting things done. In the evening I started the Guys and Dolls adjudication, but I was really tired…

…so I finished it on Friday, and dealt with all the outstanding emails, and rehearsed the play with my GP surgery group, and did my accounting. In the evening I went to see The Bloke, and on Saturday we went to see the Harry Potter film, which was – well, it was a Harry Potter film, with a satisfactory ending. I typed up some of my new play, too. I’d really like to get this finished before the next TADS meeting, but I’m going to struggle a bit with that.

And today, it was off to see my mum, with The Son and The Daughter. Being with them is always a delight, and my mum was very pleased to see us, but an accident on the M6 meant it was a long trip home, and poor The Son, who had done all the driving, was pretty tired. But we were all glad we did it; it was the right thing to do, and sometimes families come first. Especially when they make excellent cheese straws, like my mum does. Nothing brings a family together better than good cheese straws.

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