Bad start

Oh dear! I’ve only just realised that I didn’t write this blog last week. How did that happen? I guess it was the disruption of days caused by the holiday. So, sorry, readers! I’ll try harder from now on.

A very quick round up of the week before last: I wrote Poetry on Loan meeting minutes, TADS minutes, applied for some work, worked on two books for the prison, wrote up interviews for the prison newsletter, prepared a contract for my hospital work, did some prison prep, spent a day at the prison, answered loads of emails, did my end-of-month accounting.

New Year’s Day was probably the laziest day I have ever had, and I felt thoroughly guilty abut it the next day (do other people feel guilty when they have a day off?). I did quite a lot on Tuesday – finished the book of writing from my GP surgery group, did a lot of prep for the prison, and went to a rehearsal of The Threepenny Opera, which is to be TADS’ next big production. We have a good director and an excellent cast, but really, I don’t like the play at all. Every character is just in it for themselves, and this doesn’t accord at all with all the people I meet, who are mostly, kind, resourceful and good-humoured. What’s more, our director wants to bring out the dark side to the full. Oh dear.  I’m sure that most of the people she knows aren’t like this, either.

The next day I went to visit a care home in Bristol, as part of a project I’m working on – an arts-based consultation about art in a new care home. As always, I was amazed at the smiling faces and resilience of the staff in care homes. I don’t think I could do what they do, day after day. I worked a bit more on the prison book, which will be called Around the world in 80 pages  – lots of writing about, well, obviously, places, together with drawings done by prisoners and staff. One of the officers wrote a really interesting piece about the prison where he started work, but he won’t let me put it in the book. Although prison officers are big, strong guys, they are very frightened about making themselves public by writing. Shame!

Thursday was the prison, with my group excelling themselves as always. We were talking about what you need to be happy; a rather interesting discussion. After writing up my notes in the evening, I spend ages researching holidays. I like to book my annual holiday early, so that I have several months’ pleasure in anticipating it.

On Friday the Christmas decorations came down, and everything looks dull again. But I had a good meeting with the lovely Kim, about our arts-based consultations. And something unexpected happened. I gave The Son a car radio for Christmas, and knew he would need to keep the receipt to get the half-price fitting service. I put the receipt carefully in the bag the radio came in – not how I usually keep receipts – which was then, without my realising it, used to put the crumpled wrapping paper in, and thrown in the bin. I went to Halfords to ask for a copy receipt, expecting this to be an arduous process that would take half an hour, but no! In less than 5 minutes I had the necessary piece of paper in my hand. Well done, Halfords.

I wrote up notes from the meeting, had a long phone call with The Son, polished off lots of little jobs, and spent yet more time on the prison book.

The weekend was quite relaxed, but I did get the holiday booked! Hooray.

But I also spent some time on my next book – a collection of the poems I’ve written with cancer patients in the Oncology Unit. This was really rather sad. As I read through the poems, I could remember many of the patients quite clearly. Nearly all were brave and cheerful; most have done well with treatment; but of course some of them have died. I was a bit tearful, and had to put it away for a while.

Today I’ve been working with dementia patients, and then had to drive hotfoot (if that’s possible) to Birmingham for a meeting with other people who run writing groups for young people. And tomorrow I’ll be off to the hospital again.

Ok, it was a bad start missing last week’s blog, but in the last two weeks I’ve been working with on projects concerning prisoners, dementia patients and care home staff, young people, GP surgery patients, library staff and poets, and amateur drama. My job’s not bad, by any standards.


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