Holiday over

No blog last week – I was away on holiday inCrete! It was a lovely holiday, with lots of sunshine and lazing around (not something I’m usually very good at). I spoke loads of Greek! They are delighted when you try to speak their language; they recognise that it’s quite difficult to learn and really appreciate the fact that someone has made an effort. I even made a joke in Greek! Also, I revised one play and wrote the first draft of another one, so it wasn’t all idleness. And I had to make a phone call about something rather unpleasant that had happened on one of my projects – someone acting in an appallingly unprofessional manner – which was a bit of a worry.

I arrived home at about 5 am on Wednesday, and had an hour’s sleep. I had to catch a train at 8:12 for a Writers in Prison Network conference inSheffield. I got everything ready before I had my little sleep, and was about to leave – but my car wouldn’t start. AA to the rescue! All that was wrong was that just before I left for holiday I had moved my car to make room on the drive for my daughter’s car; the AA man said I had flooded the engine doing this, and he told me how to avoid it happening again in future. I caught the next train and was only an hour late for the conference. Somehow I managed to stay awake for the whole day (and these conferences are well worth staying awake for). In the evening I spent quite a bit of time trying to sort out the problem that had arisen while I was away.

On Thursday I unpacked a bit, did some prep for my GP surgery group, did some Poetry on Loan work, spent some time on the programmes for the One Act Play Festival, and started tackling the email mountain. I hardly reached the lowest slopes.

On Friday I spent a long time trying to get through to the Inland Revenue – I was worried that I might owe them some money. Their website is really good, but their phone service rather less so. The assault on the emails continued – some good and some bad. I have been accepted for a South West organisation looking for a team of people to work on forthcoming project, which was really good news. And I ran my GP group – terrific as always. I felt a bit down, though; I think the lack of sleep was catching up with me, together with the bad weather. But I did finally reach the email mountain summit – hooray!

But Saturday – oh, Saturday! This was the West Midlands regional final for the Shake the Dust project – I’ve been working with a group of teenagers in aBirminghamschool to write and perform poems, and on Saturday they were competing against the other schools. It was a whole-day thing, with workshops for the kids and opportunities for them all to get together, with the performances at the end. Now, we have had rather a lot of problems with my school’s part of the project, but the kids have taken it all in their stride and stayed focused – and they are great fun to be with, too. They did their poems magnificently – and won! This means that we will go on to the national finals inLondon. I was so, so proud of them.

And yesterday I rested a bit; some light shopping, and a trip to see Prometheus, with The Bloke. The special effects were good, but the plot had huge holes in it. The Bloke was very tolerant about the fact that I couldn’t stop talking about the previous day’s success.

And now I have a huge list of jobs to do. The holiday is well and truly over. The one good thing about the rain is that I’m not tempted to go outside and do some gardening…

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