I spend a lot of my time preparing for things. I know there are some people who do the same sort of work as I do who just wing it, and go to sessions with little or no preparation, but I can, or won’t, do this. For one thing, I’m scared of having no ideas when I get to a session; but also I think it’s an insult to the people I’m working with. Anyway, this week I’ve spent even more time than usual on prep, or so it seems.

On Monday I had password problems for various things, but got them all sorted out eventually. I handled emails and checked poster proofs, I spoke to the poets whose events I’ll be managing at the Ledbury Poetry Festival (coming soon! Don’t miss it!), and I finished (so I thought) the programme for the GTA one act play festival. In the evening there was a TADS meeting, which was a rather difficult one, and I haven’t written the minutes up yet – that’s on the list for today.

I also heard that one of the young women from myBirminghamschool group won’t be able to go to the national Shake the Dust finals, which is a real blow. Various steps have been taken to try and help her to come, and I have yet to find out what’s happened. I do hope she will be able to come – it would be such a shame if she missed out on this fantastic opportunity. The programme of activities for the young people is terrific.

On Tuesday I prepared for my young people’s writing groups, and did loads of prep for the prison. I did some prep for a Poetry on Loan meeting (which will have to be cancelled because few people can make it), and in the evening went to see Men in Black 3, which was good fun but not what you would call challenging.

On Wednesday morning I worked in the hospital. I meet such wonderful people there, who are coping with all sorts of difficulties, and it always bucks me up. I mowed the grass – first dry day for ages – and met the woman who owns my cat. That sounds strange. One of the cats from next-door-but-one started coming to my house, using the cat flap as if she owned the place. I didn’t encourage her, but now she has adopted me, and her original owner and I agreed that we might as well accept the situation, so she is now my cat. Welcome Tippett. I handled a lot of emails and went to a Ledbury Poetry Festival meeting; everything is going well, it seems, for the Festival. I wrote up the hospital stuff and did some more prison prep.

And on Thursday I went to the prison, and had one of the best group sessions ever – the prep obviously paid off! Unfortunately, the Writer in Prison Network people are coming to visit next  week; it’s a shame they weren’t there for this session. I put up posters for our forthcoming events all over the prison, and everyone was friendly and helpful – a good day, especially as one of the officers, when he realised how old I am, said that I wasn’t bad for my age! In the evening I wrote up the prison stuff, and yet again worked on the GTA programme. Now it really is finished. I hope.

On Friday I should have been going gliding with The Bloke (his birthday present) but it was cancelled because of the weather, which meant I could catch up with a lot of emails. The Son came home for a little while, which was nice. And on Saturday I ran my three young people’s writing groups inHereford. They are great! I always enjoy these sessions a lot, although it’s quite hard work running three in a day. Not real hard work, obviously, like proper people do, but it takes a lot of concentration.

And on Sunday I went shopping. No prep, no concentration, just ordinary retail therapy. And now – more prep!

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