Up in the trees

It’s almost been a routine week, but the weekend sent things up in the trees – and down to the ground again.

On Monday, I did admin – paid lots of invoices for Poetry on Loan, postponed the meeting we were going to have on Friday, prepared some of my own invoices, and handled a whole lot of emails. And on Tuesday I finally got round to writing the minutes for the last TADS meeting, did lots of prep for the prison, and prepared a mail-merged letter to go out to people who have poems in the book I’ve made for the hospital Oncology Unit. I was going to do this earlier, but had to wait while they checked on which ones are still alive; I really don’t want to send out a letter to some relatives who might be upset by it all. I printed out all the letters and the labels to go with them, after a few printer problems – well, printer operator problems, really.

In the evening I went to see Snow White. It didn’t make any sense at all, of course, but was well done. I would really like to see a film soon that isn’t complete twaddle (so no, I’m not planning to see Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter).

Wednesday was at home again. I checked the proofs of the Poetry on Loan posters, which should be winging their way to libraries in the West Midlands as I type. They’re not Olympic posters, of course; goodness me no! We wouldn’t dream of infringing the ludicrous copyright restrictions, and stepping on the toes of all the worthy sponsors (and who is the biggest sponsor of the London Olympics? The British people, of course; we should have more right to use all the banned words than anyone else, in my view!) Anyway, the posters have newly-commissioned poems on the theme of Games we can all play, and each one is based around one of the Olympic ring colours, and they will be in the libraries in time for the games, but they are definitely not Olympic posters. I hope that’s clear.

Where was I? Oh yes, Wednesday. It was the anniversary of my husband Pete’s death. In previous years, when I haven’t been on holiday on this date, I’ve taken a bunch of freesias, his favourite flowers, to the site of the caravan where he used to live, near where his ashes were scattered, and left them there, stuck in a plastic bottle. Just the sort of thing he would have liked. I haven’t done this for the last two years, and this year I went to find that there was no access to the track to the caravan field – it was a paddock, with horses in one area and play equipment in another. I left the flowers under a tree. I hope the residents are slightly bewildered and a bit pleased. I came home and mowed the grass, did some more prison prep, and went toGloucesterfor a stint on front of house duty for the GTA One Act Play Festival. This was rather boring because, for health and safety reasons, we are not allowed to go into the auditorium and watch the plays. I know.

Thursday was the prison, and a visit from my boss at the Writers in Prison Network, so I had to get up and leave even earlier than usual. The guys in the group worked really well; our steering group meeting was fine, so generally a good day. In the evening I went intoBirmingham( I really don’t like driving inBirmingham) for a pleasant meal with other poet coaches and poet shadows from the Shake the Dust project. I did the prison write-up when I got home, but I was a bit tired.

Friday was the hospital, where I met a lovely lady with a poetic turn of phrase, which made her poem easy to do. I did my accounts and the hospital write-up, and then in the evening went to see a play which I have to adjudicate.

And on Saturday it was time for my birthday treat from The Bloke. We drove (well, he drove) to Hunstanton, in North Norfolk, and stayed in a rather lovely B&B, with views of the very windswept beach – lots of kite surfers doing their stuff, which I always think looks like fun. I went for a little paddle. The next day we went to Extreeme, which is a higher and harder version of Go Ape – zip wires, unstable walkways between trees, and so on. I really enjoyed it, although some of it was very strenuous. However, one of the features was a giant swing – you are strapped to a heavy metal bar, winched up high into the trees, and let go. The combined weight of me, The Bloke and the bar meant that the first drop was  a terrific lurch. Now, I’m not good with this sort of thing. I immediately felt queasy, and when the whole course was finished I was violently and comprehensively sick. It wasn’t a good ending, really; I felt ill for the whole of the rest of the day, but I’m fine now – and the rest of the course was excellent; it was great being up high in the trees.

And now I’m back down to earth, with lots of prep to do and a busy week ahead…

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