Festival time

It’s the Ledbury Poetry Festival! On now! Go along! I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to spend much time there this year, but I do have a good reason. And I was there on Friday and Saturday, and I’ll be there again tomorrow…

But what about the rest of the week?

Monday was the usual prep day – for the school inBirminghamand the GP surgery group – but it included a  trip to the hospital, and work with a lovely woman who has been in there for six weeks. I did a bit of practice for a gig, and wrote some of the adjudication for the play I saw the previous Friday.

Tuesday was spent at the school in Birmingham, with my terrific group of kids. They worked fantastically hard and with great creativity to improve their poems, which were already good. In the evening I saw Red Lights with The Bloke. I wanted to see a film that wasn’t 100% twaddle; this was ok, with only a bit of twaddle at the end.

I wasted a lot of time on Wednesday going through emails that had been accidentally deleted, checking to see which ones I needed to keep. I have a strong feeling that my cat was responsible for this. I had left her alone in the office, and she has a habit of walking over the keyboard… Apart from that I did lots of prison stuff, and managed a bit of gardening before going to Ledbury for the last Trustees’ meeting before the start of the Festival – and then swiftly on to see Dave Gorman in Cheltenham. He was funny, although he went on a bit too long, but his support act, a guy called Jay Foreman, was very good too.

The guys in my prison writing group excelled themselves on Thursday, and in fact it was a good day all round; I got a lot done (not always easy in a prison). In the evening I was part of a lovely little music and poetry event in a pub in Ledbury. There were only four people there when I arrived (much too early, of course) but the room filled up and everyone seemed to have a good time. But oh, I was tired.

On Friday I had the usual mound of emails to catch up with  in the morning. My GP surgery group continued to produce amazing work in the afternoon, and I left to dash to Ledbury for the Festival launch (did I mention the Ledbury Poetry Festival?) – but I couldn’t stay and hear the delectable Owen Sheers give his reading, because I was due back in Tewkesbury for an ArtLift event, designed to give medical staff and others more understanding of what ArtLift is about. More emails and the GP group writeup, before I fell asleep.

In the mornings during the Ledbury Poetry Festival we have a meeting for all the managers of events to be held that day, so no lie-in for me on Saturday. I came home to do my end of month accounts and reports and do more work on the adjudication, and then scooted back to Ledbury (by now my car knows the way on its own) for my event, with Sean O’Brien andKatharineTowers. It’s a great treat when you really enjoy an event you’re managing; this was one of those occasions.

I like to keep Sundays free for time with The Bloke. This Sunday we decided to go to Chipping Norton. I spent some time working with a writing group there, but had never really explored it, and it looked interesting from the High Street. It was cold and grey and windy; the locals’ claim that there are no higher points between them and the Urals (or is it the Steppes?) seemed well-founded. But Chipping Norton was closed, pretty much. There was less to it than meets the eye; it had hidden shallows. We came home. I finished my adjudication and did some prison typing.

Today I’ve had my last visit to theBirminghamschool; we’ve been working on the performance of their poems. Next weekend they will be appearing inLondonin the National Final of the Shake the Dust National Youth Team Slam competition, and I’ll be going with them. It might not be Ledbury, but it’s a festival to show what young people can do, and it will be amazing. I’m sorry to miss so much of Ledbury – but I wouldn’t miss seeing my kids perform for anything.

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