Gardening leave

It’s almost as if I’ve been on holiday this week, what with the sunshine an’ all, and how would I choose to spend a holiday? Well, gardening, obviously; an activity guaranteed to leave me feeling frustrated, angry, useless, ignorant and a lot of other negatives. But – the sun shone; the garden looked dreadful – so out I went. I cleared the front garden and part of the back and planted quite a lot of plants and mowed and weedkilled and fed the lawn (yum!), and had a bonfire, which was definitely one of my better ones. And I found a family of slow worms in one of my four compost bins, which was rather lovely; of course, I left that compost bin alone.

So – my garden still looks like a jungle, but one where a very lazy tribe has at least made an effort.

In between bouts in the garden (where, incidentally, I was bitten all over by insects. Not all over the garden, obviously; all over me), I finished writing up my last session with the GP group, prepared for the prison, wrapped The Daughter’s birthday presents, and found that I have mice upstairs – this is something new; they’ve only been downstairs before. And I did a huge load of ironing, and had a breast x-ray. That was on Monday.

On Tuesday the wonderful Matt Harvey came to my prison to read some poetry to the guys. He was great. The men were a little bit quiet at first, but when they got the hang of his very restrained humour, they really enjoyed it all. And then I had a long interview with our No. 1 Governor for the newsletter.

In the evening I went to see Ice Age 4. As the critics have said, it’s a bit of a disappointment, with nothing really new to say, but still there were some nice touches.

Wednesday included (as well as the obligatory gardening) the prison writeup, prep for a Poetry on Loan meeting, writing an adjudication report, and creating a set of letters to be sent to relatives of people who have died. This is for the hospital book; I’m pretty sure that if someone who has died has a poem included in the book, their relatives would want to know. It just needed some careful phrasing, and lots of checks to make sure that the right people got the right letters.

On Thursday (ditto ditto gardening) I had a long call with the excellent and totally sane Jonathan Davidson and answered emails. In fact I spent almost all of Thursday gardening, although I did have a short run as well. I say run, but it was more of a brisk walk with joggy bits….

…which was repeated on Friday. After doing my accounts I drove to Birmingham where I met The Daughter for lunch and to give her her birthday presents. That was fun; she liked everything. The Poetry on Loan meeting in the afternoon was ok, and in the evening I finished another adjudication before watching most of the Olympics opening ceremony. What did you think? I thought it was very British in its bonkersness, but a bit lacking in cohesion; loved the cauldron at the end, though.

And I was tired by the weekend, so spent a very lazy couple of days – although I did sort out the GTA Full Length Play Competition award winners, and started getting together a book of pieces from the other GP surgery group.

And today I’ve been on a pilot course. Not learning to fly, unfortunately; just a tryout for a course that will be run by an organisation I work with sometimes, in Bristol.

My gardening leave is over, and it’s back to work again tomorrow. Shame. Do you know, I actually quite enjoyed it?

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