I’ve always thought that’s a lovely description to have applied to you – He looked rather dashing this evening… Unfortunately, it’s what I’ve been in the moving around sense, which is why there was no blog last week.

Just to catch up, then – the week before last included replying to loads of emails, standing on the roof painting the window frame of my bedroom, lots of prison stuff, a session with the Ross group that I started ages ago, a day at the prison, end-of-month accounting, and a twisted ankle. And a big tax rebate (which is very fortunate and will help a bit with the lack of additional income expected from the prison). And 14 Koestler awards for my prison writers – the Koestler awards are given for all sorts of artistic endeavours, but are open only to prisoners or people on probation. We had 12 Koestlers last year, so 14 is an improvement – and they included a platinum and a gold! Lots of my good writers have left now, though, so we’ll never hit that number next year, and the prison will be expecting another increase…

Anyway, on Sunday 2nd I started dashing. I drove to a converted farm west of Welshpool, which is where the Writer in Prison Network have their annual conferences, and where, on Monday morning, I ran a session for the newbie writers as part of their training course. I stayed at the farm on Monday afternoon, and finished typing up my latest play, Best before, and did some prep for the GTA awards evening and for …

…Tuesday, when I was in Stafford helping to choose their Poet Laureate. This was really interesting, and not easy; five men (yes, all men) all with different things to offer, and all keen to have the job. I came home with just enough time to answer some urgent emails and write the TADS minutes, and on Wednesday took The Bloke gliding, at an airfield near Bicester – he had never been gliding before and it was a late birthday present. I had been gliding before, in the late 90s, and I remembered that it consists largely of standing around waiting. It hasn’t changed – but he really enjoyed it, and I actually managed to take some decent film.

On Wednesday evening it was back to the farmhouse, ready for the prison writers’ conference the next day. These conferences are always useful and good fun; in the evening we all perform something, and I did a new poem with a beatbox backing. Yes. Not me at all, is it? It went down a storm, though.

On Friday I came home, and went up on the roof again to finish my dormer. Gosh, it was difficult! I don’t really want to do it again, ever. And I mowed, and spent some time preparing my gate and fence for painting, and answered some emails, and found a tiny dead mouse, looking perfectly alive, on the carpet. Aah.

Over the weekend I’ve been doing some Gloucestershire work – to the Newent Onion Fayre (yes, that is how they spell it), and the Tewkesbury Heritage Weekend… I’ve written a couple of Gloucestershire poems, now, but I have no idea if, where or when they might be displayed…

And today I was in Birmingham for a meeting of people running young people’s writing squads.

Tomorrow I have no dashing to do, which is just as well, because I really, really need to catch up on the admin. And the decorating. And the housework. And the prison prep…

Oh dear. Must dash!

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