Phew, or Old friends

Tuesday wasn’t too bad – loads of emails, and writeups, and prep, and a session at the hospital; two lovely people who were wonderful to meet. In the evening I was MumNav. The Son had left the M4 because it was completely blocked and needed help to find a good way home; his satnav just kept telling him to get back onto the motorway. I’ve missed doing this since he got a satnav, and it was good fun.

Wednesday was my birthday! It was work as normal during the day, although my contact at the probation hostel where I will start working soon gave me cake. In the afternoon I just had one person from my GP group. But in the evening both The Son and The Daughter came to take me out for a meal; it was a lovely evening.

On Thursday I went to Ski Tyres, because I thought I needed new rubber. Good news is that all my tyres are still legal; bad news is that in a couple of months I’ll need to replace all of them. I bumped into an old friend there; I haven’t seen him or his wife for ages, and it was good to catch up. I did my accounts, and tidied, and did some Poetry on Loan stuff, and worked on the book of poems for the group in Ross, and practised for all my weekend gigs. And I tried on some clothes that I hoped I could take on holiday. None of my bikinis fit me. Ok, I realise that this is no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it feels important to me right now. In the evening I went to see The Bloke, who gave me lots of lovely birthday presents.

Hmm. Having called this Phew, it doesn’t seem like much. On Friday I had to get a filling repaired at the dentist. I really enjoy going to the dentist, because he and his assistant are such good fun. On the way to the hospital I did a little light retail, and I now have a new bikini, and a new dress. Hooray! At the hospital it was difficult to find people to work with, as it is occasionally, but eventually I found a lovely lady who spoke with great feeling about how lucky she felt, despite the fact that she has now had cancer four times.

I did my end-of-month accounting, and lots of prep for the weekend gigs, and the hospital writeup.

And then – off to Wychwood Festival! The poetry session was 10 pm to midnight; four poets, so a good long set for each of us. The poor guy who went first had to compete with music from the main stage, which continued for half of my set, but when it stopped the audience grew, and overall it was a really good session. I didn’t get home until about 1 am, and it was difficult to sleep.

On Saturday I did three short slots in Ledbury as a kind of preamble to the Poetry Festival – me and a very good poet called Nick Alexander, and Mike the guitarist. We gradually acquired audiences, although it was such a beautiful day that I’m surprised anyone at all came in to the Shell Gallery, where we were performing. But again I caught up with old friends, which is always a good thing to do, and the poems went down well. Time for a quick cup of tea with The Bloke, and then I took advantage of the good weather to mow the lawns; and then off to Stroud for a slam with a difference – 15 minutes for each poet. It was a good mix of poets (6 of us); some of them weren’t my cup of tea exactly but Ash Dickinson was a worthy winner. Late home again, and an early morning on Sunday, because I had to drive down to Shoreham for the Glastonwick Festival. I have to say I was a bit nervous about this, because it is a punk and beer festival – what would they make of me? But in fact, I had one of the best receptions I have ever had, with lots of people coming up afterwards to say how much they had enjoyed it. I sold 8 books! That was all I had taken with me.

By the time I left I had been sitting for over 8 hours, and the poor bum was really having a hard time. Fortunately I didn’t have to drive home again (it’s more than three hours’ drive) because I stayed overnight with my friends Paul and Ros, who live in Brighton. I haven’t seen them for ages – we think 5 or 6 years. I love Brighton; they live very near the sea and I managed a short walk on the beach. It was really lovely to spend some time with them.

And today I drove home. I wish I could go out and do some gardening in the sunshine, but I must spend time catching up with all the emails, and doing prep for workshops later in the week – and this evening I have a gig in Bristol Five gigs in four days! – which is where the Phew came from. But I’ve loved every minute. I know these poems so well now that they have become old friends.


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