For a few years now, my New Year’s resolution has been to sort my house out. This includes the garden. And this week, I’ve made quite a good start – ok, I know August is a bit late to start on a New Year’s resolution, but it’s better now than December. I’ve still got work to do, of course, but in between I’ve been very busy.

On Monday I finished the book of pieces by the adult literacy group in Hereford, and finished the interior of the book of pieces by the GP surgery group – it’s just waiting for a cover now. And I put 23 items on eBay; anything that doesn’t sell will go to the charity shop. So far I’ve got bids on nine of the items, so I might recover a little bit of money – which I need at the moment. I deleted a lot of old emails, cleaned some windows (and lo, there was light!), typed up the poems I had written over the weekend and did some sewing.

On Tuesday I took my car in for its MOT. It failed, and this is why I need the money, not that eBay will bring me enough – it had to have a new steering fluid pipe and a radiator, and the bill came to £610. Gulp. They couldn’t do it all on Tuesday, so I had to take it back in on Friday. But while I was carless, I gloss painted the kitchen window frames, and painted all the back of the house that I could reach with the ladder in a safe position – yes, I’ve been up on my big ladder again! I was a bit nervous at first, but I was resolved to do this, and by the time I had finished I had a lot of my ladder confidence back. In the evening I went to see Now you see me. This had bad reviews from the critics, but I thought it was one of the better movies.

On Wednesday I tried to sort out my various home care contracts – I have one with British Gas and one with Severn Trent water. This is stupid; it’s costing me money – but waiting for them on the phone is soul-destroying. I’ll get it all sorted once the new boiler has been put in at the end of the month; that, of course, is going to cost a fortune. I did some gardening and had a long session at the hospital. This was amazing. I meet some wonderful people at the oncology unit, and this week I met people who are going through hell and still smiling. I feel humbled by them, and at the same time proud that I can give them someone to talk to, and poems which they sometimes find a tiny bit helpful.

In the evening I did my least favourite job around the house – defrosting the fridge freezer. I sometimes wish the thing would just stop working and then I could get a frost-free one, but I can’t really buy one yet. In between battling with the icy wastes, I did the hospital writeups and dealt with lots of emails.

I was back in the probation hostel on Thursday – the last poetry session. Only two guys attended, but they worked really hard, and were very appreciative. Lots of gardening afterwards, and my accounts, and writeups, and then The Son was here, and he helped me put some stuff up in the loft.

My spare room has for ages been full, and I mean full – you could only just open the door, and you wouldn’t have known there was a bed in there. I spent a lot of time on Thursday and Friday clearing it; it’s still not done, but I do have five bags of stuff to go to the charity shop, and more to go on eBay. Hooray! I’ll get it finished this week. In the evening I did some more sewing.

On Friday I did some prep for the gig at the weekend, and proofread the book I had finished earlier in the week, and corrected it, and ordered all the copies. In the evening I ran a poetry session at a prison; again, lots of hard work; they put the effort in during the sessions, although they are not so good at homework.

More spare room clearing on Saturday, and I put some stuff in the loft on my own, which is much harder than with help. In the afternoon I bought more paint. I use a lot of paint.

And on Sunday it was my last gig of the season. I’ve had lots of gigs this year and it’s been great, but I was expecting this one to be awful. I was at Lakefest, a music festival held just a mile or so from where I live. I was on at 1 pm, in a tent with music acts for the rest of the day. I thought everyone would think “Oh, poetry,” and go off an have lunch, but in fact there were 40 or 50 people who stayed and laughed in the right places, and listened – and five of them bought books. Among the audience was a friend of The Daughter’s; The Daughter has never seen me perform because she says (and I completely understand this) that it would be too embarrassing, so it was nice to have someone who would report back to her. I stayed at the festival for a little while, but I was hurting a bit and left quite early.

And this week – well, I have quite a bit of prep to do, and some things I have to go out for, but I’m resolved to do more gardening and finish the spare room. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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