The end of summer

Bit of a depressing title, and let’s face it, the end of summer is always a bit of a downer for me. I know there are those who love autumn, but I’m not one of them – ok, you get rid of all that green stuff and see some decent colours in the trees, but it’s accompanied by dankness. Yuk.

So, all through the week I have been knocking pears out of my tree and putting them out at the front of my house for people to help themselves. I’ve noticed that nobody will take the last bag of pears in the box; how very polite! But I wish they would. Now the box has a couple of inches of water in it, and the last bag of pears will just moulder, so I’ll have to take them down to the compost bin.

My next door neighbours are kind enough to trim my big conifers for me (I think that T, the man next door, believes that I would injure myself if I use my hedge trimmer. He’s probably right), and they had left a big pile of trimmings on my bonfire circle. After doing lots of prep and bits and pieces on Monday, I lit the bonfire…and it carried on smouldering for two days, long enough for me to trim the vicious rambling rose and add those bits in. It finally stopped burning later in the week … but today I see that there’s an even bigger pile of hedge trimmings back in my fire circle. Now, of course, they are too wet to burn, so they’ll probably stay there until the spring.

The next day I went to the hospital and worked with two people; one of these sessions went well, the other not so well, I think. The Son came home for a little while, which is always nice, and we had a recce up in two of the lofts (yes, we are a four-loft family) with a view to some rearrangement. In the evening I saw The way, way back,  which was a pleasant enough movie.

On Wednesday I ran a session with a group in Ross-on-Wye. They are an amazing group, really; I did five sessions with them in 2010, and they have continued meeting ever since. Funders always worry about the sustainability of projects, and this group shows what can be done, as long as someone in the group takes it upon him or herself to do a little bit of co-ordination. Without that, though, they struggle to keep going. This group have all become good friends. In the evening I did some proofreading – poetry postcards and a book for my Tewkesbury GP group.

On Thursday – oh dear, there was no-one for me to work with again at the probation hostel. It should be ok this week, because they know they will have at least one person who is keen on poetry. So I sanded down my front gate (I’d filled it the day before) and coated it with woodstain. Should be ok for the winter now. And in the afternoon, I went to the hospital again. I nearly didn’t – the sun was shining and I was tempted to get my sun lounger out and just soak up the sun for a while – something I haven’t done at all this year – but my sense of duty got the better of me. Which turned out to be a good thing; I worked with a woman who was in one of the wards, and she was so, so pleased with her poem – it was touching. I mowed both lawns and finally got round to dealing with all my emails, and did some prep and wrote up the hospital stuff and put all the things back in the kitchen cupboards – they had all had to be cleared when the new boiler was fitted.

Friday was good; I ran a taster session at the hospice, just to warm people up to the idea of coming to the poetry sessions I’ll be running there for the next few weeks. We had 12 people! Plus four helpers. And they really got into the spirit of it. Excellent!

I did some more gardening and some Poetry on Loan stuff, and sorted out some more cupboards – yet more stuff to go to the charity shop.

On Saturday I had a look at the mail that has built up. The first surprise was my car insurance; the premium is lower than last year! How can this be? Will I be considered safer and safer each year, not that I’m getting older? But this was made up for by the Npower statement. Npower haven’t been bad, but this time, they’ve just gone crazy. They have carefully worked out how much I’m likely to spend on gas and electricity this year, and then decided that the monthly direct debit should cover this amount – plus half as much again! I phoned to complain, and they will leave the direct debit as it is. But how can they begin to justify this? The lady I spoke to on the phone certainly couldn’t.

And on Sunday I went up in a helicopter. This was just a pleasure flight, lasting only about 6 minutes. It was fun, but the strange thing was that it was exactly how I imagined it would be, so no surprises at all.

And something sad happened at the end of the week; nothing disastrous, just one of those things that leaves you with a little smoulder, like a slow-burning fire, or like the feeling that it’s the end of summer.

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