Soon I’ll be having a two-minute silence, on my own, during which I’ll remember the courage of those who died in wars. And then I’ll remember the colossal stupidity of most of the first world war, and a lot of the more recent ones. I’m not at all sure of the value of remembering things, anyway. If the idea is that by remembering the horrors of previous wars we are less likely to engage in more, it has clearly failed. If we could all forget history – all the past enmities and ill-feeling – and just start from scratch, as things are now, then I can’t help thinking the world would be a better place.

Anyway, that’s just me. It hasn’t been a bad week, really. Monday was prep, dentist, shopping, and in the evening the Bristol Acoustic night to hear Tony Walsh, a brilliant poet and performer – although I would have liked to hear some newer material. We all do it, though – if you’re going to a new place, you tend to perform the old favourites that you know will go down well. He was as good as ever.

On Tuesday I did a session at the hospital – very interesting talk with a woman who was there with her daughter, telling me about the special moments they had shared since the diagnosis. I bought a new rose bush on the way home and planted it, with great care; its predecessor lasted for 30 years and it would be good if this one does, too. I typed up a new poem I had written over the weekend, and did some more prep, and in the evening saw Captain Phillips  a good movie but a little bit too long.

On Wednesday I did some Poetry on Loan stuff, and finally got round to doing a big backup; I can rest easy in my bed now that my files are all safe. I worked with the GP group in the afternoon. They are so good; I really look forward to these sessions. In the evening the TADS meeting agreed that I should go ahead and direct Quartet, a funny and poignant play, all with one set (which makes it much easier for a small amateur group like ours). It’s all a bit scary, though, after all the problems TADS have been through.

On Thursday I put a load of stuff on eBay – another step in the clearout process – and did some more prep and wrote the TADS meeting minutes, and went to the hospital. This wasn’t so good. I spent ages trying to find anyone to work with, and when I did, the chap went into his appointment without leaving me any contact details. I have a nice poem for him, but don’t know how to get hold of him.

I went straight from the hospital to the prison, for my poetry group. It was excellent – five men, which doesn’t sound like many, but is a lot for a group in an open prison. We had some really interesting discussion about Poe and Blake, and they wrote some good stuff. Next time they want to do war poetry – which of course we should have done this time, if I’d thought it through properly. I wrote up all the prison and hospital stuff when I got home.

Emails, emails, emails – loads of them to handle on Friday; and then an Artlift artists’ meeting. These are always good, and we come away full of enthusiasm for this project we have all been involved in for years now. I revised the new poem (Buffalo Bridge), and did some more prep, and went to see Alan Davies in the evening. I like Alan Davies; he’s always good on TV programmes such as QI; but I think now that most comedians have a formula for their shows, and I’d like to see a totally new idea. I’ll be going to two more comedy shows in the next few weeks so perhaps I will.

I didn’t do much on Saturday – some light shopping, and I finished off the adult literacy poem book – it’s just waiting for its back cover now and it can go to print.

On Sunday we went to Westonbirt Arboretum; lots of trees, some of them still in amazing autumn colours, but the wood was strangely lifeless – no sign of squirrels or rabbits or hedgehogs, and hardly any birds. We saw two crows, and that was all. Perhaps it’s more lively in the summer, a bit like me.

And now it’s time for silence.


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