Shopped out

Workshops and shopping – that’s been this week. It started with the workshop on Monday in Birmingham, followed in the afternoon by a workshop with my follow-on group in Tewkesbury. Both were on life writing, so I found myself doing the same things twice. In the evening I did writeups and invoices.

I should have had a workshop on Tuesday morning in Birmingham, but the one participant I had had last time didn’t turn up – she’s a carer, and carers often have difficult lives which mean that they can’t always do what they would like. Not only that, but the centre where it was supposed to take place had no record of the room booking, and it was all a bit of a muddle. However, while I was waiting around there I did write a poem. I stayed for about an hour and then came home, and delivered my local Christmas cards. Just for a bit of fun, I moved my sheep to their winter pasture. I have four pottery sheep. They lived on the patio for a while, so that I could see them when I was laid up after my accident, and lying on the sofa. Now, though, I’ll see them more often on the back lawn, so that’s where they are. It always makes me smile to see them.

I did some prep for the prison, and edited a newsletter. This is written by an enthusiastic and well-meaning chap whose grasp of grammar, punctuation, spelling and indeed writing at all is close to non-existent. I couldn’t bear reading the newsletters as they were so I volunteered to edit them for him – which is fine, except that they are very long, and it takes quite a while. I dealt with loads of emails, and went to see The Hobbit – the desolation of Smaug. It was in 3D, and quite draining, because I jump at anything slightly exciting or dangerous. At one point I found myself jumping at some mist. I was worn out by the end.

On Wednesday I wrote the report for the Birmingham work, and ran my GP surgery group workshop; it was excellent. They really are doing well. And I heard some very distressing news about a friend; some people will be having a terrible Christmas this year.

Time for the Big Christmas Shop – all the things I don’t normally buy, which means a trolley full and a huge bill at the end. Never mind. I marzipanned the Christmas cakes and made some pastry.

On Thursday I tidied a bit, put Christmas cards up, handled the mail, went for a swim, decorated the tree, and went to prison. I had been asked to judge a poetry competition, and they gave me a box of chocolates and a bunch of flowers to say thank you. Aaah! And the book group meeting included lots of lively discussion – we had been reading The reader, by Bernhard Schlink, which is a very fruitful source of discussion topics. And I wrapped presents.

Friday, and oh, Christmas is getting nearer. I did my accounts, and handled emails, and went out to lunch with my artist colleagues from Artlift, which was fun. Being self-employed you don’t get things like an office Christmas lunch, but we have all known each other for years and it was rather nice to get together like this. And lunch out always feels a bit like playing hooky.

I iced the cakes (two of them), and made a late Christmas present, and wrapped more presents, and did the ironing.

Over the weekend I wrote my annual report for my work at the hospital, and cleaned a bit, and finished a little poem. Today there’s one last little bit of shopping to do, and that’s it – Christmas is coming, and it’s all wrapped up, and I’ll be shopped out.

Oh, one last thing – happy Christmas!

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