…or so they say. I had to phone a pension company on Monday to make an enquiry about my tiny pension. I was kept on hold for 57 minutes. 57 minutes! Actually, I was cut off automatically after 30 minutes, but I rang again immediately. After 50 minutes or so I started leaving comments on the company’s Facebook page. Eventually the phone was answered by a man with the best name I have ever come across – his first name was perfectly ordinary, but his surname was Chrzaszcz. How could I stay cross? And he was friendly and very helpful, and sorted out my problem. It was worth the wait just for this amazing name.
It was a desk day on Monday – emails; editing a newsletter; finishing off and sending the minutes of the Poetry on Loan meeting; prep for the prison poetry group. But I also managed to do some practice for a slam, clear part of a bookshelf (yes, the office clearing goes on and on), and even wash my car.
On Tuesday I worked at the hospital – uplifting as usual, and did the writeup. In the evening I went to see Inside Llewyn Davies, which was a good film; a little strange, as you would expect from the Coen brothers, but it included some excellent cats.
There were loads more emails to deal with on Wednesday, and then prep for a workshop I ran this morning. And more emails. In the afternoon I was with my GP surgery group again; they are getting better and better. I wrote all that up, and then wrote a poem – quite a serious one – and practised, and made some changes to a long poem for a competition, and wrote two more in my Gloucestershire Poet Laureate series. I don’t know what got into me!
By Thursday I just had to do a bit of tidying; I vacuumed the office carpet, and wow, it looks good. I did my weekly accounts and practised some more for the slam, and updated the Poetry on Loan website. In the evening I ran my prison poetry group. The prison work comes to an end in April (funding runs out), and it’s such a shame because we have recently recruited some new people to the group and they are doing well. I’m trying to get something sorted so that the work can continue, but nothing seems to be happening. More waiting. And in fact when I phoned about another bit of work I’ve been promised I was told that all I could do at present was hurry up and wait…
More website updates on Friday, and a bit of gardening. It does me good to get rid of the dead stuff the confronts me every time I come home. In the afternoon I went to an Artlift meeting, which was, for various reasons, quite intense. I did a bit more Poetry on Loan work while I was waiting for The Son to come home. He’s always good fun. This time he asked me to do him a little favour and shorten some trousers. “Yes, of course,” I replied. He presented me with five pairs. Oh well … I’ve done four of them so far. I’m not the world’s greatest sewer (no, not that kind of sewer – I mean the kind who sews things), but I can manage, and the trousers looked much better when I’d finished, so that was worthwhile. He gave me a rather lovely stuffed Mr. Bump to say thank you; I need to find somewhere special to put him (Mr. Bump, that is, not The Son).
And on Saturday – well, on Saturday was the slam I had been practising for during the week – the Love Slam in Wolverhampton; I put my name down for this slam ages ago. In the first round we had to do poems on the theme of love, and I had a fairly new one that I wanted to do, although I was sure that I wouldn’t get through the first round with it – and when my name was pulled out of the hat first, I knew I would have no chance (the first poet to perform is always at a disadvantage – cold audience, etc.). But I won my heat. And then I won the semi-final. And then I won the final, with a score of 280! Wow! It was a really good field, too; I thought I had no chance, but somehow everything went well. I’m sure the practising helps a lot.
No time to rest on my laurels though (as if) – on Sunday I was off to Solihull to help The Daughter move house. It all went quite well, although she kept trying to protect me from trying to lift anything heavy. She gave me a box of chocolates to say thank you, and I also came away with a new office chair – she had planned to throw it out, but it’s better than the one I’m sitting on now.
And this morning I’ve been working with a group of carers and patients at a hospice. I had expected a group of 8 or 9, but there were loads of them, which made it a bit difficult to engage with everyone, but I think it went ok.
So, waiting over for this week – for slams, or people to answer the phone. Now I have the most enormous pile of emails lurking, and lots of prep and other work to do. Waiting doing nothing would be quite nice.