Overdoing things

People sometimes ask me how I manage to fit in everything I do; I usually say that it’s because I hardly ever watch the television. I think that perhaps this week I overdid things a bit, although it didn’t seem like it at the time; but by the end of the week I wasn’t at all well.

It all started ok. I did some writeups, and prep for a course I was running and for the prison book group, and answered lots of emails, and scarified part of my lawn, and ran my last follow-on group in Tewkesbury. This went really well – we wrote a play in less than two hours! In the evening I ran a rehearsal of Quartet, and for some reason felt really stressed.

On Tuesday I was up early to drive to Birmingham with the lovely Kim; we ran a course for library staff and poets on writing poetry around local themes – architecture, archives, museums, landscapes, etc. Everyone had a great time, and most of them said they had learned a lot. It’s good fun running this course, but I always get a little worried about things like this. In the afternoon there were (of course) emails to answer, and the course evaluation to write up. In the evening I saw Locke,  which was ok but a little unsatisfying.

Before that, though, I mowed the lawn, using the mower to pick up all the stuff that came out when I scarified it. But the handle on the lawnmower broke; this is a long metal rod which allows me to empty the grass box while I am driving it. I mention this only because of what happened the next couple of days. At 9:10 am on Wednesday, I took the handle to Haywards, the shop in Tewkesbury where I bought the mower. They asked me to check the mower’s serial number and phone to tell them what it was so they could get the right part. By the time I got home, and was checking the serial number, a man arrived from Haywards to take away the grass box to get it fixed. At about 10:30 on Thursday morning, they phoned to say that it was fixed and ready, and the man brought back the grass box, with new handle, and put it back on the mower, and then said, “There’ll be no charge.” The mower is 5 years old and well out of its guarantee period. How good is this for service? 26 hours after I took in the broken part, and the whole thing was repaired, for nothing. HAYWARDS! I just want to give them some publicity.

Anyway, back to Wednesday. I did a session at the hospital, which went well; I met a woman who is passionate about Lindy Hop dancing, and discovered to my surprise that Gloucestershire is a hub for jazz / jive / swing dancing. Who knew? I went for a swim, and sent loads of emails, and ordered 20 books for the prison, and did some invoicing and the hospital writeup, then answered more emails – until 11 pm. Oh, and I did my end-of-month accounting, too.

Thursday was a busy day. After an early-morning run, I started on the last piece for the Tewkesbury band project, and did an extra bit for the Poetry on Loan interim report for the Arts Council, and did some stuff for the play. I updated the PoL website, and did some more work on the last band piece – it was a tricky one. I ran my last session at the prison – shame; I’ll miss them – and did a big load of ironing, and finally finished the piece late at night.

On Friday I typed the band piece in and sent them all off; I haven’t heard back yet from any of the people involved, so I don’t know if they’re ok!. I managed to get some music for the play onto my phone so that I can play it at rehearsals, and went to the library. I prepared for the poetry slam I was in on Sunday, and for today’s rehearsal, and wrote a report on all the work I’ve done at the prison. I had a long phone call, too, about some work I’m going to be doing for Age Concern in Birmingham; and I went to the gym. And, yes, emails.

I didn’t feel great on Saturday morning but I went for a run anyway, because it was such a lovely morning. I did a bit of tidying and put weed killer on the drive, and in the afternoon went to see a display of mediaeval stuff in Tewkesbury Abbey. Oh – during the week I went to see the new sculptures at a roundabout just on the edge of Tewkesbury; these commemorate the Battle in 1471, and are terrific – well worth seeing. By the evening my throat was on fire and I felt as if I’d been run over, but on Sunday morning I had to go with other members of TADS to check out the scenery for Quartet – all our scenery is kept in a barn, and it hasn’t been used for a while, but fortunately it’s all looking ok and will be fine with a bit of paint.

In the afternoon The Bloke and I went to Amberley for the cow hunt. This is a highly surreal event held in a beautiful South Gloucestershire village; I’m still not quite sure whether or not I hallucinated the whole thing.

And in the evening I was in the first Kidderminster slam. I knew I shouldn’t have gone, but I had promised I would. I felt awful. I was drawn first out of the hat (which has happened so many, many times that I’m beginning to doubt the laws of probability) but won my heat. Half way through the first round I had to run to the loos to be sick; I thought it would be unfair to throw up right in front of some other poor poet. I kept going into the semi-finals, which were very close, but didn’t get through; Maggie Doyle won, quite rightly. I was sick again, and went home feeling sorry for myself – not the fault of the slam organisers, who did an excellent job. It was nice, anyway, to see some people I know, including Roger, a good poet who came to some workshops I ran in Dudley.

I’ve still got a bad throat but I’m feeling a lot brighter today; I wrote a poem this morning, and this afternoon we went to see some bluebells, and two deer ran across the road in front of us, which was lovely. And I’ve just come back from this week’s rehearsal.

Looking back, it does seem to have been quite a busy week. Perhaps things will be a bit easier this week – although I doubt it, somehow. It’s just doing things, really.

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