Problems

There have been a few problems this week. The Son was here briefly on Monday – that’s not a problem, of course; it’s always nice to see him. But then the light in my office wouldn’t come on, and the Internet wouldn’t work for a while, although it started again after the usual turning off and on routine. I did the final proofreading of the Poetry on Loan leaflets and posters, and did my writeup for the Hereford young writers’ group. Some TADS stuff next: rehearsal prep, minutes of the last meeting and actions arising therefrom. But I was very tired, and had to stop everything and have a sleep. I did some gardening, and handled all the emails up to Saturday. The rehearsal went really well, despite the absence of one actor. He has to walk with a stick in the play, but he had injured his ankle so badly that he couldn’t drive. When I got home, I polished off all the rest of the emails.

On Tuesday I did some prep for my GP surgery group, and phoned the pensions office about deferring my pension, which took rather longer than I had expected. There are no problems with this, except for the fact that it makes me feel old, and worried about starving when I have no income except for my very meagre pension. In the afternoon I went to the hospital and worked with the usual inspiring, wonderful people; one of them actually said I was brave to do this work, without the slightest flicker of self-pity. They are amazing. In the evening I went to see A million ways to die in the west.  This had received rather poor reviews, but it made me chuckle quite a bit, and that’s no mean feat.

On Wednesday I phoned a nearby school that has a huge stock of costumes which they hire out to drama societies at a very reasonable rate. I arranged to go and see them this morning with the TADS costume lady (and that was a great success – we now have all the costumes we need!) I did the hospital writeup and handled emails – but one of them revealed a problem. Poetry on Loan has just launched a West Midlands poetry competition, entries for which must be made through the contact form on our website – and it wasn’t working. I immediately emailed the web builder, and within five minutes it was all ok again. Good service, Dave Gray! I did some practice for the open mic slot I had on Thursday, and worked with my little group in the GP surgery. One of them said at the end, “What a lovely session! We were all tired when we got here, and look at us now!” Result.

I prepared everything for a course I was running on Thursday, wrote a poem, and did some gardening, and wrote up the GP group stuff, and practised a bit more, and did some sewing.

The course in Birmingham on Thursday was terrific – 15 people, some from libraries and some poets, who were all quiet to start with but ended up having a whale of a time and getting some useful ideas. Kim and I really enjoy running this.

I was talking to Kim on the way about the job I had interviewed for. I should have heard about it by now, I said, so I obviously hadn’t got it; by the time I reached home I had convinced myself that I didn’t want it anyway – but there was an email waiting for me to say that I’ve got the work, subject to references. This is excellent news – regular work for 3 years. I went through all the feedback from the course – we do take this seriously, and change the course, if necessary, according to what people say – but it was pretty well all positive. And then it was off to Birmingham again. I wanted to try out two new poems, and the open mic slot at Hit the Ode seemed a good place to do this. I was asked to go on first, and as a reward allowed a little extra time, which meant I could do both poems. I remembered them all, and afterwards several people came up and said how much they liked one of them, but nobody said anything about the other one. Very useful feedback! It was late by the time I got home.

I did a lot on Friday. It was the anniversary of Pete’s death, and I cut a rose from my garden and went down to the river and threw it in; just a little private ceremony. And – I did my weekly accounts, collected a parcel from the post office, finished the course evaluation, prepared some invoices, handled emails, set up a recording system for the competition entries, handled more emails, did some gardening (including reseeding a patch of lawn), picked some blackcurrants, made two long phone calls, and finished handling all the emails. I also looked at all the exterior maintenance and painting needed this year; that was depressing. I typed in some stuff, prepared the blackcurrants for freezing, and then started deleting some old emails; my computer seemed to be running very slowly, and sometimes that helps. And I did the ironing.

But on Saturday morning I realised that my firewall wasn’t starting up, and the system was definitely even slower; time to take action. Four hours and £130 later, it was all fixed, and I have total cover (oh, yes) for a year. The Bloke came round and fixed my office light, which hadn’t been working all week.

On Sunday, we planned to go to Weston-super-Mare to see the air display, which included the lovely Vulcan bomber, and to see the sand sculptures. But The Bloke’s loos were blocked, and couldn’t be cleared. A blocked loo takes priority over most things. so we didn’t go to Weston; he waited for an emergency plumber and I came home and did some gardening. He is going to need a new manhole cover, which will cost a lot more than my system problem, and meanwhile he has no loo to use.

Let’s face it – my problems are tiny ones, and I am a very lucky person.

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