Well, that was a week! After going to the prison on Monday morning, I did lots of prep for the school on Thursday, and cleared some nettles (pesky things! They sting even through trousers), picked blackcurrants and gooseberries and got them ready for the freezer, got completely up-to-date with my emails, and did some prep fro the Lydney slam. I panicked a bit because I couldn’t find all the stuff I need for the slam, but it was all exactly where it should have been – neatly tucked away in a box on the shelf.
On Tuesday morning I had my second session with the carers’ group in Birmingham. They are so keen – it’s lovely! They really want to learn how to write better, and it’s a joy to help them. I did the writeup, and then more prep for the Lydney slam, and a bit more gardening. I’m trying to do some gardening every day, not just to get some semblance of orderliness in my garden, but also as exercise. I did some work on the Poetry on Loan website, and in the evening went to see The fault in our stars. I knew it would be a weepie, but it was done well, and avoided over-sentimentality.
Lots of final prep on Wednesday, and PoL invoices, and my very last session with my GP group. It was a bit sad, really; they have learned so much and done so well, and I’ll miss them. I collected the contract for the theatre hire for TADS’ forthcoming production of Quartet, checked it and took it to the theatre. Gulp. It’s all really happening, then. And I set off for Devon.
I stayed in a B&B in Bovey Tracey; a strange little place, but the bed was comfortable, and staying overnight meant that I didn’t have to worry about being delayed by traffic on Thursday morning… because on Thursday I spent all day at Chudleigh School. I worked with 8 classes – just about half an hour with each class, during which they wrote a group poem and started work on performing it. The idea is that some time this week, they will perform all the poems together to make a piece that includes lots of different aspects of the rainforest. I do hope it all works out. It was very, very rushed, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and some of the poems came out very well.
And I drove straight from there to Lydney, where I was running the annual slam. We had 6 poets, who each did three sets of 3 minutes. Nobody gets knocked out in this slam, and the audience votes for the best poet of the evening and the best poem. It was a lovely evening of poetry, but we had a tiny audience; such a shame. I was quite tired by the end of the day.
On Friday I did my accounts and went into Ledbury, where I was reading some pieces written with dementia patients. We had a good audience, and I think quite a lot of copies of the book were sold; but I wouldn’t call them poems. They were little slices of people’s lives, and worth recording, but there was nothing poetical about the pieces, really. But that didn’t really matter.
And I did the shopping and some washing, and some pruning and trimming, and had long calls from both of my children, and I did the writeup from the GP group session, and practised for my Ledbury Poetry Festival gig, and handled the emails up to Thursday’s. And did the ironing.
Saturday was a day off! The Son was here for a little while, and later The Bloke and I rode our bikes to the Tewkesbury Mediaeval Fare, which is always good for a laugh: grown men dressing up in armour… Anyway, the last laugh was on us, because it started raining and we got soaked on our way home.
On Sunday I had to be in Ledbury early for the event managers’ meeting; at 11 I was looking after an event with two Greek poets and a publisher. They were there bright and early – and then one of them went for a walk, and didn’t return until 10:55. Phew. The event went well, and at 1 pm I did a little performance at the Festival street party – just 12 minutes. It went very well indeed, with rather more people listening at the end than at the beginning (much better than the other way round), and I sold two books.
And finally, we went home, and watched the World Cup Final. What an excellent goal! What a good week! But I’m quite pleased that it’s over.

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