Why do simple things seem so difficult to arrange? This week has been mostly in the prison again, but that’s all over now. I didn’t go in on Tuesday – I had a gig with two other poets. It was in a library; there were no posters up to advertise it when we arrived, although we were told that it had been promoted on the website. They said they weren’t allowed to put posters up. Sigh. I do sometimes wonder what goes through the minds of people who don’t allow posters to be put up. Anyway, we got the PA going and did our hour of poetry, without a single person in the audience. Occasionally people would sit or wander nearby, but only very briefly did they appear to be listening; apparently some people were seen leaning over the balconies, apparently paying attention, but who knows? It was all a bit sad, really, although we enjoyed listening to each other, and I read a poem I’d written just that morning – something I probably wouldn’t have done if we’d had a proper audience.
I came home and almost immediately went out to give blood. My appointment was for 4:45; there was a sign on the door saying “This session is now closed. Re-opening at 5:00 pm”. Sigh. At least I was processed quite quickly, and my blood had the required levels of iron, and it all went well.
I did some prep for the prison, and went to see What if. This had rather good critics’ reviews, but just seemed a pleasant little romantic comedy to me; nothing special.
On Wednesday I was back in the prison. The guys were great; we finished writing the play we had started work on the week before, and had time for some abstract poetry at the end. In the evening I printed off some more posters for my Tewkesbury play, and type up the script and got everything ready for the prison on Thursday…
…when I was taking in the recording equipment. I suspected that there would be problems taking the voice recorder into the prison, and I was right. They had had all the paperwork for this, but that was the week before, so of course they didn’t have it when it was needed. I had to wait for nearly three quarters of an hour before it was sorted out. But we got the whole thing recorded, despite all the noises you get in prisons; they concentrated really well to get this done. Afterwards we talked about the differences between radio and stage plays, and we did a bit of improvisation, which was a hoot. I was a bit concerned about the next day, so asked the officer with me to check – yes, there was definitely someone detailed to be with me until 4 pm on Friday. In the evening I prepared the evaluation forms and typed in the various changes we had made to the play.
My last day in the prison on Friday. “You were supposed to finish yesterday,” they said at the gate. No, I wasn’t. I said that I had confirmed it all the day before, but again I had to wait for ages before they could find an officer to accompany me. He went off shift at 12, and they didn’t know what to do with me at lunchtime, so I had to go out of the prison and sit in my car. How difficult is this, really? But again, the guys were great; they produced some excellent poems in the morning, and in the afternoon we discussed the book I will be producing with their work, and got all the evaluations done. They have been a great group to work with, but it has been a bit tiring. When I got home I found I had a speeding ticket for one day last week. I thought I was being so careful along the unfamiliar roads, but obviously there was one speed limit I had missed. Sigh.
Anyway, on the way home I did some shopping, and in the evening caught up with my accounts, and did some more typing, and answered emails, and did the invoice for the gig on Tuesday, and finished the week with some ironing.
On Saturday I wrote letters to 12 sheltered housing places in Tewkesbury, trying to drum up more audience members for Quartet, and dealt with some of the stacked emails. And on Sunday I did nothing, really, except yet more typing of prison work, and the final preparation of the programmes for Quartet, and preparation for the editing of the prison play, and – oh yes, I wrote a poem.
This week is going to be horrendously busy; I have about three days’ work to do today. Sigh.

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