Cake and poetry

Always a good mix, cake and poetry – I don’t think I know any poets who don’t like cake. And that more or less sums up what I’ve been doing this week. Oh – and window frames and directing a play and…
So, on Monday I spent some time sorting out a Poetry on Loan event, and I did some prep for work in a care home; and I put the wedding cakes for my brother on their bases and covered them in marzipan. Not that I like marzipan, but apparently it’s essential. One day I’ll try icing a cake without any marzipan underneath, and see what happens. I caught up with last week’s emails (hooray!) and prepared the last upstairs window frame; mowed the back lawn; distributed some flyers for the play, and wrote a report on the work I’d done in the prison. The feedback from the men was terrific -“I have amazed myself!” was my favourite – so I hope the powers that be think about doing more creative writing work there.
We had a rehearsal in the evening; it wasn’t that good, really.
On Tuesday I had to spend a bit of time looking at YouTube videos. I really don’t like doing this, because I’d much rather read about how to do something – it’s so much quicker – but this time I needed to see it: how to cover a 12” cake with roll-out icing. Why do they always take so much time to explain such simple things on these videos? I did some more prep on the window frame, and went off to the care home. This was the first session of a new project. The care home staff were very helpful and friendly, but they wouldn’t let the residents just talk; they thought they needed to keep giving them prompts. I’ll have to be a bit more firm, I think; it’s all about the residents’ words, not those of the staff.
On my way home I had to go and buy a special rolling pin, non-stick and very long, to do the icing. £17! For a rolling pin! But in fact I couldn’t have done the job properly without it. In the evening we went to see Lucy – yet another film that was basically tosh. Oh, how I want to see a good film, one that engages and entrances me!
I was really busy on Wednesday, but the music for the Tewkesbury band project arrived, just in midi form, so of course I had to have a sneaky quick listen. I put it all on a memory stick that I can listen to in the car, so now I’ve heard it all several times. It’s terrific! Unfortunately I couldn’t read the file with the score, so I can’t yet see where all the narrative and poetry bits come in, but the composer is going to send me one in hard copy.
And then down to business, if you can call it that: I did a good session at the hospital; I sanded and undercoated the window frame – oh, and this window frame has been done partly by going up a ladder, and partly by sitting on the sill and leaning out. I’m not sure which is the more dangerous. I checked my outfit for the wedding, and iced all three cakes, and mowed the front lawn, and collected the windfall pears from my tree (not many this year), and wrote up the hospital work, and started preparation for a proposal for continuing the hospital work, and wrote up the care home stuff, and did lots of PoL work, and caught up with emails.
And I checked the ticket sales for the TADS’ play, which are desperately low. Oh dear. I don’t know what else we could have done for publicity, but nobody in Tewkesbury seems to want to go and see live drama, even though it’s a good play and we’re a good amateur drama society.
More PoL work on Thursday, and a phone call out of the blue about some work on a really interesting project in Cheltenham in association with the Literature Festival – only a day’s work, but that’s probably all I could fit in at the moment. I glossed the window frame, and then spent ages decorating the cakes. Every bit of the decoration reflected something about my brother and his wife, so the top was in black icing, grooved to look like a record; in place of the label in the middle was an MG car badge (they both like sporty cars, and M and G are their initials); there were rice paper guitars and glitter balls, and sparkly pink and silver bits – all edible – because the wedding colour themes were pink and silver grey; pink and grey ribbons round the cakes, which I had iced with a marbled effect, two white and grey and one pink and white… it took ages, but I was really pleased with the final result when they were all assembled into a three-tier masterpiece. Sort of.
Next, time for a big email out to all the PoL contacts, and prep for the TADS meeting that evening, and prep for the next day; more emails… and then I had to lie down for a bit because I had a bad headache. I know from past experience that if I don’t give in for a little while the headache gets worse and lasts longer. I started more prep, for a day in a school next week, and went to the last TADS meeting before the play. Everything was pretty much in hand for the tech and dress rehearsals. And – what do you know? – more emails.
This was quite a week. On Friday I did my weekly accounts, and worked on the school preparation again, and set off for Birmingham, where I was part of the panel judging the finalists for this year’s Birmingham Poet Laureateship. Naturally I can say no more about this, except to mention that the decision was pretty well unanimous. I did a little bit of gardening when I got home, and some invoices, and wrote the minutes of the TADS’ meeting, and caught up with ironing and emails.
Saturday was the wedding. The Bloke, bless him, picked me up and we packed the cake in a box for its long journey. The wedding all went well, and the reception was happy and noisy, as wedding receptions ought to be, and everyone seemed to like the cake. It was a shame to see my hard work cut up into little pieces, but I guess that was kind of inevitable, really. The Bloke drove home too, and we got back at about 1 am…
So that I could get to the theatre by 9 am. We started off by building the set, and I have to say I am delighted with it; it is exactly how I envisaged it, all those months ago. The tech was like tech rehearsals always are – long and tedious, with a bit of fractiousness, and the dress rehearsal in the evening was reasonably smooth – one or two big mistakes, and a few small ones, and of course everyone was tired by then. But the whole point of dress rehearsals is to get the mistakes out of the way before the first performance, and we can work on it a little bit more at tonight’s rehearsal. I have a great cast and crew, and it will be a terrific show; I just hope more people will buy tickets and come along. Perhaps we should offer them cake. Or poetry.

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