Epic is not a word I normally use, and neither does The Bloke – but he used it this week… I’ll come to that later.
On Monday I did writeups and answered emails, and did some more work on the Ledbury Poetry Festival Board meeting minutes,
On Tuesday I got up to Monday with the emails, and packed a suitcase full of clothes for my work at the care home in the afternoon. And at last I got agreement to go ahead with the prison book, so I made the final changes and sent it off to Lulu, the online publishers I use. Phew! In the care home, I was using different textures to stimulate discussion – feathers, and fur, leather, silk, satin, velvet. It worked really well! We had a long discussion about weekly dances in the village halls. And I finished the LPF minutes – hooray! In the evening we went to see Gone girl. I wished I hadn’t read the book first – but in fact the film was better, because some of the unnecessary bits were cut out.
The next morning I sent off the prison cds, and thereby completed my work for this particular prison. It hasn’t quite been an epic, but it does seem to have gone on for a long time. A pleasant interlude followed – I may be doing some work at Croome, a National Trust property near where I live, and a group of us had a conducted tour round the gardens. And it didn’t rain. In the afternoon I went to see a private eye specialist about the enduring problem with my left eye. Going private is not something I would normally do, but my GP thought this was a good idea so that I could ask all the questions I needed to, and finally get it all sorted out. I was prepared for the fee the specialist charged, but not for the additional fee (£200!) for the tests; when he said he wanted me to see a colleague who was a retina specialist, I felt I had to draw the line. I was still a bit woozy from the eyedrops when I went to band practice in the evening; I knew I would be awful and I was – very embarrassing! I got up to Tuesday’s emails, and started on the report on my work at Hereford Hospital…
…which I finished on Wednesday. Loads of prep followed, for all the sessions to be run this week, and a long call from The Son. I did some practice, both for the brass band thing and a little performance at The Roses open day on Saturday, updated the Poetry on Loan website, and got completely up-to-date with the emails.
On Friday I had a very good session at the hospital, with three patients who were, as usual, inspiring, and came home to find loads more emails. I did the hospital writeup and some more practice, and handled the emails.
On Saturday I wrote a little poem about Croome, and set off for the Roses theatre. TADS was putting on a little show to help with their open day, and I did three poems before going off to the final rehearsal for Images of Tewkesbury, the project I have been working on since January, with Tewkesbury Town Band. For the first time, we had all the choirs together, and the band with its full complement of percussion, and the Town Crier, and the battle re-enactors. The rehearsal went ok, and soon it was time for the performance in the evening. There must have been getting on for 400 people in the Abbey. The band played some pieces in the first half, which I enjoyed, although I was getting nervous and feeling very cold. And then, at last, Images of Tewkesbury. I did my bits from up high in the pulpit, and from the moment right at the start when the audience all jumped, I knew it was going to go well. At the end, The Bloke, who isn’t really very keen on brass bands, said it was “epic.” Wow. I have never been stopped by so many people after a performance, all wanting to say how good it was. The music, by a fine composer, Peter Meechan, and the words, and the band and the choirs – everything – all worked together really well. The band gave little presents to the composer, the choir leader, the Town Crier and me; I had a bunch of flowers, and – much more important – a Tewkesbury Town Band badge. I am an honorary member, and I do feel honoured.
And the next day, everything felt a bit flat. We went to Birdland at Bourton-on-the Water, which was fun, and today I’ve run workshops with two excellent groups, but I do need an epic in my life again. I’ll have to start thinking…

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