It’s not Christmas yet

…but you would think it was next week! Everywhere you look there is Christmas stuff, and to be honest I have ordered some Christmas presents this week, but I just wanted to have a little moan about it all starting too soon. There. Moan over.
It’s been a bitty week – finishing things off and clearing stuff away, now my frantically busy period is over. On Monday evening I went to the launch of the Shropshire Young Poet Laureate competition; I’m one of the judges. It was some launch – Liz LeFroy, Gillian Clarke (National Poet for Wales), and Carol Ann Duffy reading poems! Some of it was excellent, although not all of the poetry was to my taste; I find myself wondering why on earth a particular poem was written. However, as often happens when I’m listening to poetry I’m not particularly struck by, I started writing a poem of my own, which is always nice. And Carol Ann Duffy read from The World’s Wife, which is my favourite of her collections. The whole thing was in Shrewsbury, though, which meant a long drive there and back.
On Tuesday I started talking to the Arts Council about the next bid for Poetry on Loan. This will be a long job, but I must try to get it finished before the end of December. I went to the hospital in the afternoon and met a lovely lady who will be stuck in one room for three or four weeks while she has her treatment; I think she was glad to spend some time with me. I did the writeup, and wrote the first of three pieces for a project (Ten cottages) which involves a lot of people… more of that later, when it all comes together.
In the evening we saw Nightcrawler, which was an exercise in creepiness.
On Wednesday I finished the report for my Ross GP surgery group, and went to work with my Moreton group, who did really well. I handled some emails and ordered some presents, and wrote the second piece – and then got completely up-to-date with all the emails! Hooray!
Thursday was a day for paying Poetry on Loan invoices, and checking through the accounts, and following up any uninvoiced amounts. I do think it’s strange that poets don’t invoice immediately after they’ve done some work, but it’s something I’ve learned to live with. I proofread the carers’ book; today I will get it redone and order all the copies, and that’s another project completely finished. And I went swimming! Because of my advanced age I can get a good deal with local swimming pool, and I plan to swim at least twice a week. I really enjoyed it.
I did some prep for my young writers’ group, and went to a TADS meeting, wrote my third piece and answered emails.
On Friday I looked after my own accounts, and ordered more presents, and went swimming again, and washed my car. Ridiculous, really – it’s filthy again already. I did some more prep for next week and wrote the minutes of the TADS meeting, and read two plays by one of our members. And I cleared out one of the drawers in my bedroom cabinet. It took ages. I managed to throw away a carrier bag full of stuff and it’s still full. I’m really bad at throwing things away. I started the planning for a talk I’m giving at the end of the month, and did a bit of Greek. Yes, time to think about holidays for next year – and I complain about Christmas coming too early!
Each year, I chop my butterfly plant down to almost nothing, and The Bloke brings his garden shredder round to reduce the size of the resulting heap; Saturday was the day this year. And I ordered more presents. And on Sunday we went to the West Midlands Safari Park. It was the first time I’ve seen the hippos do anything at all; their roars are quite imposing. And the new lorikeet enclosure is great fun, if you like birds sitting on your head and preening you. I felt as if I’d had a head massage by the time we left. The only downside was that they had Christmas songs playing all over the park…
This morning I’ve been to a Ledbury Poetry Festival meeting. The community programme is a bit short of money – we could do with a big Christmas present of cash. And it would be fine if that came early.

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