Fog and snow

I’ve spent most of the week struggling through the fog of an Arts Council funding bid, but had a bit of fun playing in the snow.
On Monday I booked my summer holiday! Something to look forward to. And then my end-of-month accounts, which I don’t mind doing; keeps everything tidy and under control. I caught up with all the emails, went for a swim, typed two new poems, and worked on the funding bid. Every time I do these, the form is a bit more complicated than the time before. On Tuesday I cleared up some of the horrible soggy leaves on the patio, and did some practice for a little slam, worked on the funding bid, and had a wonderful afternoon at the hospital with a really lively lady. After a little bit of Christmas shopping, we went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, which was just average.
On Wednesday I installed some new language learning software, but I can’t use it yet because I need a pair of headphones with attached mic; I don’t know if I can wait until Christmas for these! I wrote up the hospital stuff, and did some more slam practice; caught up with the emails, prepared for a workshop this week, and started on the funding bid budget. In the evening I saw Buddy Wakefield (three times world slam champion) in Bristol. He was pretty good, but to be honest I would rather see Jonny Fluffypunk, who as far as I know has never been world champion of anything. The slam was won by a woman with a very clever and funny poem, but I did find it a little saddening that quite a few of the people in it were rap-by-numbers poets; so predictable, so similar – I think you could probably write a program to create this stuff.
Thursday was terrific! I ran a workshop in Brockhampton, a National Trust property near Bromyard, with a group of year 7 kids from a school nearby. The kids were amazing – really keen on seeing the house and writing about it – and they came up with some really good stuff. Their teachers were great too, as was Robin, who showed everyone the property, and the lovely Anne-Marie Dossett of Herefordshire Libraries. I felt really enthused by it all. Later I paid lots of Poetry on Loan invoices, and prepared for my young people’s group on Saturday. There was a nice email from the Birmingham carers’ group – they like the book of pieces I made for them so much that they want to order 80 more copies! And of course the day was rounded off by a bit more work on the funding bid. I really need a full day that I can dedicate to this, and then I would get it nearly all done, but there are so many other bits and pieces to do.
And on Friday – well, The Bloke’s mum hasn’t been so well, so we went to see her – in Kingussie. This is 8 hours’ drive, if you don’t stop, and being human, we did; we arrived there at about 6 pm. It was bitterly cold. The hotel was ok, but I felt very ill during the night; I think I’m just not used to the level of cream in the cullen skink I had for dinner. We spent most of Saturday with The Bloke’s mum and dad, and on Sunday awoke to a snow-covered landscape. We had planned to go to the Highlands Wildlife Park, and it was still open despite the weather, so we trudged through blizzards to see arctic foxes and red pandas and polar bears (who looked very happy) and wolverines and snow monkeys – lots of animals with very thick fur who had no problems at all with the cold temperature. It was very odd, but great fun.
After that, we called in to see The Bloke’s mum again, and set off on the long drive home, at first through driving snow.
And now it’s back to the funding bid – that’s after I’ve found my way through the fog of emails, of course…

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