Beginnings and endings

I’m at the beginning of several things at the moment, which always means extra stuff to do. I finally sorted out all the dates for the WW1 project, and spent half a day preparing the first workshop, which I will adjust as necessary and do three times. For some weeks now, all my spare-time reading has been about WW1, and although it has been interesting, I’ll be glad to get back to reading other things.

I’ve been sending out emails commissioning poets to write poems for Poetry on Loan, which of course means that they all email me back – so many emails! And the start of the new PoL funding period has meant that lots of other things need sorting out – and I’ve submitted my final invoice for our previous funding period, now that the Arts Council have paid us our last bit of money. Hooray!

My work in Cheltenham hospital continues, although this week it wasn’t so good; everyone seemed to be in pairs, and I don’t like to disturb people in pairs unless they look particularly chatty. However, I’ll soon be starting something similar in Hereford Hospital, after a pilot project last year, and I had to go there this week to give evidence of my identity. I didn’t really want to put my passport, driving licence, bank statement, DBS check, mother’s maiden name, birth date of first pet, etc. in the post, so I drove all the way there just so that they could photocopy everything and give it back to me. Still, afterwards I met the lovely Anne-Marie for lunch; it was good to catch up and she always makes me feel refreshed if I’m a bit fraught.

Talking of fraught, though – I went to see Child 44, which is a salutary reminder of how good it is to live in a free society. It didn’t get great ratings from the critics, but I thought it was well done. Not a cheery number, though.

I’ve been sorting out quite a lot of things for ArtLift, too – things that I haven’t had to do before. And I had a session with my group in Longlevens, although again not many of them were there. Next week I start a new term in Cirencester, so I did quite a lot of prep for that.

And I sent in my vote, by post. I never tell anyone how I vote; people died in the effort to get a secret ballot, and I respect that.

There have been so many emails this week! It’s been a bit of a struggle to keep up with them, but I’ve had to make time for slam practice. In the end I didn’t do the new poem; I was still tweaking it in the afternoon and it wasn’t secure enough to perform in a slam. I might as well have done, though, because although I got into the semi-final I progressed no further. I did win a prize – a Terry’s chocolate orange. I don’t like these, so I gave it to The Bloke.

And I took loads of junk to the tip! It was all stuff that I won’t use again, and that nobody else could possibly want, or I’d have put it on Freecycle.

On Sunday we went to the Tewkesbury Big Weekend. I have to say that this was actually Not A Very Big Weekend, with rather fewer attractions this year than last year, although it’s always fun to talk to the medieval enthusiasts. Ask them one question and they will talk for half an hour. I won a can of baked beans in the draw. Yo. And I bought a duck for the duck race.

Today I had a real day off (until this evening). We booked seats for our holiday flights, and went to see Lower Slaughter. It’s a very pretty village, but we couldn’t park at all, so I’m afraid we just drove through it. We’ll go back on a miserable day when nobody else wants to go there. I did spend a bit of time strolling through a bluebell wood, though, which I always enjoy, and we went into Stow and didn’t spend any money at all.

And I’ve got loads more emails to deal with now. Oh – and there was a phone message to say that my duck came in last in the duck race, which meant that I had won a prize. A Terry’s chocolate orange.

This week is busy, with yet more new things happening. It will all be fine as long as I can remember which day it is…

This week is busy, with yet more new things happening. It will all be fine as long as I can remember which day it is…

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