And breathe…

Well, nearly. Just one more week of being really, really busy and it will (probably) quieten down a bit. At least now I have no gigs to prepare for so I can listen to the radio or to music in the car, instead of mouthing poems to myself.

So, Monday morning meant a drive out to Hellens Manor, near Ledbury, for a meeting – which went very well, so a good start to the week. And I washed my car, and cleared out the inside and even vacuumed and polished it. This only happens once every two years or so, when I’m going to be ferrying people around. I did a bit of gardening (not much) and a lot of prep, and some invoices, and caught up with the emails to Saturday – nearly up to date! In the evening we had a TADS meeting to prepare for our fundraising event on Saturday.

On Tuesday I had a session at the hospital (not bad), and my last session this term with my writing group in Cirencester; now that was good, although not everyone could make it. I answered some Artlift emails and mowed the big lawn and saw Ted 2 in the evening. I expected this to be in very bad taste, and extremely funny, and that’s exactly what it was. Good fun!

Wednesday morning was prep, for various activities, and practising, for the two weekend events. I had been asked at quite short notice to give a talk to an Arts and Health group in Oxford, so I worked that all out, and did some Artlift work, and planned what I was going to wear for the next few days. That sounds really vain, but it’s not really; I just find it easier to organise things like that in advance. And I ordered nearly all of The Daughter’s birthday presents, and had a long phone call with her; The Son phoned too. I wrote up the hospital stuff and typed up some poems that I wrote over the weekend. And I handled emails up to Monday – so nearly there in my struggle to catch up!

Thursday was fun. In the morning, I attended a first aid training session – something I had arranged for the Artlift artists. The Red Cross did the training, and it was excellent – very practical and rooted in real life. Afterwards I dashed home and got changed, and went to Ledbury; I was managing an event with Michael Palin and I had to collect him from the station. (Yes, I admit it – that’s why I cleaned my car.)  I arrived in Ledbury with a bit of time to spare. This was just as well, because as I walked away from my car, I realised that there was something wrong with my sandals. I hadn’t worn these sandals for a couple of years, and the rubber soles had perished, and were disintegrating as I walked along. I was leaving a trail of rubber behind me. Fortunately, the shoe shop in Ledbury had a sale on, so I managed to get some new sandals (which I really don’t need) for a reasonable price. The event all went well, anyway. Michael Palin is a thoroughly nice chap. I came home and rounded off the day with some emails, as you do.

On Friday I did my accounting, and practised for the TADS event, and did some work on my talk for Oxford, and then I did a Greece. I rebelled against my boss – Ochi! I said. No! I won’t stay in and work on such a lovely day. I picked some blackcurrants and spent half an hour clearing the front garden (so only another 10 and a half hours to go, then, until it’s done). I finally wrote the minutes of the Ledbury Poetry Festival meeting from last week, and the minutes of the TADS meeting, and went out to a rehearsal for the TADS event; all seemed to be ok. And (drum roll, please) I finally caught up with all my emails! Of course, after the weekend I’m behind again but I’ll try to get all the new ones done this evening.

On Saturday I went to Tewkesbury’s Mediaeval Festival with The Bloke, and off to the TADS event in the evening. I was the mc. It all went well, except for the moment when two older gentlemen, part of a singing group, shifted their chairs right to the back of the stage and fell off backwards, getting wedged, with their chairs, between the stage and the flats behind it. Fortunately nobody was hurt; unfortunately nobody was filming it, because it must have looked really funny. Later, someone else who thanked everyone at the end leaned on a mic stand, which fell over (somewhat predictably), bashing the mic on the stage. The guy apologised, saying he had a balance problem, and proceeded to repeat this performance three more times. We didn’t really need a comedian… Anyway, I think we will have raised a lot of money, and all the acts went down well (including my poems) so that was all ok.

On Sunday, I had a little slot in the open air, at the LPF street party. These are difficult events, because the audience is scattered and it’s hard to judge reactions, but it seemed to get a good reaction.

This morning I was in Ledbury bright and early to help with the Festival clear up – only to find that nobody else was going to start until 10:30, and the rooms to be cleared wouldn’t be open until then. I knew I was going to have to leave by 11, so there wasn’t much point in hanging round. I zoomed off to Oxford to give my talk – 20 minutes of talk and 30 minutes of questions, so it certainly sparked some interest. Bad traffic home – listening to music and the radio! – and now I can get on with the emails. And, perhaps, breathe.

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