Against time

I’m not the only one, I know, who feels that life is a constant battle against time. So far I’ve managed to stand my ground, but I don’t know ho long I can keep it up.

So, on Monday I wrote up my Croome stuff, and finally got the World War 1 poetry book off to the online publishers, and caught up with all the emails. Hah! That skirmish was to me, I think. I even answered all the Artlift emails, and then went to Cheltenham hospital. It had been arranged that I would spend time with a lady who is failing fast, and who wanted to get her life story written while she could still tell it to someone. I was told that she was tired, and we would probably have to have a break part-way through. In fact she talked non-stop for an hour and a half – and it really was a fascinating story, involving deportation to Siberia and an amputation and being shipped to India, and the deaths of siblings and a reunion with her mother… Anyway, I wrote non-stop for an hour and a half, too.

In the evening I phoned my mother’s cousin to tell him of her illness; of course I should have done this sooner. And we went to see Trainwreck, which was much better than I had expected.

On Tuesday I was working in Hereford hospital, and afterwards went to buy a new laptop. I wrote up the stuff I had written and picked some pears from my tree; many of them had already fallen and been half-eaten by various insects. I did a lot of Artlift work and had a long phone call from The Daughter, and finished the evening quite late by updating the Poetry on Loan website – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

I was due to give a talk to some staff at Cheltenham hospital on Wednesday morning, and it was only when I arrived there that they said they had had a sudden influx of patients and we would have to postpone it. This was a bit of a pain because I’d done quite a lot of prep for the talk, but at least it gave me an unexpected free hour to buy my mum a birthday present.

I really want to do a bit of outdoor decorating, and I thought that if I started work on the front door frame, I’d be able to undercoat it and gloss it on Thursday – but no. It was rotting at the bottom, so in fact there’s quite a substantial filling job to do before I can paint it. I’ve made a start. The plan was to beat the onset of rainy weather; I definitely lost that round.

I caught up with emails again – oh, and all day, on and off, I was tending to the new laptop. It had been the display model, so I had to do a factory reset first, and then it asked if I wanted to upgrade to Windows 10. Obviously I did, and it chuntered on, asking things of its servant from time to time. It still hadn’t finished when I went to bed…

And in the morning it just said it had failed, so I had to start all over again. I did more filling, and more emails, and sent out all the Poetry on Loan invoices, a job I really don’t like doing. Hooray! I was one up in my battle against time. I had to do some practice for a gig on Saturday, and mow the back lawn / meadow, and do whatever the little laptop told me; and, of course, write up the lady’s life story while it was fresh in my mind. Late in the evening I sat down to do my tax return. It took me one hour – just one hour! This is a record, I think. And by 11:30 pm the Windows 10 update had succeeded, and I loaded Office on, and everything was done by 11:45 – everything I really wanted to get done, anyway. I won!

On Friday I drove to Hull, via my brother’s house, and visited my mum; and went to the hospital again in the evening, and by the time I got back to her house I was too tired to do any work on the new little laptop after all. My mum’s recovery is progressing well.

Over the weekend I haven’t done much, except some more work on the book of Longlevens pieces and proofreading the World War 1 poems book. I had a gig in Stroud, which went really well; I was worried before my turn because the people before me had been rather serious, but the audience seemed really pleased to have something to laugh at, so that was ok.

Apart from that, though, and buying slippers for my mum, I didn’t do much. I thought I could do with a rest, but in fact I spent a lot of the time worrying about how to get everything done in time this week. I may have won this week’s battle, but it’s not all over yet.

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