All too much

I realised this morning that it really is all too much. Today I have the annual visit from my oldest friend Jackie. I’ve known her for 45 years; she lives in New Zealand and comes to the UK to visit family every year, and we have 24 hours together. Usually I really look forward to this, but this year I am so overwhelmed with the amount I have to do that I can’t look forward to it properly, and that’s a real shame. So, just a quick blog…

Monday was the writeup of the day at Croome, and a long phone call with The Brother about my mum; by the end, I knew I was going to have to go to Hull again to visit her. (Comment from The Brother: “Well, it doesn’t really matter if she can’t write, does it?” Grrr!)

I put some poison up in the loft to deter the mice who have been waking me at 5 am, gnawing so loudly that I thought I must have an infestation of beavers. I don’t like putting poison down, but what else can I do? I’ve tried sonic mouse repellers, but they work only to a limited extent.

I caught up with the weekend’s emails, and checked the Poetry on Loan poetry postcards, which will be printed very soon. Some changes needed to be made, but that’s not surprising. I prepared for my new group in Cirencester, and went to the presentation and tea for the winners of the Gloucs NHS poetry competition, for which I was a judge. It was good to meet the winner, who wrote a really good poem, and it’s ended up with more work for me, putting the book of the poems together – good, really, but not great timing.

More emails, a long call from The Son, prep for my kids’ group in Pershore, and some ironing.

On Tuesday I more or less caught up with all the emails, and had a good session at Cheltenham hospital, and then went straight to work with the Cirencester group. They are really good – full of enthusiasm and keen to learn. When I returned home there were 45 new emails. Sigh. I had a long call from The Daughter, and another one from The Brother, did some Poetry on Loan work, and lost my ring. Oh! I hate it when I lose things. This ring tends to fall off when my fingers are cold; once it went missing for over 18 months. Lots of writeups, and prep for next week’s Cirencester session, and I finished the ironing.

On Wednesday it was time to catch up with my Artlift work, although I knew that somehow I had to tidy the house (which has got into a bit of a state because I have been so busy) and do some cleaning. I had no idea how I was going to do everything…but, bless him, The Son came home especially to help me! He said that he couldn’t get to visit my mum, and he knew that because I had to I couldn’t do everything else, so he came home to help me with the everything else. Aaah! We got a lot done, and I even managed to mow the back lawn, and I found my ring – in the salad drawer in the fridge, naturally.

And I finished the World War 1 book, at last, and got it all ordered from Lulu.

On Thursday we had an Artlift artists’ meeting; useful, interesting and encouraging as always. I was sitting facing the window in the room where we met, and was rewarded by strange things passing – first, a life-sized stuffed tiger on the back seat of a car, which made me jump at first sight; then an old-fashioned AA motorbike and sidecar, and finally two Great Danes.

After the meeting I took a batch of ArtLift forms to the University where they are processed, and went up to Hull. My mum is making an excellent recovery – walking well with a frame, and practising her writing. While I was there I worked on the book of pieces from the Longlevens group, which is now almost ready to turn into a proof.

I got home at about 8, and collated all the marks for the Poetry on Loan competition. We now have a winner, and a very good one, too. He knows who he is, but I haven’t notified the junior winner yet, or any of the runners-up, so it will remain a secret for now. I checked the PoL posters, too – all ready now to go to the printers.

Of course, there was a whole heap of emails; I dealt with all from Wednesday and Thursday. Some of the Friday ones were really annoying, so I haven’t done those yet – not a good idea to reply while I’m angry!

One email told me that I would have 5 new kids in the group in Pershore, together with the other new ones I already knew about. We would have 15 altogether – and I had no idea how old they were or what they were like!

On Saturday I did some Artlift stuff, then ran the group in Pershore. It was great! This used to be a really noisy group, but with so many new ones they were all a bit shy, and worked well. By the end of the session they were beginning to relax a bit, which was good.

In the evening I finished the Longlevens book, and yesterday we went to Weston-super-Mare, partly to see the sand sculptures and partly to take some stuff to The Bloke’s brother, who lives there. We had a delightfully silly time in the sun. We didn’t go to Dismaland. Quite apart from the huge queues, I think it’s all a bit of a cop-out. Anyone can make dismal art; to create art that is joyful or uplifting requires much more creativity and originality and skill.

And I had some lovely news. The Daughter was in Paris for the weekend with her boyfriend, and he proposed to her, on top of the Eiffel Tower. Aaah!

In the evening I started work on the hospital book.

I’ve made a list of what I have to do this week; it’s worse than last week. Today I must relax and enjoy myself with my friend, and try to forget that it’s all too much.

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