Not ready to retire

It’s been a busy week – yes, I know, they are all busy, but this week has seemed particularly full. If I were retired, everything would be so much easier – except that I don’t have a big enough pension to retire yet, and anyway, I love what I do and I can’t imagine stopping it all.

On Monday two people came to look at my rotten back door and surround, and gave me quotes for the replacement of that and my French windows, which are also rotten but not quite so bad. One of them wanted me to decide on the spot, and said I would lose 10% discount if I didn’t. The other said I should take my time making up my mind, and come and look round their showrooms so I could actually see all the different finishes they had available; their quote was slightly higher. I did have a look round the showroom, and was given all the information I asked for, and again was told to take as much time as I wanted to decide. Guess which one I went with? I told the other one why they hadn’t got my business; perhaps if enough people did this they might stop putting the pressure on. Anyway, It’s still going to cost a fortune, but I’ll have to do it sooner or later so I might as well go ahead. Couldn’t do that on a pension.

In between all this, I handled a lot of Poetry on Loan stuff, and prepared for my young people’s group, and dealt with emails up to Sunday, and mowed the back lawn, and finished the Longlevens book.

On Tuesday I tackled the Monday email mountain, and had a session at Cheltenham hospital. It was packed, and it’s always difficult in these circumstances to get people to talk; I guess they don’t want to risk being overheard. My Cirencester group in the afternoon was brilliant, though; helping people become better writers is what I love doing most, and would miss most if I gave it all up. I did all the writeups and spent a long time on some Artlift stuff.

On Wednesday I had a good session at Hereford hospital (where, for some reason, people are far more likely to want to talk than in Cheltenham), and did a lot of referrals work for Artlift. I caught up (almost) with the emails and started paying a whole bunch of Poetry on Loan invoices. All this admin work isn’t very artistic, but I do quite enjoy sending people cheques; I know they all deserve the money.

I finished the invoices on Thursday and did loads of prep, and went up to Barton-upon-Humber, where my mum is now in a care home. It was her decision to go into a care home, but predictably she is not very happy there; we’re hoping things will settle down.

In the morning The Brother and I got the Barton house ready for photos to be taken to put it on the market. He and his wife and I had lunch together, and he lectured me about how I should retire – how much time I would have, how much easier life would be, etc. I keep telling him that (a) I can’t afford to and (b) I love my work, but he doesn’t listen.

I visited my mum again in the afternoon, and encouraged her to try reading again – which she can do perfectly well, although she has convinced herself that she can’t – and sent some text messages for her. The staff at the care home are lovely; the rooms are nice and a decent size; there are a couple of women with whom she is beginning to make friends. But she doesn’t like the food, and she says it makes her feel sad to think that this is all there is now. I would hate it, so I have some sympathy with her on this; but at the same time, I think she could make a lot more of what there is, rather than feeling sad about what can never be. Sorry! Enough unloading.

In the evening I went home via Stoke – rather a detour – to see Ash Dickinson perform at a Poetry on Loan gig. It’s the first time he has done anything with PoL, and he was great; they loved him.

And on Saturday I had a session with my young writers in Pershore. They were wonderful! Full of enthusiasm and energy and ideas. We’re writing a play to be performed to parents and friends in December, and it’s going really well. So far, anyway.

The Bloke’s firm had a open day on Saturday, and we went along; seeing what they do with valves and actuators was actually much more interesting than I had expected. And on Sunday we went shopping, and I worked on the book of hospital pieces.

This morning I have finally had the problem with my eye looked at properly, and in fact it’s just old damage that I don’t need to worry about. Hooray! I’m typing with only half-vision, though, because my pupils are still dilated, so this is probably full of typos – sorry!

Retirement? I would have missed so much this week – the PoL people I work with; the Artlift stuff, where I know I am performing a really useful service; the sessions in the hospitals; my Cirencester group… I could still write, of course, but that is just a tiny fraction of what I do. I’m not ready for retirement yet, whatever The Brother might say.

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