Families

I’ve had a lot of contact with various members of my family this week. I have an easy-going relationship with my kids, I think. I know they are busy, so I don’t often phone them; they phone me when they have a few free minutes, usually about once a week, and that’s all fine.

My poor mother, though, doesn’t know whether she is coming or going; she phones everyone, all the time, usually with a completely irrational worry. In her better moments she knows she has been irrational, and this worries her more than anything else. The result of it all, though, is damaging – far more to my brother, who lives closer to her, than to me. Most of my weeks now are punctuated by phone calls – my brother offloading; my mother loading up.

But that’s by the way. It’s been busy, in between all the phone calls. On Monday I gave a talk about Artlift to a group of physiotherapists, and this could well lead to some good referrals, plus possibly some work in Herefordshire. I had a long phone call in the afternoon from someone who is not a member of my family, which made a change. Of course there was a crag of emails to deal with (I’m running out of synonyms for pile) after the weekend, and I wrote the TADS meeting minutes.

I’ve got a big day this week, and I did a lot of prep for that last week, starting on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning I went to the last Artlift session in Cheltenham; I always enjoy doing this – meeting the people I have spoken to on the phone and finding out how much they have enjoyed their Artlift courses. In the afternoon I had another excellent session with my group in Cirencester, and in the evening went to see Spectre. It was all enjoyable tosh, of course, but it took my mind off all the phone calls. And my windscreen wipers stopped working.

I typed up the play written by my Pershore young people’s group on Wednesday, and then went to Hereford for a session at the hospital. This was terrific and again made me realise why I do this stuff; poetry really has a power to reach parts of people they didn’t know they had. I took my car in to the garage for them to look at the wipers; I need a new motor. I can’t really complain about this. It’s the first time in all my years of driving that I’ve ever had to have a new windscreen wiper motor. The garage told me the price of a new one – £320! They have found a secondhand one and will be fitting it today.

In the afternoon I had a session at Cheltenham hospital; this one was a bit of a struggle. By the end of the evening I had done lots of writeups and reached Monday’s emails, as well as spending a lot of time on the phone with The Son.

Thursday was at home – invoicing, writeups, emails, prep for this week, emails and very long phone calls. In the evening I had planned to go to a Poetry on Loan event, but had to cancel because it was raining, and I wouldn’t have been able to see anything while driving – but at least this gave me a chance to catch up with things a bit.

Friday was a big day – the three-monthly Poetry on Loan meeting in Birmingham. I went by train, obviously, and for once managed to get there and back to my local station without something going wrong – although it was quite a close call when my first train out was 8 minutes late. I had to sprint to catch the connection at Cheltenham. But as always the meeting was good, and I think everyone went away feeling enthused. They are a great bunch of people. And in the evening I caught up completely with the emails. Hooray! And I finished the hospital book. I now have covers for both the hospital book and the Longlevens book, and they will be sent to the online publishers today.

End of month accounts on Saturday – and then the real family occasion of the week. I met The Daughter, The Fiancé, and The Fiancé’s mother (whom I hadn’t met before) for afternoon tea, at the place where the wedding reception will be. It is lovely there, and afternoon tea was very twee and beautifully prepared and served, and The Fiancé’s mother was a very pleasant woman. The Daughter even approved of the dress I was wearing. Phew! I’d done a bit more prep before going out, so this week is more or less in hand – I still need to practise more for Wednesday, though, and I’ve still got lots of background tasks to catch up with. In between all the family phone calls, of course.

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