I need more exercise

I just sit at my desk feeling like a slug, a lot of the time; not that I really know what it feels like to be a slug. Actually, I’d rather not think about that. On Monday, though, after going to the dentist, I took my car in to have the new windscreen motor fixed. While they were doing it I had an hour to kill. Why no go for a swim? said The Bloke, so I did – the pool is just five minutes’ walk from the garage. It was lovely! I had forgotten how much I enjoy swimming. Just no time, though, most days.

In the afternoon I deployed the mole repeller in the garden – ha! Take that, you furry brutes! And I practised for Wednesday, and caught up with all – yes, all – the emails. Hooray. After a long Artlift call, I started sending out the first of a whole load of emails for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, and sent my two books (hospital staff poetry and Longlevens group pieces) to the online publishers.

On Tuesday I had a really good session at Cheltenham hospital. These people amaze me. In the afternoon I had my last session for this term with my Cirencester group. They are all so keen to come back and do more – it’s terrific!. More practice, more emails, more LPF emails, and writeups.

And Wednesday was a big day. I was doing some stuff for the Walsall Readers’ Day – 72 ladies, most past their first flush of youth, united by a love of reading. I talked for a little while about my writing life – what I do with other people, mostly – and then got each of them to write one line of poetry, in response to some questions. Each table had to assemble their lines into one poem – and then I took them all away, while they had a talk from another author, and constructed an epic, including everything. It actually came out quite well, I thought. During the lunch break one lady came up to me and said that she didn’t like poetry at all, and had planned to leave before my performance in the afternoon, but now she was going to stay. Aaah! The performance went really well – their epic and half an hour of my own stuff, and we finished off with book-signing. I had packed 15 books to sell, and at the last moment put another five in the car. I have never sold more than 10 books at any gig, so I thought that would be more than enough. In the end, I had to go out to my car and get the five books, plus the one emergency copy I always keep in the boot. Twenty-one books sold! More important, though, were all the lovely comments I had; it was so nice to be able to reach people who aren’t necessarily poetry readers.

In the evening I had an urgent email from Artlift, which took some time to answer, and some more Artlift work to do. I finished sending out all the LPF emails, and answered a whole load of emails. Emails, emails, emails…

On Thursday I had a good session at Hereford hospital, caught up with the replies to the LPF emails and wrote a little update for the LPF people who are working on this particular project with me. And I drove to Humberside. It took me well over five hours, because there had been an accident, but I went in to visit my mother. I took some sparklers with me; I had hoped to take her outside to light them, but it was a bit late, so she watched through the window while I lit them. I’m glad she still enjoys a bit of fun like this.

I took her out to lunch the next day, although she was rather worried about my wheelchair-pushing skills. I’m going to tell my kids that if they ever have to put me in a home, they are not to ask how safe it all is, but whether there are opportunities for me to take risks, to try something I’ve never done before, even if it’s only basket making.

I was away from emails for 29 hours; there were 93 new ones waiting for me. I did the Hereford hospital writeup and started answering them. One was an invitation to be in the Hammer and Tongue National Slam finals, in the Albert Hall, which I have accepted. Not quite time to hang up my slamming shoes, then.

On Saturday I ordered more copies of my book to replace all the ones I had sold, and spent three hours answering emails. I typed up the Walsall epic and sent it to them, and did a bit of invoicing and my weekly accounts. The rest of the weekend was a bit lazy, really; I proofread and corrected the two books and checked the emails.

This week I haven’t got to go out all that much, so with any luck I will catch up not only with work but also, possibly, with life. Who knows – I might even get some exercise.

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