It’s been a hard week. On Monday I paid invoices and caught up only to Friday’s emails, and then set off to visit my mother in Humberside. Her house, where I stay when I go there, was freezing cold – something was wrong with the heating settings – but I wrapped myself up and typed up the TADS meeting minutes. Seeing my mother was a strain, as it usually is, but at least I managed to make her laugh at one point, and I bought her some jumpers and other things she needed. When I got home on Tuesday evening I caught up with email up to Monday and sent an update about the Ledbury Poetry Festival project I’ve been working on.

On Wednesday I had a good session at Hereford hospital, and practised for a talk I was giving on Friday. I gave blood in the afternoon – my 60th donation, and the first time I have ever felt faint and dizzy afterwards. I was only just within the limits for taking it though; I’m always, it seems, on the verge of anaemia. I did the hospital writeup and checked and sent out the TADS minutes, and caught up with all the emails. In the evening we went to see Steve Jobs, which was an excellent film. Some of the critics had complained that it had too many words, but that made it ideal for me.

We’ve got a Poetry on Loan training session coming up, and on Thursday I finished the plan for it and emailed all the attendees. At this point there are always some who reply to say they can’t come after all. I had a long phone call with The Brother, made some corrections to books and ordered some reprints, and prepared – for an Artlift Board meeting in the evening, for the talk I was to give on Friday, and for the group of young people I work with in Pershore. And I sent out a whole load of emails reminding poets about the Ledbury Poetry Festival project.

In the evening I went to the Artlift Board meeting to take the minutes. I probably shouldn’t have said anything at all, but when could I ever go to a meeting and not say anything? Afterwards we had a little get-together with most of the Artlift artists, to give a presentation to the lovely Simon Opher, the GP who started Artlift off; he has just resigned as Chair because of conflicting interests with his work. It all went well.

I had a good session at Cheltenham hospital on Friday – only one session left there now this year. I had to call in at a bank in Tewkesbury to get my identity confirmed for the power of attorney, which was fairly painless, and I almost caught up with emails again. I had to do a bit of clearing. Today I am having my back door replaced – the one that had the slugs living in it – and my patio doors, and I had to get stuff out of the way.

And then – ooh! Into posh evening frock, and off to give a talk to the Soroptimists’ dinner in Stourbridge. This was the occasion last year of a terrible embarrassment, when I turned up the night after the dinner (although I did have the excuse that they had originally given me the wrong date). This time, there had been an accident on the M5, and for a few horrible moments I thought I wasn’t going to make it again. But I managed to contact them, and I arrived later than I had hoped but still in time, and they were all lovely people who responded well to my talk and even bought s few books afterwards. I didn’t get home until about 00:30, though…

…and on Saturday morning I was working with the kids in Pershore. Last time we started writing a play, and this time we had to finish it, and get at least two runthroughs done; next month we’ll be presenting it for their parents. It was hard work, with so many kids, but we got it all done.

I answered some emails when I got home, but I was really, really tired, and I went round to The Bloke’s house and fell onto the sofa, where I stayed, more or less, for the rest of the weekend. I did write up the Artlift Board minutes, though, and typed up the Pershore play.

And now I am hiding in my office while three big men knock holes in my house. I hate having anything done in the house, but at least by the end of the day it will all be over. I hope. Meanwhile I’ve got to crack on, and start the shattering process all over again.

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