And what have we done?

Well, this week, I’ve got everything ready for Christmas, and cooked, and eaten too much. Oh, and I saw the new Star Wars movie, which was really disappointing – just a re-hash of no. 4 but with worse script and acting. And I’ve done my report for the year on my work at Cheltenham hospital, and had some lovely presents – thank you!

But it’s time for my round-up of the year’s activities.

I’ve worked a lot at Cheltenham Hospital and at Hereford Hospital; work which is always rewarding and which I think does quite a lot of good.

I’ve run writing courses for groups in Longlevens and Cirencester, and done instant poetry for Croome Park, and given talks to four groups of people. I’ve run a project for kids, writing poetry about World War 1, and run a group once a month for kids in Pershore, and stepped in to work with kids for a Ledbury Poetry Festival project.

I’ve judged or helped to judge three poetry competitions.

As a result of all of these I have put together four books and put on a play and a performance with various groups – things that make the work special for people.

For Poetry on Loan, I’ve helped organise loads of events, and get some beautiful poetry postcards made, and run the competition, and helped run two courses.

For Artlift, I’ve done lots of boring, menial stuff, and some rather more complicated and interesting statistical stuff.

For TADS, I’ve directed and acted in a one-act play wot I wrote, and I’m about to start directing another. And, after several years, we have finally managed to change the signatories on our bank account. Until you have tried to do this, you can’t appreciate what an achievement it is.

I’ve given performances in Stourbridge, Reading, Worcester, Cheltenham (twice), Birmingham, Walsall and Tewkesbury.

I’ve written some new poems but not as many as I would like, because events drove out all creativity from my mind for a while; and one new play, that I’m quite pleased with.

I won the Ledbury Poetry Festival Slam. And I achieved something that I have been trying to do for 19 years. Finally, I won the Cheltenham Allstars slam; my Everest.

There has been some sadness: the deaths of my favourite uncle and The Bloke’s father, and my mother’s illness. She has made a very good recovery and is settling down well now, but for a few months this more or less took over the lives of me and The Brother.

The bathroom leak has been fixed and the walls and carpet dried out; the freezer warning bleep had been stopped; the back door and patio doors have been replaced after my discovery that slugs were living within the rot. We’ve knocked down the dilapidated shed, but done only a very small amount of decorating because of all the time spent travelling to and from Humberside. The poor garden has been sadly neglected, although there don’t seem to be as many molehills this year.

Both The Son and The Daughter are engaged now – hooray!

And I’ve had a lot of fun – some swimming earlier in the year (I must start this again!); Segway, zip wire, quad bikes, hovercraft, trampolines, and snow leopards have all featured. And I’ve seen Paul McCartney live, and been to Disneyland (very cold) and to Santorini (beautifully warm).

And I have handled thousands and thousands and thousands of emails.

I guess it’s been a year like many other people have had; lots of fun and some inevitable sadness. Roll on the next one. I wonder what it will be like?

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