How do you get to be like that?

This was a question my mother asked me – but more of that later. Still v busy!

The rehearsal on Monday didn’t go too well. There’s always one rehearsal in which the cast, who thought they knew their lines, realise that in fact they still have a lot to do. It’s salutary, and is good for jogging them into action. I came home and answered emails; not up-to-date yet.

On Tuesday I went to the final Artlift session of the term in Cheltenham; lots of lovely people who all said that Artlift had worked wonders for them. In the afternoon I had my terrific Cirencester group, and I managed to answer more emails before going to see Spotlight  – another very good film; worth seeing.

On Wednesday I worked in Hereford hospital – an excellent session. I met a woman there who was having a biopsy. I said she didn’t seem very worried about it, and she replied, “Why should I worry? I’m 84! Every day is a bonus.” She was terrific, and taught me a lot about sheep (she used to be a sheep farmer).

I called in at the Ledbury Poetry Festival office on my way back to collect a big book. In a couple of week I will be mc of a Poetry by Heart event – young people reciting poems – and this was the book from which they must choose their poems. I am supposed to do a set that’s in keeping with the poems that the kids use, but that’s going to be difficult without knowing what they are – it’s a huge book, with a  wide range of poems! I came home and answered Artlift emails, and packed.

That evening I drove to stay with The Brother. I met him and his wife in the pub where they were taking part in a quiz. We came second to last – but then one round was all about Game of Thrones, and none of us had seen it or read it, so we were scuppered.

The next day I spent visiting The Mother, who is not very well. She complains just about all the time. I think that it’s because she has gone from being an independent woman managing her own affairs to living in a care home; she has nothing real to worry about so she worries about nothing. I told her about the lady I had met in the hospital, and she said, “Yes, that’s the right attitude. I wonder how you get to be like that?”

I think I know the answer to her question, but I didn’t say anything to her about it then; perhaps next time.

Anyway, four hours in a room heated to the point where it’s heaven for bugs and viruses, with a lot of old ladies all suffering from colds and flu – what could possibly go wrong? Sure enough, by the weekend my own cold had emerged. I haven’t had one for ages, so I can’t complain, and it’s no too bad. And it took me four and a half hours to get home, ready to hit the emails again.

On Friday I had planned to go into Cheltenham hospital, but I was developing a sore throat and thought it best not to – and anyway, I really needed a whole day to catch up with everything. I didn’t quite manage everything, but I did get nearly up-to-date with the emails, and did lots of prep for this week, and sorted out the bookings for a Poetry on Loan course, and did all my writeups for the week, and did a lot of Artlift work.

On Saturday morning I really caught up with all the emails, did some more prep, and even did a bit of tidying. It felt good to have got so much done. And that’s the answer to the question really – how do you get to be like that? By looking and what you have done, rather than what you haven’t; by thinking about at what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

I want to be like that when I’m 84.


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