Penguins and progress

My new play is called Rocks off. I find it very difficult to explain when people ask me what it’s about, and I usually just say that it’s got penguins in it. Not real penguins, obviously. Things need to happen to get the play ready, and it’s been a bit frustrating this week because they haven’t happened yet. But anyway, on Monday I spent a bit of time preparing for the rehearsal in the evening, and more time preparing for a meeting on Wednesday, and I caught up with all the emails – hooray!

Every now and then I work with a little group of writers who started off as members of my Artlift group in Tewkesbury; they’re still meeting now after years. On Monday I had a session with them and made them work really hard; they were terrific! I had a nice email afterwards from one of them, who said I had started her writing again, which was lovely. In the evening the rehearsal went ok, although some people still don’t know their lines properly; we have to get through this stage so that we can work on all the little nuances that will make it as good as possible.

On Tuesday I finished all the arrangements for a project I’ll be starting in Hereford in March, working with people with chronic pain – that’s two chronic pain projects I’m working on! I did lots of Poetry on Loan work and Artlift work, and had a session with my group in Cirencester. I love doing this stuff; it was another really good session with people who are keen to improve their writing, and very supportive of each other. I did all the write-ups, had a long call with The Daughter, and went to see Dad’s Army. The critics were right; it’s really not a very good movie.

I worked at the hospice again on Wednesday. There was a comment: It’s wonderful what words can do, isn’t it? You think you can’t think of anything, and then it all just flows. Oh yes. In the afternoon I had a meeting about the Gloucestershire men with pain project, which went really well – good progress! Afterwards I visited a possible venue for this, which has now become a definite venue. I spent the whole evening answering emails – it took me until after 11 pm.

On Thursday morning I had to have a blood test, and then had my penultimate session at Hereford hospital, which was a very good one. I called in at the Ledbury Poetry Festival office on the way back. I’m going to be hosting a Poetry by Heart event (young people reciting poems) soon, and we needed to sort out some of the details. Lots of writing up in the afternoon, and then a chunk of Artlift work, and a long call from The Son.

I’ve been working on another project for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, and my bit was near its end this week, but I had to spend ages and ages sorting stuff into the right order. Tedious work, but someone had to do it. I did about two-thirds of it on Thursday, and finished it on Friday. My work here was done, and I must say I breathed a big sigh of relief. It has taken a lot of time, and it’s unpaid work; but still, a worthwhile accomplishment.

I had a good session at Cheltenham hospital on Friday morning, and answered emails, and wrote a formal proposal for my Hereford pain project, and was asked about another project, and made something special for The Bloke for Valentine’s Day, and even did some ironing.

On Saturday I had to prepare some Artlift statistics, and I managed a little bit of tidying. And then a little treat – a trip with the Daughter to buy wedding accessories. I have never worn a tiara myself, but she is going to, and we found one that will look lovely with her dress. Tiara-shopping! That really rocks.

And on Sunday I went to look at penguins. In Birdland in Broughton-on-the-Water, you can get right up close to the penguins. I wanted to see how they stand and move – a bit of research for my play. For once it didn’t rain in Broughton, which was a bonus – and in the evening on TV were two programmes with penguins in. There’s something very endearing about penguins…

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