A gift of time

Happy Leap Year Day! Don’t often get a chance to say that, so I thought I would. I was unexpectedly given some time this week – not for good reasons, unfortunately – but it’s a bit like a leap year day. I’ve always thought that if I had an extra day each week when nobody else was doing anything, I would easily keep on top of all I have to do.

Monday was pretty normal – catching up with emails; lots of work on the Artlift website; writing minutes of the TADS meeting; prep for an Artlift board meeting. The Artlift meeting was held in a meeting room as part of the Gloucester M5 services. This is an amazing place, unlike any other motorway services; it’s like a big farm shop, and it’s run jointly by a business and a local charity. Definitely the place to stop.

The meeting went fine, but the rehearsal in the evening didn’t. I’m getting a little worried, now. One of the cast really doesn’t know her cues; she’s ok with the lines but isn’t sure when to say them. When this has happened in the past I’ve spent an hour or two working alone with that person, and I tried very hard this week to get this person to accept my offer of help, but she wouldn’t – and I don’t know why. It’s really odd. I just hope she gets it all right this evening, because she can’t really start acting until she’s confident about what she is going to say and when. Oh well.

Lots of emails on Tuesday. I ran through the talk I’m giving this week to check the timings, and it’s spot on – hooray! In the afternoon I worked with my lovely group in Cirencester, and later practised the set I would be doing on Saturday, and wrote the minutes of the Artlift meeting and the evaluation report for my Hereford hospital work. I started on a plan for the training course I’ll be running soon, with four other people. I had to be careful to make sure everyone gets an equal go at doing things, so it was a bit more complicated than usual.

I finished the plan on Wednesday, answered emails, and went up in the loft again, this time to look for the white dinner jacket that I thought might be up there. There are many, many things up in my loft, but apparently a white dinner jacket isn’t one of them. I did lots of Artlift work and a bit more prep for the event on Saturday, and in the evening The Bloke and I went to see Hateful Eight, the latest Tarantino movie. It was clever, as his movies usually are, and a bit spurty, as his movies always are. Good, but really a bit too long.

But next day The Bloke had to set off for the Highlands. His mother really is near her end, it seems, and wasn’t expected to last past the weekend. This time I really couldn’t go with him, because it would have meant letting people down badly for the things I had to do on Saturday. I felt bad about not going, but he understood completely.

I went to Cheltenham hospital and had a good session, and took some Artlift forms to the university (where our number-crunchers and evaluators live). I wrote up all the hospital stuff and did loads of Artlift work. The Bloke, bless him, had spotted a white dinner jacket on eBay; I bought it immediately, and as the sellers lived in Gloucester, I went and collected it on Thursday evening. At least we now have all the costume for the play.

Friday was accounts day, as usual, followed by lots of prep and practice. And I finished a little writing project that’s been hanging over me for months – what a relief! More Artlift work – there has been a lot of this recently, and it won’t calm down for a while yet.

Saturday was a proper work day. In the morning I worked with my young people’s group in Pershore, and they were terrific, showing real imagination in the stories they wrote. More young people in the afternoon, with the Poetry by Heart competition. The young people were excellent with their recitations, much better than I had expected. I had to do a set while the judges were deliberating, and I felt under a lot of pressure to get it all right. It seemed to go down well, although about two-thirds of the way through I got cramp in my foot, and had to remember what my old ice-skating tutor used to say – Skate through the pain. The whole thing went off ok, in spite of a rather worrying incident just before the start.

And now I had time. I really enjoy my weekends with The Bloke – I actually relax for about 24 hours, and I get fed and spoilt – it’s lovely! But this weekend, he was still up in Scotland, so I had a chance to catch up with things. I did the Pershore writeup, and prepared some invoices, and caught up with all the emails, and did some online training. This is for Artlift, and it’s very, very tedious; I have to sit and listen while someone reads the words printed on the screen, and it drives me up the wall. Three sessions down now, and five to go. Why can’t I just read it all?

On Sunday The poor Bloke was still with his mother, so I did a lot – even some tidying! I practised for the talk this week; I touched up the paint outside that had been scuffed when my new doors were fitted; I submitted some poems for a magazine; I did some Poetry on Loan work, and some work on the play; more Artlift online training and a lot of work on Artlift statistics. I even did a bit of Spanish learning.

But last night I hardly slept at all. I need the gift of sleep, as well as the gift of time, but I think that’s really asking too much, when life is a gift already.


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