Progress

Well, I am making progress, I suppose, although there is still a lot to do. I spent about an hour on the phone on Monday to Hull Register Office, just to pay for death certificates. I said it last week – surely there must be a better way. What’s worse is that I still haven’t received them, or the green form which I have to give to the funeral directors so that they can collect the body. They should have been sent recorded delivery; when I phoned the Register Office again, they said that it could take up to 10 working days. What? Really? How can it possibly take that long?

But anyway. I finished writing the eulogy and emailed it to my brother, who thought it was just right; I did the writeup for my kids’ group; and I phoned everyone whose number was in my mum’s phone, which took a very long time. And I answered all the funeral director’s questions., and finished the book of Hereford Hospital pieces, at last; I was waiting for an intro written by my main contact there.

And on Monday evening I had a terrific bonfire; one of my best. Lots of branches from an old tree, and about a third of my poor old shed, reduced to a neat little mound of ash.

I also started work on something for Artlift that has been on my list for ages – sending follow-up letters to past participants. This was a big job, but I finished it on Friday. Hooray!

On Tuesday I caught up with all the emails and did a lot of funeral stuff, and had an excellent session with my group in Cirencester. Wednesday was the hospital in Cheltenham; two really amazing people, so positive that it made me feel uplifted. I had a swim and wrote up the hospital stuff (not at the same time), did a lot of Artlift work, and paid all the outstanding Poetry on Loan invoices.

On Thursday I had a long phone call with a very well-known poet who was worried about the format of her poem in the Ledbury Poetry Festival anthology. I had to read it out to her, word by word, comma by comma, before she was happy. I couldn’t help mentioning that I had made one correction – she had inadvertently made the capital letter for a person’s name a small one. Hah! But she was left content; job done. And with the help of various grandchildren, I finally decided the music for the funeral and cremation. Personally, I would choose something a bit more upbeat for the finishing music, but I was happy to go along with what the others wanted.

I did some prep for this week and finished off the minutes for the Poetry on Loan meeting, and had a Pilates class, or pirates class, as I like to think of it; stretching and good for me. Ah-harr. And I answered loads of emails.

The song I have written for the Croome project had been looked at by a committee, who wanted changes. Some of them made me a bit cross – they seemed to have forgotten that this is a song that has to be sung, and that that influences the words that you use. But they had asked for more, with some really difficult things to fit in – and on Friday I did it. I did my weekly finances, and went off to Gloucester services on the M5. This is a fantastic place, with a green roof and a farm shop full of locally-sourced food, and I was there to gather comments for a crowd-sourced poem, which I wrote that night. I haven’t sent it to them yet, but I think they will like it.

And I called in at my mum’s bank, to get past statements. This should be easy, shouldn’t it? No, of course not. I did a lot of prep, and mowed the grass, and went to the TADS meeting; all is going well for our next major production, but of course I’m not really involved; I just don’t have space in my life for everything I would like to do.

On Saturday morning I had a Plumlines workshop (poetry about women in World War 1) in Pershore. Only one woman turned up, unfortunately, but she really enjoyed it and found it very worthwhile. I tidied up a bit, and went off with The Bloke to do some specific shopping. I’ve found a hat that fits and looks nice; not my kind of thing, but required, apparently, for the daughter’s wedding. It was white with pink and yellow flowers. My dress is white with blue flowers. But some blue fabric paint and a length of blue ribbon and – voilà! – the perfect hat. And I proofread the hospital book.

Sunday was quiet, with a visit to a bonsai place (out of curiosity), a look at a rather nice car, some sewing, putting the funeral music on cds, and the finishing touches to the hat.

And this week, I should make even more progress – but a lot of that depends on other people.

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