Gosh, what a week! On Monday I caught up with emails and writeups, and went to Gloucester services again, this time for an Artlift Board meeting. I did some invoicing, and wrote the minutes for last week’s TADS meeting, and phoned the Hull register office. Again. They said someone would phone back. Did they? Well, no, of course not.

So on Tuesday I phoned again. I’ve paid for the certificates to be sent recorded delivery, I said. Please could you let me have the tracking number, so I can find out what’s happened to them? And eventually they told me that they had by mistake sent them by ordinary mail. Fortunately, they arrived, just in time for my trip to Cheshire. I did lots of work on the Poetry on Loan recommended poetry book list, and worked with my Cirencester group, who were as good as ever. I went for a swim on the way home, and did some slam practice and writeups and emailing, and went to see Our kind of traitor – good, but not outstanding.

On Wednesday I had my final Plumlines workshop, in Worcester – only two women there, but they wrote terrific poems. My Plumlines song has now been accepted, so I have to wait and see what the poor composer makes of it. I made quite a few phone calls concerned with the funeral etc., and packed and set off for Cheshire. I stayed in my mum’s house; it felt very empty and a bit strange, but it was ok. I did lots of practice for the slam on the way up, and some work on the Artlift meeting minutes when I got there.

And on Thursday – well, I went to see my mum’s accountant, and her solicitor; I did some more work on the minutes; I had a long talk with the minister at the church where the funeral will be, and went to see the funeral director. That was quite a lot for one day, but I then drove to Macclesfield to test drive a car (I really didn’t like it), and then to Audlem for a slam. The Audlem slams are run by the lovely Emma Purshouse; she has been asking me to take part for years, but something has always come up that has prevented me – and it is a long way from home. But this time I made it – and won! Very pleasing, and unexpected. It was a bit more than an hour back to my mother’s house, and by then I was whacked. But I started reading my mother’s diaries. I’m not sure whether this is a good idea; it has confirmed some things, but here have been some surprises.

The next day I started sorting out my mum’s things. I took 6 bags of stuff away with me, but you wouldn’t know anyone had touched a thing. The house is full! While I was up north, I went to Preston to test drive another car, which was very nice and became the front-runner in my quest.

But it took me over 5 hours to get home; a long and tedious journey, with a stop at a charity shop to drop off some of the bags. Just time to do loads of tidying and cleaning, and catch up with the emails, and do some prep for this week.

On Saturday I finished the cleaning – hooray! My house looks reasonable again. More emails and some more prep, so everything was ready… because on Saturday I went out for a birthday meal with The Son and The Daughter, who are always good fun…

…And on Sunday it was my actual birthday. I had lots of lovely presents, including a trip up to the top of the O2 building. You have to be harnessed and clipped to a wire, and it’s quite steep, but worth it for the views and the strange feeling of being there. While we were in London, The Bloke and I had a ride on the cable car across the Thames – more great views. It was a lovely day, except that I had a sore throat and really didn’t feel too good; obviously getting a cold. And nobody sang Happy birthday to me.

I haven’t been too bad today, though, and I ordered all the food for the funeral gathering (which took ages) and went to see another car. This is the car I really want. It costs more than I wanted to pay, but it will be my last motoring indulgence – after this it will be granny cars, I suppose – so I’m going to buy it.

I’ve finished the minutes, and caught up with all the emails. But now the cold has set in, and I’m feeling really tired again, and facing the week ahead without much enthusiasm. I’ll be fine when I get going, though – I really don’t have enough time to be tired.

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