From the top down

It’s time to expend a bit of effort on my house; sorting it out has been my New Year’s resolution for years now, and I’ve really got to get on with it. A man came this week to look at what needs to be done with my gutters, and he said I should do things from the top down; get the missing roof tiles replaced first. So I’ve set things in motion for this, and the gutter work – but I can’t just leave the ground level stuff; soon I won’t be able to get my lovely new car up the drive because of all the weeds.

And of course there’s work, which does get in the way of life. It’s been busy this week. On Monday I caught up with all the emails, at last, and did lots of Artlift work, and paid the Poetry on Loan invoices – and pulled up a few of the weeds on the drive.

On Tuesday morning I worked at the hospital with a lovely lady, and drove to Cirencester for my last session this term with my group there. I tried to lock my car in the car park, and it started beeping, more and more loudly until it was in full alarm mode. I tried again; I started the engine and stopped it and tried again; I looked through the manual… but I didn’t have much time before the start of my session, and in the end I had to phone the dealers. Apparently sometimes it thinks a door is open when it isn’t, so all I had to do was open the doors and shut them again. All ok – phew! The session went well, and in the evening we had a quick TADS meeting, and I did the writeups and had a long phone call from The Brother – there’s still loads to sort out with probate and so on.

And I wasted a bit of time. We found a lot of slide photos at my mum’s house, and The Bloke has used a spiffy gadget to put these in digital form. I really had to look at them, didn’t I? It was fascinating to see early photos of family picnics, out on the hillsides, with my dad wearing a collar and tie, as men did in those days for picnics.

On Wednesday I had to see my dentist for a complicated bit of work, and then a lot of Artlift stuff, and some invoicing and emails. In the evening we saw The secret life of pets, which had amazing animation and brilliant fur.

On Thursday I had to catch up with Poetry on Loan work, plus yet more Artlift stuff, and then I went on an adventure. Ok, it wouldn’t have been an adventure a few years ago, but now a trip like this is something I have to prepare for. My favourite band is called the Indelicates, and they hardly ever perform live, and in the past I haven’t been able to go to their live gigs – but they were on in Camden on Thursday night, and I could go. So, four hours’ travel there (including two hours in the car, which turned out to be supremely comfortable for motorway driving), and four hours’ travel back, and four hours’ hanging around and listening to three other bands (who were, frankly, not very good at all) and just over an hour of the Indelicates. It was worth every minute. It was even worth scraping my knee and wrenching my shoulder because I was running to catch my train afterwards and fell over (thank you to the kind stranger who helped me up and made sure I was ok). I got home at 3 am.

Not surprisingly, I was up late on Friday morning. I wrote the TADS meeting minutes, and did my end-of-month accounting and handled the snail mail, and paid my income tax bill. A bit more Artlift work, and it was off to Ledbury – first a Poetry Festival Board meeting, then the Festival launch, and in the evening the launch event for the anthology. As my reader will remember, I spent hours and hours working on this anthology, and now it actually exists – a magnificent collection of new poems by more than 200 poets who have appeared at the festival over the last 20 years. The event went well; about 15 poets reading their poems from the anthology and some other poems too. And they gave me a big bunch of flowers to say thanks – totally unexpected, but very nice.

And on Saturday the gutter man came, and told me to approach things from the top down. All very well – but in the afternoon I went to look at carpets; feet are important too. On Sunday The Bloke and I decided on a whim to go to Bridgnorth – I had never been on the funicular railway there. Off we went, for a very pleasant afternoon – a stroll along the river; music and people dressed up for the 40s weekend at the Severn Valley railway; a very good ice cream – and the funicular railway. We went from the top down…

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