Saying goodbye

I am terrible at saying goodbye – to things or people – but sometimes it’s inevitable.

This week the Director of Artlift announced her resignation; she’s been with the organisation right from the start, so this will mean quite a few changes. But my years of working for all sorts of organisations have told me that nobody in a work position is irreplaceable.

Changing the cartridge in my printer was less serious, of course, but what can you do with old laser cartridges? They won’t take them at the recycling centre, but I’m sure there must be a use for them; I don’t want just to throw them away. Otherwise Monday was a prep day; sorting out lots of bits and pieces and digging up my first batch of home-grown spuds. Jolly nice they were, too.

On Tuesday I had to do some proof-reading, but I took advantage of the weather and pruned savagely a hazel tree. My garden is now full of hazel trees, planted by squirrels. I should get rid of them really (the trees, not the squirrels), but I do like to have squirrels in the garden (I saw one there on Friday) and having the trees is the best way to feed them. I had to go up a ladder to mend my washing line, which I suspect was damaged when my next-door neighbour trimmed the high hedge, and I did lots of practice for my two gigs, and had a good session with my Cirencester group.

In the evening I saw Swiss army man. If you like quirky films, I can thoroughly recommend this – it was strange and lovely, although very, very odd.

Wednesday was emails and writeups, and a very good session at the hospital; more practice and a brilliant session with my little group at The Roses, who are truly amazing. I caught up with emails, and wrote a poem.

I did some more Artlift stuff on Thursday, and quite a bit of Poetry on Loan work, too, and started clearing one of the rooms full of stuff from my mum’s house. And then off to Willenhall, for a gig on the library. It was a lovely audience; the room was quite small, but it was full, and they responded well. I went straight from there, via a park and ride, to Birmingham, for the event to launch the Literature Festival there. The new Birmingham Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate were announced – I was on the judging panel, and it was good to see them have their moment of recognition.

Friday was, as usual, accounts day, and then prep for Friday evening and Saturday. And I got completely up-to-date with emails! And nearly finished clearing one room. Not quite, though – I had to leave to get to Stoke, for my second gig. This went really well, too – the lovely Emma from Stoke libraries looked after me and the other poet, Mark Blayney, really well, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Bad journey back, but never mind.

And on Saturday I hired a van, and The Bloke and I went to clear the last things we wanted from my mum’s house, and to pick the apples off her tree for the last time. My parents lived in that house for about 40 years, and it was sad. The man who has bought the house is going to clear it all, and so many things were  left behind to be disposed of; it seemed mean to leave so much stuff, but what can you do? You can’t keep everything.

On Sunday we unloaded it all. I now have a new dining suite (which I’m not too keen on, now it’s in place) and a lovely swing seat in my garden. And a whole heap of stuff covering the floor of one room, that I will sort out when I can. Sigh.

Both The Son and The Daughter were home for a while on Sunday, which was always nice, and now The Son has decided on a date for his wedding next year. Another goodbye, I guess.


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