It’s been a bit of a difficult week. I took my car in to be serviced on Monday – a big service, so I knew it was going to cost a lot. They phoned me several times during the day; there were issues, strange ones that couldn’t be explained and were not easy (or cheap) to fix, and it wasn’t going to be ready until Tuesday. Meanwhile, I sanded down a damp-affected wall, and skimmed it to get a better finish. I did a lot of Artlift work, and put some stuff in the loft, and did some practice, and answered all the emails, and made a few changes to the Cheltenham hospital book.

On Tuesday I did more sanding and filling – and found some rot in a skirting board. Sigh. This had to be treated with wood hardener, and filled, and I got that done. Never underestimate the decorating difficulties of living in an old house. I collected the car. £970. Gulp. I drove to some nearby shops and tried to lock it, and the alarm went off – so, back to the garage – a main dealer, not just some back street place – and they fixed it, with many apologies. I came home and did some painting, which is always soothing, and then to Ross, to give a talk with poems for the cancer support group there. It seemed to go down ok. In the evening I saw Get out, which was ok but not as good as the critics seem to think; it’s an idea that’s not completely original.

On Wednesday I did more sanding and painting, and then spent ages with my pensions adviser, trying to sort out a change to my pension, on the phone. This was not easy, and it was compounded later on when I tried to make some payments from my bank. Just one frustration after another, and sorting out financial affairs is not how I want to spend my time. But I had a good session at the hospital, and did lots of Artlift stuff; it’s good to get it all done. And hooray! – Artlift has funding for another year.

On Thursday I caught up with the emails, and painted some walls, and had a haircut – just a trim. I did all the white gloss painting (so I thought) and did more Artlift stuff, and in the evening went to see Hollie McNish, in a gig in Worcester – a Poetry on Loan gig. She was terrific, and they got a really big audience.

On Friday I did my finances, and did the black painting, and some gardening; and then I noticed that now I had painted the skirting boards, the radiators looked very dull, so I had to do them, too. I had an excellent bonfire; it’s one of my few skills, making bonfires. Perhaps I’m a closet arsonist. And I did more Artlift work.

So far, this week wasn’t very creative, apart from my decorating, which isn’t really creative at all. But on Friday night I wrote four poems. They have obviously been waiting to come out.

Over the weekend I bought a curtain pole, and The Bloke fixed it up, and I did a little bit more touching up.

So, a week of frustrations, mostly overcome. But today – today I will be performing poems in the House of Lords, for an Artlift charity event, to an audience including some of the great and good – although of course, they are just people, like my usual audiences. I spent some time last week sorting out what I would wear, and in a few minutes I’ll be getting ready. The nerves are setting in. With any luck it will all go smoothly, with no frustrations.


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