All work, all play

I may have mentioned before how much I love my work. This week, it’s been really full on, and I’ve enjoyed every minute – well, except for problems with my emails, but nobody enjoys that, do they?

Monday was mostly admin – prep, and practice for various gigs, and emails, and notifying people about my change of email address. Even that wasn’t too bad, it reminded me about people I haven’t been in touch with for ages, and I wrote individual emails to some of them. In the evening I went to Licensed to Rhyme in Bromsgrove, to hear Steve Pottinger (who was headlining) and to do a 10-minute slot myself. It was a really good evening; I haven’t heard Steve before and I bought one of his books – well worth reading.

On Tuesday I was working with the Coach House writers – a very experienced group, who meet every week. This was fun because they had asked me to do a playwriting workshop, and I don’t get to do this very often. In the afternoon I worked with my group in Cirencester, which has grown a bit; they worked really hard and did some good writing. In the evening I did writeups and had a bonfire – a huge heap of old wood now burned down to a small mound of ash.

On Wednesday I ran a workshop for the Recovery College – people recovering from mental health issues. This was mostly life writing, and again, they did some excellent work. And in the afternoon it was off to Hereford for the group of people referred by the pain clinic; yet another really good workshop. Is this getting repetitive? I answered emails and did some practice in the evening.

And on Thursday I was in John Masefield High School, where I am poet in residence – this time for performance workshops, because some of the kids will be reading their poems at the Ledbury Poetry Festival. It wasn’t easy choosing the ones who will perform, but it was lovely seeing their confidence grow and their readings improve after constructive criticism. In the evening I caught up with all the emails, despite some problems with my email service.

Friday was a bit different. I have a cousin who is rather eccentric and lives alone, and I occasionally spend some time with him. We went to Blenheim Palace, accompanied by a friend of his I have met before, and had tours of some of the private rooms. To be honest, this isn’t my cup of tea. I get a bit angry about all the conspicuous consumption, and really, when you’ve seen one room in a stately home with its four-poster bed and tapestries, all the others don’t have a lot to offer. The tour guides were good, though, but I was feeling a bit faint by the end. When I got home, there was an urgent request for me to do something by Tuesday – quite a lot, and I was busy over the weekend, so I must spend a lot of today getting it all done.

And then to the Cheltenham Poetry Festival slam. I’ve entered this a number of times and never won it. Despite some organisational problems, it was a good evening. The scoring system was a bit weird, with scores out of 30 with no decimal points, so not surprisingly there was more than one tie – including the final result – I came joint first with Tina Sederholm. We both get a paid gig in the Festival next year, which is nice.

On Saturday I had my kids’ group in Pershore; they worked really hard and we got a lot done. Still not finished, though – I went straight from there to an open day thing in Tewkesbury, where TADS had a stall; I did a 15-minute set in a hall full of people, all talking to each other the whole time, except for four lovely people who actually listened. And on Sunday I did some work on the urgent thing, and not much else. Phew! What a wonderful week!


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