Why me?

I’ve had some first world problems this week – trivial things, really, but I can’t help wondering why they (whoever they are) should pick on me.

Not much proper work at the start of the week; I had saved this time for painting the end bit of my front wall – and I did it all. Unfortunately I hurt my back while I was doing it – twisting awkwardly while I was up a ladder – and it’s only just better today. I did loads of prep.

On Tuesday I had a really good session at the hospital, and went from there for my last session with my Cirencester group. Only two people turned up – not surprising, because it was a lovely day and three of them had already told me they wouldn’t be able to come. The two that were there suggested that we should have our session in the park, so we did, and it was very pleasant. In the evening I saw My cousin Rachel; riding the escalator down afterwards was more exciting than the film.

I did all the writeups on Wednesday, and all the collation of info that has to be done at the end of an Artlift term, and mowed the lawns. I caught up with all the emails and did lots of Poetry on Loan website stuff.

On Thursday I had a short session with the pupils from John Masefield High School who will be reading their poems in the Ledbury Poetry Festival opening event. They were a bit nervous, but I think they will be fine on the day.

And I had a ransomware email. If I didn’t pay one bitcoin (about $2900), all my files would be frozen. I thought this was probably a hoax – I mean, why me? – but I couldn’t find anything about it on the Net. In the end I phoned my email provider, and they were very helpful and said yes, it was definitely a hoax. I was still a bit worried, though, until the deadline passed.

In the evening I did something unusual. When I was working for Herefordshire libraries, I spoke occasionally to Mick Ligema, who also worked there and was a poet too. He died last year, and Herefordshire libraries held a memorial event for him; I read quite a lot of his poems, together with other pieces he had liked. It was great fun reading Like a rolling stone as a poem, but Mick’s poems were harder than I had expected; his wife was in the audience and I could see that she was in tears sometimes. But it all went well, and I was glad to have been involved. And I wrote a poem.

On Friday I was working at a hospice. Just before my session started, The Son phoned to say that my Facebook account had been hacked. Someone had set up a fake page with my name and my photos on it, and started sending messages to my Facebook friends. They very quickly realised that it was a fake (the messages were (a) ungrammatical and (b) kept thanking god for good fortune – clearly not me), and The Son got everyone to complain to Facebook. They took the fake page down quite quickly; in fact it was all over before I got home, and no damage was caused.

But again, why me? The fact that I was working in a hospice at the time somehow made it feel worse.

But of course, other people have had real problems this week, and once again, I am made to realise just how lucky I am.

On Friday evening, the kids from my young people’s group were reading their pieces at an Evesham Festival of Words event. They did splendidly, and I was really proud of them.

And on Saturday I went to Blakenall, which is part of Walsall. I was working at a community event, the Big Lunch, and I spoke to loads of people and gathered lots of lines, and produced two crowdsourced poems. It was a lovely day, and the people were friendly, and there was even cake. What more could anyone ask?

Well, one thing more – I wrote another two poems over the weekend. I seem to be getting inspiration from all sorts of things at the moment.

And over the weekend I also typed up everything I needed to type up, and now I’m feeling a bit end-of-termish, because I have very few work commitments now until September.

Why me? Why should I be so fortunate?


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