Falling apart

It’s what we do, isn’t it? It all starts so well; we grow bigger and stronger and learn stuff, and then it all starts falling apart. My eyes are deteriorating, although they’re not actually bad yet, and yesterday one of my teeth disintegrated. My nice dentist has just phoned to give me an emergency appointment today, but that means I can’t go to the Ledbury Poetry Festival debrief meeting I had planned to attend.

And this weekend I had to take my big laptop – the one I’m using for this – away with me. I plugged it all back in this morning, and the remote keyboard won’t work, so I’m typing now on a keyboard I don’t really like much. Far too many typos!

Anyway, it’s been another busy week. Poetry Festival wash up stuff on Monday, plus prep and invoicing and picking the last blackcurrants. And I went to Andover, somewhere I’ve never been before, to run a workshop with a writing group. They were great, and they want me to go back. It was good to catch up with my old friend who is a member of the group, too.

On Tuesday I was in Uley, for the Artlift artists’ meeting. More catch-up opportunities, and these meetings are always uplifting. I caught up with all the emails (hooray!) and did some prep and practice and wrote a new poem, and went to the TADS meeting.

I’ve been running twice this week – Wednesday and Saturday – reducing my time again. Next time I’ll go a bit further.

I wrote an interim report for the work I do in Cheltenham hospital, and finally, finally finished weeding my whole drive. Phew. After some Poetry on Loan work, I did some more prep for the big job of painting the back of my house. It had been covered in Virginia creeper, which leaves bits stuck all over the walls, so I had to sand them off. I wrote the notes of the Artlift meeting, and in the evening was in a slam in an old church in Gloucester. First prize was to be poet-not-in-residence (far too cold to stay there) while they do renovations, and it was won by the lovely Jonny Fluffypunk. I came second, which suited me fine.

Yoga on Thursday, and then a meeting at the hospital about the Apollo project (my work with cancer patients and carers). Everyone seems pleased about how it’s going, and there’s a good chance that I’ll be able to continue for another three years after this. Hooray! This is such rewarding work that I really don’t want to stop doing it, ever.

Something special in the evening: as part of my work as poet in residence at John Masefield High School, I wrote a poem about the school, using a lot of words and ideas from the pupils. They liked the poem so much that they asked me to go to the prizegiving and read it out, which I did. It’s a lovely school and it was an honour to be there.

I did my usual weekly accounts on Friday morning and then ran a session at a hospice. We had more people there than ever before, which was good in a way but meant that I had less personal engagement with each of them. But after coming home (via the opticians), things fell apart a bit. A series of emails between someone I know well and a poet has led to a need for some strong intervention on my part. I know emails can lead to communications problems, and I know we all send emails and then wish we hadn’t, but sometimes people can be really unpleasant, and I feel they need to be brought to task about this. I need to sort it out, and I have to do it today.

I did a bit of gardening, and wrote the TADS meeting minutes, and did the hospice report, and finished my new play – well, the first draft; it still needs some work.

And on Saturday I went back to the opticians to choose my new glasses (red ones!) – always difficult because I have a tiny child’s face; and I did some sewing and typed up the poems written by the people at the hospice. And I wrote a poem. And my tooth fell to pieces.

Never mind – this week it’s going to be good weather, and I can get to work on the back wall – filling and painting. The opposite of falling apart.

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