It’s been busy this week! On Monday I went to Birmingham for an interview for some work in a school. I was surprised that they interviewed me, and even more surprised to find later in the week that I’ve got the job; I really thought that the interview hadn’t gone well. It all starts this coming Friday, so not much time to prepare. When I got home I just dealt with emails.

I has a really good session at the hospital on Tuesday; the resilience of some people is very moving, and if I can help them even a tiny bit it’s a privilege. I practised, as I have done every day this week – lots of gigs to work for. I started work on the big back wall, mowed the grass, did some prep, answered emails, and did the hospital writeup.

I spent the whole day on Wednesday in John Masefield High School in Ledbury. I’m their Poet in Residence, and this term we’re working on collaborative poems, with a view to performing, in groups, at the Ledbury Poetry Festival opening event. It was full on, but they’re great kids and I enjoyed it. And I washed my car! It’s all sparkly now. More writeups, and then yet another check of the manuscript of my new book. I sent emails to a couple of poets asking them to write endorsements for the back cover. These are well-known people; one replied the next day with a lovely endorsement, and one sent a very kind email saying that he didn’t think he knew my work well enough, but that I mustn’t feel bad about asking. Bless! And I caught up with the emails!

On Thursday I did some work on the Poetry on Loan recommended poetry book list, and started painting the big back wall. I don’t like doing this, because it’s blank and boring (no beams, unlike the rest of the house), and I have to work in a confined space – but it has to be done. In the afternoon I attended the LPF AGM, Board meeting and operational meeting, then did some more PoL work and handled yet more emails. Honestly, I’m groaning under the weight of emails at the moment.

Friday was, as usual, finances day, and then I had to go out to collect some things I’d ordered and buy more masonry paint. I did more painting. The problem with using a roller on a rough wall, and painting above your head, is that you are showered with paint, and it takes ages to get it all off. I reckon I’ve done nearly half of the wall now, though – but that’s only the first coat. I did some more prep, and practice, and started writing the LPF minutes (which I’ve finished today).

In the evening I drove to Kempley, a village in the wilds of Gloucestershire, for a gig in the village hall. It was a great evening; all credit to the enterprising organisers.

On Saturday I had my Young Writers group in Evesham. We started work on a little play which they will present to parents in our June session – my last ever. They were terrific; they worked hard and came up with some great lines and ideas. I’ll miss this a lot, which is partly why I went for the Birmingham work, which is with the same sort of age group.

And in the afternoon I had to do something sad. Squirrels have planted a hazel tree near my back gate. It’s been just a little tree for some years, but suddenly it’s become huge, and was damaging my next door neighbour’s wall, so it had to come down. The Bloke took it all to pieces with my chain saw, and I cleared up and tidied after him. It’s amazing how useful a chain saw is for attracting help!

And on Sunday I typed up the Young Writers’ play so far, and decided on the John Masefield groups for their collaborative work, and wrote a third of a new play I’ve been thinking about, and otherwise just lazed around. Oh – and I’m still managing to write a poem every day.

Happy St. George’s Day / Shakespeare’s birthday, whichever you prefer. No time to celebrate, though –  this week shows no signs of being any easier…


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