Anyone been to Ulverston? I hadn’t until the weekend – but I’ll come to that later. It’s been a busy week with lots of driving.

On Monday I did stuff – just the usual – but left mid-afternoon for a gig, topping the bill at a poetry night called Evidently, in Salford. It took me well over four hours to get there, but fortunately it started later than I had thought so I wasn’t late. It was a lovely poetry evening, and my set went down really well – “carefully curated”, someone said – and then I drove for three and a half hours to get home. And I wrote a poem called Journey.

On Tuesday I did lots of work for the play I’m directing. Things are progressing, although with a few bumps along the way. I caught up with Friday’s emails, and went to visit a local business; I’m going to be doing some poems at their open day, probably. I had a meeting in the evening with the tech guys for the play; all good. I reached Monday’s emails and wrote another poem. Actually, I’ve continued writing a poem each day, and I’m really pleased with them – well, some of them, at least.

Wednesday was a Poetry on Loan day. I sorted a tricky thing in the morning – finding poets at very short notice – and then went to Birmingham for the quarterly PoL meeting, with all the lovely library people. More emails in the evening.

Thursday was yoga and a really good session in the hospital; a lady told me I’d changed her life. Aaah. I started work on the kitchen window frames, and mowed the grass. In the evening I saw American animals, a failed heist movie based on a true story; it was good but not a film I’d need to see again.

I took my car in for a service on Friday. I won’t tell you how much it cost, even without replacing the leaky windscreen washer bottle (£130, anybody? Really?) I did my finances and more work on the window frames, and had some bad news about the play – a new TADS member who is very keen can’t be in it after all. I collected my new glasses, but I’ve been too busy since to get them out of their case. I wrote some notes to help someone with a funding bid, did the hospital writeup, and answered some emails.

And on Saturday, after more emails, I went to Ulverston, with the Bloke. I’d picked Ulverston at random, because it was near where we had to be on Sunday. We were tired after a long drive, and thought we’d eat in at the hotel, but the restaurant (I use the term loosely) was full, so we went out into the town. It’s not a pretty place, Ulverston, with mostly dull grey houses. But on top of the hill, and visible from our hotel room, is a monument which is a copy of the Eddystone lighthouse. Nowhere near the sea. And that evening was the annual lantern festival.; all around us, parading the streets, were sharks and jellyfish and seahorses and mermaids; white paper lanterns lit mostly with fairy lights, although some had candles inside. Apparently health and safety is not an issue in Ulverston. At the end they all gathered in Ford Park for a fireworks display – one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was a weird but lovely evening – and apparently, as the receptionist said, “We like a party in Ulverston”, and they have loads of festivals.

The next day we went for a zip wire trek in the Lake District hills, stopping on the way for a quick paddle in Coniston Water. The weather forecast was for heavy rain, but the sun shone for the whole of our trek, and the whole thing was terrific fun. The drive home took ages; the M6 is a pain!

And this morning I’ve finished the window frames, and had a long call about some work in schools; something I love doing. Sometimes I feel guilty about all the miles I travel, but as far as work is concerned, I don’t have much choice. And really, the weekend has given me a boost that will last for a while. How else can you justify miles?


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