My dears, I’ve been so busy I’ve been neglecting you. Well, what a time I’ve had of it! First Holly came to visit, then Chris arrived for the weekend bringing the weather with him, and then it was my birthday. I had the best birthday ever – or at least the best one I can remember, apart from my 50th when I had a huge party in a marquee next to the chalet in the woods. (Sounds like one of those made-up Welsh names – the party inside the marquee next to the chalet in the woods by the reservoir…)
It was really good to see Holly – it felt as if she’d never been away – and likewise with Chris. I hadn’t seen either of them since our North-West tour in February, and we had a great time. I haven’t drunk so much beer in a while, and the thali curry we had on Saturday kept me going the entire weekend (and no, I don’t mean that in the way you’re thinking!)
After which it was my birthday, and so the fun did not stop: ten of us went to Pizza Express and lunched upon pizza and salad, and then came the big surprise: a birthday cake! I really wasn’t expecting that, and I was very touched that they’d all got together and had this cake brought to the restaurant. The staff fetched it out and lit the candles and they they all sang to me and I blew the candles out. I haven’t done that in a long time.
I’ve still got a bit of cake left but if you want some you’ll have to be quick.
And so back to work. I’ve started a couple of new stories and sent one off; this time to the V S Pritchett Memorial Prize which is organised by the Royal Society of Literature (or the RSL, as we cognoscenti call it). It’s quite cheap to enter, unlike the Mslexia poetry pamphlet competition which cost me £20 and which I almost certainly won’t win. Still, you’ve got to keep on trying.
Right now I’m gearing up to Artbeat – it’s finally dawned on me that, having offered to run a poetry workshop, I’d better make a start on planning it, so I’ve got some ideas down. Only two days till the launch!
What else has been happening? I’ve got some elderflower hanging ready to make into wine. You have to hang the flower-heads up inside a bag to let all the tiny insects drop out, otherwise you end up with insect soup. Is it me or has the elderflower been really late this year? Everything else is blossoming away, but whereas elder usually flowers in May, it’s been well into June this year.
I think we should be told.
All of which means I haven’t made much progress on the sestina. So it’s kind of a sestina lente…