"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Breaking news: living in houses makes you soft. I know this because after five months away, I have returned to my my winter mooring at the Macclesfield Home for the Unusual.
I tied up, plugged in and rediscovered the reliable internet/ phone reception/ electricity/ water/ sanitation that house-dwellers take for granted. Within a couple of hours I had gone native: leaving lights on, running taps, forgetting to switch off the water heater – all cardinal sins when Tinker is away from base.
I wanted to get back now because National Poetry Day is THIS THURSDAY. As its co-ordinator, this is the busiest week of my year. Will it be glamorous, champagne-sodden, lively and lovely? Yes thanks, it will – but also tiring. So I made a dash for Macc with a drizzly hop up Bosley’s twelve locks, and a last easy morning of boating with the Smily Man.
At the marina there was an all-singing, all-dancing Welcome Home party. I was touched at first, then realised it was someone else’s party entirely. Still, they allowed me to tag along. I got generously drawn in to the celebrations, and we ate a whole lot of sausages. Feudal landlord Kevlar and his gimp Matt presided over the BBQ.
See my Facebook page for lots more photos, if you like that sort of thing. In the immortal words of Frank Sinatra, ‘It’s very nice to go travelling but it’s oh, so nice to come home.’ There was new chainsaw art around the boatyard too….
Since May I’ve descended the 31 locks of Heartbreak Hill, crossed the vast aqueduct at Pontcysyllte in Wales, chugged through the 45-minute blackness of Harecastle Tunnel and seen all points in between. I’ve done over 220 miles at 3mph, accompanied by the wonderful and patient friends, and generally had cracking weather.
The world didn’t stop when I did. Fourpenny Circus rehearsed in Congleton ahead of our autumn season. Turns out we do still know all the words. Equally well-rehearsed and considerably more professional than us were the guests at friend Jonks’ 40th birthday bash in Sheffield. We had to go as pop stars and perform a song, karaoke stylee.
I was Annie Lennox, the Smily Man was Captain Sensible and we both managed to avoid singing.
Now then folks, stand by your radios. Carol Ann Duffy will be on Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, hopefully reading the poem she has written for National Poetry Day. Also on Radio 4 that evening is the final of the UK slam, with me as one of the judges – and there will be lots of events near you. Have a look at our website and please, please, if you do only one thing this week do send one of our free e-cards to a friend. Meanwhile me hearties, I have work to do…