"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
I love technology, me. It makes my boating life possible, with dongles and BlackBerrys hanging out of every orifice. But this week I called it very rude names indeed. In mid-December I submitted a funding bid on which my future depends – by email. As the deadline loomed, it emerged that this document had never arrived. So I had to resubmit, get
comments, redraft and re-resubmit within 48 hours. Late nights, tired fingers, big square eyes. Aaaargh.
Still, people keep offering me work – like being poet in residence for a Natural England conference, yes please, and writing the foreword for a book, yes please, and do I want to read in Glasgow on Burns night? Well, of course I do. Best of all, a little tour is in the offing. The brilliant Jenn Ashworth came to snowy Macc to plan it, and to christen my new office properly. Looks like we already have a couple of dates, in Hexham and Birmingham.
And of course, I had to get properly started on the first draft of Aching for Dick. The blessed Smily Man is ever patient with my hectic schedule. No dear, I can’t come to the pub, I’m in Stroud. To be fair, I’m not sure he notices when I’m not there. I think he goes out and chops wood and comes in feeling manly. It makes you warm twice, as he says – and a warm boater is a happy boater.
A boater who needs dental surgery, on the other hand, is an unhappy boater. SM had his smile temporarily excised, in one of those operations that remove important bits of your head and replace them with pain. He’s growing a new smile, slowly. Myself, I cope with winter by stuffing myself to the gills with St John’s Wort. It leaves me faintly euphoric and prone to sudden bouts of eBay purchasing. Then the thaw comes, and with it all the mail which has been delayed by snow. In one delivery I get new boots, new underwear, two King Kurt posters, a novel and a 7×5 rug. All the ingredients for a very interesting evening. The Great Thaw also means that I can fill the water tank again. I can now wash the dishes (and me) in the happy knowledge that the water isn’t going to run out.
One likes to learn something new, and this week I have learned that ducks are keen on cheap porridge. I myself am not, so I bought some lovely Jordans porridge oats and threw the crap ones to the ducks.
They went mental. With the canal still iced over, they were eager for anything – but they have had about a pound of
porridge oats so far. Does that mean that they are already stuffed, if I should take it into my mind to bop one on the head?