The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

The Lettuce Eaters

Rehearsing at ATT

I know, late again. Sorry. July is a mad month, always full of work and pleasure – I’ve missed my Sunday deadline twice, and will do again next week. Normal service will resume in August. Meanwhile, in this week’s episode:

Rehearsals of my play (now called First Person, and no longer Aching for Dick) began at Action Transport Theatre. The first performance on 16th October seems very close at hand, and it is too late to fix all the things that are wrong with my script. At least I got there on time, avoiding the horrific hold-ups that kept Sam Youd and I from our gig in Bury on Tuesday. The good folk of Bury sat in their splendid art gallery, positively aching to hear our selections of poetry and prose on gardening, as we struggled up the log-jammed M60. We were half an hour late but they listened, they clapped and I’ve never had so many kind comments about my poetry. Maybe I should always roll up late, to create a feeling of expectation. As with this blog.

Sam Youd and me with text exhibition

On Wednesday I was in another fantastic building – the Devonshire Dome in Buxton – to find out how I’d fared in the Buxton Poetry Competition, judged by Peter and Ann Sansom. I came third – which was very gratifying, and allowed me to meet some lovely poetic folk. I went for a pizza with second prize-winner Suzanna Fitzpatrick. I recruited her and others for Bugged which, I rejoice to say, is thriving beyond my wildest dreams.

Ceramic 'poppies' at RDH

At the Royal Derby Hospital where I’m Writer in Residence, I saw some work from other artists in the hospital. It’s such a welcoming, engaging environment – the arts team are using creative work to make the hospital a lively and thought-provoking place, not just a factory for processing the sick. Long may they reign.

I’ve been booked to perform at Kendal Calling which looks brilliant. I intend to relax with a pint of lemon cider, between stints on the solar-powered stage.

The magnificent Ledbury Poetry Festival continues until Sunday night – in fact, until my event (last on the programme) closes it – me, A F Harrold, Kate Fox and Byron Vincent combined in one splendid, surreal poeting bunfight. Come and join us! To see some glimpses of the festival’s first weekend see here.

Ledbury Festival - Chairman Peter Arscott and daughter Ros

All this lovely work means I haven’t had any opportunity to get my boating hat on and test my newly fixed engine. August, then, is for boating and blogging. July, between gigs, is for gardening and salad consumption. I am, dear reader, entirely self-sufficient in salad. Bring on the dungarees and call me Barbara.

The Estate

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