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Saturday Night with my mum


We have just been listening to the cd of Appointments — the radio plays that are on next week. I really like the way they have been produced, and the Sue Roberts has done some great effects. The whole cast is doing things like playing football in the studio. I am playing receptionists and small parts. The end is really joyous too. Anyway, my mum likes them and that’s the main thing. It’s very different listening to something with the rest of the world..very jittery…like sitting in the audience when a stage play is on. I am doing a thing on Women’s Hour on Thursday, talking to Jenni M about the plays.

I am ok. The good news is that my blood count is getting better and better all by itself. But my liver is a bit swollen that makes me feel very portly, like I have eaten too much pudding and my face is still driving me nuts. I wake up in the night and wander the house. Someimes I clean out cupboards. Custard powder and vanilla essence from the late nineties are the main hangers on. People tell me my face doesn’t show, but it feels so weird, like a faulty circuit or something.

Knitting is going very well. I am feeling more ambitious. Damn it, I could knit myself a friend, or a house!

Otherwise, I am busy doing all kinds of things. On Sunday night I read at the packed Blue Room at the Bridge Hotel, along with some great new writers….I love the room. It’s a pub built right up against the railway and the trains shunt by. I must have been born to the sound of shunting trains..it’s a sound that makes me happy. On Wednesday I gave a talk in a village called Wylam to a group of elderly, intelllectual men. I don’t know why I agree to do these things, but I genuinely enjoy them when I get there. We had a debate about line breaks in poetry, and some of the audience weren’t keen on modern fashions in poems. One man told me he had written two hundred sonnets for one woman! Imagine that! They were courteous and sweet anyway. I have also been editing my plays for a book that will be published this year. This is really good news, as many plays don’t see the light of day after a first production. Plays like Eating The Elephant, that I wrote after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, will be in it, as well as the Last Post, and most of my radio work.

The university has been busy too, and I want to run a course about using poetry as a cure if I can maintain the energy.

Happily, I have got a retreat coming up in Umbria, so I can concentrate on finishing the novel then. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate in this whirl, with an achey face and a puffy liver. I am going to the cinema now..to see Sideways. Back soon.