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I couldn't post yesterday because I was just so exhausted after a bad night on Wednesday when I barely got three hours sleep and after a couple of traumatic meetings about the writing group yesterday as well as a curtailed class.

We met up at the usual time to have an hour's meeting without G and really, there was hardly anyone there who hadn't been involved in the fracas and unpleasantness.  I imagine the others decided to give it a wide berth for the time being.  We were asked whether we wanted to finish term with G as tutor, or do something else.  J and C and I voted to stay with G and the others, predictably, didn't.  We were also asked whether we wanted to continue with the group in some form next term.  I said that I would think about it, but that if W was in the class I wouldn't be.  If I had received an apology from her, I might not have said that.  Someone said that she hadn't come to the meeting out of respect for me because I had been in Gillian's class so long or some other drivel.  Bulls**t!  She was just afraidGod knows what she thought I would do or say to her.  It was mentioned that the Commitee would have a meeting in the café at the Laing Art Gallery at 1.30.  J was very cross because no-one had told her that there was to be a committee meeting and she was unable to attend.

G came to give the class, which was very pleasant, even though there were only 7 of us there.  It was quite a pleasant change for us all to be able to read out our stuff and talk about it.

I got on my scooter and bombed along to the Laing.  It's hardly any distance and took me only a few minutes to get there, very different from the painfully long time it would have taken me to walk there, stopping every few yards for a rest.

The meeting was attended by the Chair, myself, the current Treasurer, the ex-secretary, now transformed back into the present Secretary (after she had said she had to give it up owing to ill health thus precipitating G's anxiety and her outburst at last week's class), the person who is Treasurer-in-waiting and will function as Treasurer next term and who, since she hasn't actually been involved in any of the problems which have upset other people, was, inexplicably, one of G's strongest critics .  There was also another member of the class who has never been on the committee and who has hardly been to a class for about six months;  no-one explained what she was doing there.  When I gave J's apologies explaining that no-one had told her there was a meeting, and she had another appointment, the Chair just said "Oh";  from her tone she might just as well have said "Tough!"

The Chair had some kind of agenda which none of the rest of us saw and the Secretary took "minutes"  The Committee agreed that G be allowed to finish the term with whatever members of the class wished to attend, while people who no longer wished to attend a class taken by G would be provided somewhere else to meet and someone to take the class.  They didn't say whether any of those people would be offered a refund although we all agreed that whatever the outcome, none of the Committee would ask for a refund.  I said that I would be attending G's class.

It was agreed that the class would continue next term without G, but also without a full-time tutor as money is too tight to allow for a paid tutor more than twice during the term with the numbers we had at present.  I said that I would consider whether or not I wanted to join in, but by the end of the meeting wild horses wouldn't drag me there.

It was decided that although there wouldn't be a proper tutor, that position would be filled by class members who felt able to conduct the class;  we have several people who already have experience of tutoring classes, so that shouldn't be a problem, except that these members will be expected to do it for nothing, while, presumably still paying the same fees as everyone else!  The cost of the course, will, however, remain the same!

I told the Committee that this would be my last committee meeting as I was resigning with effect from the end of the meeting.  The class member who was not a member of the Committe was immediately co-opted in my place.

There was quite a lot of schoolgirl giggling and making fairly harmless jokes at G's expense;  they got a lot of laughs out of the idea that she might be asked to be Poet Laureate.  The fact that she's probably a better poet than most of the people who have been suggested never occurred to them, nor the practical certainty that if offered she would refuse, because she wouldn't be party to automatically writing laudatory poems on Royal ocasions, not to mention the fact that most of the Royals might very well struggle to understand her extremely spare poetry anyway.

It all passed very amicably, in fact, everyone but me seemed to be enjoying the whole thing.  They are now left with the problem of finding a free venue for the next three weeks so that they can offer classes to those who don't want to attend G's class and  they have a couple of months to sort out the format of the new group and get a rota of members who want to conduct classes.  I suspect that almost everyone will fancy themselves as tutor.  It may very well work out well - I hope it does, but there's no way I'm going to a class run by a lot of smug unprofessional amateurs for the same price as a class run by a renowned published poet, even if I didn't feel so disgusted that I can't work with them any more.

This morning I finally got an e-mail apology from W.  I answered it as graciously as I could, saying that I understood how hurt and upset she felt about G's failure to acknowledge the hard work she had done over the previous four weeks.  I told her I thought she was a talented writer and should continue with the group, but it makes no difference to my decision.

Maybe I'll finally get a decent night's sleep tonight.  Last night I woke up at 3.30 am and started going over it all in my mind.  Infuriating!

All clear!

Mar. 2nd, 2009 10:52 pm
blackberry444: (Default)


John went for his painful and degrading tests today and came home fuming because they failed to find anything wrong with him and it had cost him £3.60 in hospital car parking fees to find out, as well as a certain amount of discomfort and loss of dignity.

Personally, I am very pleased that there's nothing wrong with him, but I can't get him to see it my way.

Things are going from bad to worse on the writing group front but I'm so fed up with it all and so depressed about it that I CBA to even think about it at the moment let alone write down all the juvenilia I've been reading and hearing.  Suffice it to say that I can't see an outcome anywhere close to what I've been hoping for, so I shall probably have to find something else to do with my Thursday mornings after this week, buggrit.

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I've been so worried about G because she lives alone and is a rather reserved person and I was pretty sure she wouldn't have discussed the situation with anyone, so I thought she might be stewing about it all without any company or anyone to discuss it with..

Fortunately she said she was OK and she sounded pretty relaxed.  She said it was by dint of meditatation and going to a performance of the St. John's Passion last night (or was it St. Matthew's?, or did I just make that last one up?).  She sounded pleased that I had called her though.  She said she has developed the ability to not think about things until she is ready.  I wish I had that facility!  I used to have it, I called it my Scarlett O'Hara syndrome.  I have no idea when it left me, round about the time John had all the problems with the business and we had to move from our lovely house to come to Newcastle, I think.

I felt that she would be all right but asked her to call me if she needed to talk about it, because she happened to mention that she hasn't seen any e-mails, but is leaving them until tomorrow.  I couldn't bear to disturb her peace of mind by telling her what has happened, because she's feeling OK now and I don't want her to be upset sooner than she has to be.  I just hope that when she does read her e-mail, she doesn't think I should have told her.  I think I will e-mail her later tomorrow and explain.  I've already told her how upset and sorry I am.

I'm going to have to find some way of calming down over this;  I simply can't keep feeling like this till Thursday.  I wish I could sleep till then.

In the meantime, John has to go for tests in the Urology Department at the Freeman tomorrow.  We have no idea what the tests are for, since it is as a consequence of a problem thrown up by the blood tests they took for his gout.  I'm a bit worried about prostate cancer, but I haven't mentioned it to him, of course, or Charles either.  I don't know what I would do if John became seriously ill and I can't begin to imagine what it would do to Charles.  However, I mustn't meet trouble half-way, it's probably nothing really.

Keeping all these worries secret is so much against my nature, it's beginning to give me symptoms of the stress anxiety I suffered before I left the job with The Boss From Hell.

I think I shall spend the rest of the day playing Myst Revelation, to try to take my mind off things.  I shall have to start from the beginning again as it's so long since I played it that I've forgotten everything I've done so far, which wasn't all that much.

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I've been feeling pretty ghastly lately. Either I'm coughing non-stop, which is exhausting, or I'm sleeping badly because of coughing non-stop, or I'm sleeping sitting up for most of the night because I'm coughing non-stop or some or all of these things together, all of which is exhausting. Not only that but I have a permanent headache because of the coughing.

When I say non-stop, it isn't really. It's more like being perfectly normal for 2 or 3 hours then being ambushed by the cough, which just won't stop for an hour or more then leaves me exhausted and anxious that it hasn't really stopped. I asked my LLD if I could take more of the Beconase spray but she said not to and that she hoped that it would eventually settle down. Me Too!

I keep remembering that I gave up smoking umpteen years ago just so that I wouldn't spend my last days gasping for breath and feeling as though I were drowning, so I'm feeling a bit cheated.

I did manage to get to Gillian's class yesterday, and didn't cough too much while there, but I found it very disappointing for once, because we had to do group projects, which I'm not so keen on and in our group of four we had a woman new to the group, who is obviously an ex-teacher and who never stopped talking even to listen to what anyone else was saying. The rest of us did everything she suggested because we couldn't be bothered to argue with her, but I found the whole thing oppressive and I found her overwhelming, to say the least. My God! If she's like that at her first class, what will she be like by the end of term?

I don't know why I think she must be an ex-teacher. We have several teachers in the class, and none of them behaves like that. She's got a very annoying habit of sticking her face up close to yours when she wants to say something, and it makes me feel really uncomfortable.

Everyone did so much talking in the first part of the class about the idea of becoming a Community Group, that there was no time for individual writing at all, so all in all, I found the whole thing exasperating.

While I was there, however, Jeannie reminded me that today was the last day for the Mslexia competition and encouraged me to enter some of my Grandma poems. I haven't entered a competition for about 2 years, because I haven't managed to get my wits together in time to make the deadline for them. So yesterday afternoon I sorted out three, paid the entry fee online and sent the entry off in the post. I don't suppose anything will come of it, because the poems they seem to choose for Mslexia are about as unlike any of mine as it's possible to be. However, the judge is Carol Ann Duffy, so it's an opportunity to see if she likes any of them.

John has just received one of his tiny annual pensions, so has offered us a takeaway tonight. I shall have to discuss it with Charles when he gets back from band practice and maybe have the takeaway tomorrow, as Charles was anxious to make a fish soup and we've taken a crab, some langoustines, and scallops out of the freezer, as well as a small sea bass and a couple of sea bream. They're all now defrosted and I don't want to keep them another 24 hours.

Actually, I'm rather looking forward to having a proper home-made fish soup with rouille and aioli and home made bread.
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It was Gillian's class again today.  On the way I stopped off at Starbucks and naughtily ordered a mocha coffee to take away.  I was surprised that it was only £2.30, which I thought was not at all bad for the very centre of the city, because I've paid those sort of prices, or even more at those crummy motorway coffee bars.  It's so silly that we need to buy coffee from outside because the Methodist Church, where we have our class, has a really good coffee bar of its own and the coffee smells wonderful, but they don't open till 11.15, even though there are lots of staff there making sarnies and so forth when we first get there at 9.30.  Wasted opportunity in my opinion.  There are 17 of us and most of us would buy coffee there if we could.

We spent rather a lot of time discussing what to do with the extra money we've amassed.  It makes me cross, because Gillian has organised everything and charged what is reasonable, and I think that after she has paid the expenses and paid herself, she should keep the rest of the money in case we hit problems some time, but she is so painfully scrupulous that she feels that after she's paid herself on the highest band of what the local Writing people get, she should give the rest of the money back in some way.  I think this is madness.  It's a business and she needs to make provision for hard times and a pension.  I think I shall e-mail her about it.

I enjoyed the class but I wasn't feeling so great today, owing to extra breathlessness and my horrible bloody knee playing me up again.  I didn't produce anything I'm likely to develop, still, you can't expect it every time and it was quite fun.

I looked up pulmonary hypertension on the Internet and I was very struck by the entry in Wikipedia which stated

"A history usually reveals gradual onset of shortness of breath, fatigue, non-productive cough, angina pectoris, fainting or syncope, peripheral edema (swelling of the limbs, especially around the ankles and feet)"

I haven't experienced angina, or fainting but I certainly have the other symptoms.  I've been complaining about the cough since long before the breathlessness started and just last week it was so bad it gave me painful ribs.

Charles is upset because he thought I should immediately feel better on taking the beta blocker, and for all I know he is right, perhaps I should, but I rather imagine that the effect is cumulative as with so many medicines.

He is thinking that he may be allergic to wheat or gluten, so he's in the first 48 hours of giving up bread, cake and everything else which might have wheat or gluten.  He has an awful headache and is feeling unwell, so maybe he's right, perhaps it's withdrawal symptoms. I have to say I know nothing about this condition, although I'm thankful not to suffer that as well as everything else.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get to the the Lit & Phil, because my writing has come to a full stop at home, owing to constant interruptions.   I planned to write this afternoon, but Charles asked me to cut his hair, which takes ages, because he has curly hair which he lets get rather long and every time I think I've sorted out a lock of hair, it starts sticking up in the opposite direction.  No sooner had John realised what I was doing than he booked me to shave his neck and shoulders and then it was time to help Charles with the dinner.

Now I can barely stay awake although it's not yet 10 o'clock!

I wonder whether I can stay awake long enough to start on Un Lun Dun by China Mieville.  I heard part of it on Radio7 a few weeks ago and it sounded quite fun, so I thought I'd give it a try when I was at Waterstone's last and got my three books for the price of two.
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Went to my writing class this morning. As usual it was really good and I'm quite pleased with what I wrote. It still needs polishing, of course, and then leaving for a few weeks till I look at it again. I've just typed it up, and made several changes, editing as I went along. I must remember to put all the new stuff on the database!

We've been talking at the writing class about having some awaydays in the summer. As usual Sue has kindly offered us the use of her tower on Lindisfarne for a day, but we're also thinking of having a writing weekend somewhere not too far away. I'd go tomorrow!

I'm not feeling too bad today, even though I'm swollen and bloated, especially my feet and ankles. I can't help wondering if I've somehow got hold of fake drugs, since they worked perfectly up till very recently. Never mind, I'm seeing my Lovely Lady Doctor next Wednesday.

My skin feels very much better. I bought myself some Dove Pro-age shower stuff at the weekend and it's made my arms and body feel so much better moisturised, and even my legs, except the back of my calfs.

I wonder if that's the correct word or whether it should be calves? I CBA to go and find out at the moment.

I must work on my left elbow, though, where the skin still feels rough; it's the one I lean on when I'm reading in bed. And my feet are horrible! I used to be so good about keeping them moisturised, but lately I just can't be bothered. Bad, bad diabetic!

Charles and I have both run out of ideas and motivation, so it will probably have to be baked potatoes with cheese, purple sprouting and baked beans tonight. Last night I planned to make a spring stew with lamb and vegetables, but Charles took the whole project away from me and produced a complicated lamb dish with juniper berries, black pudding and the remains of both red and white bottles of wine. It was very good indeed, although in my opinion he overdid the peppercorns. John thought it was wonderful, though.

Phew! I found my precious old writing notebook which I thought I had lost or left somewhere. It didn't have my address in it and it's stuffed full of ideas and memories I plan to use; I felt very upset to think I'd lost it; I couldn't even bear to tell anyone, but it turned up under the bed this morning. It's lucky I found it, because the bed, which is a divan, only gets moved every few months when I think the dust is probably so bad that it ought to be vacuumed. If it hadn't been for Morgan losing his favourite toy mouse under there, I might not have found it for weeks!

It's funny how each of the cats has his/her favourite toy. Morgan will play with anything, but he particularly likes this little grey felt mouse, which is probably quite near the size of a real mouse. He plays with it and carries it around in his mouth just like a real mouse. Bramble prefers a small cushion with a feather attached, on an elastic string which hangs from the banisters or an old champagne cork and Phoebe plays either with a tiny slinky or a blue white and lavender stuffed tick on a fluffy string. They all play with those little plastic tags off milk bottles and Phoebe has a thing for blue plastic. She'll sit for ages, entranced by the smell of our big blue IKEA bags, or anything else made of blue plastic. There are other assorted things which have bells in or on and which run across the floor eccentrically, but those are their favourites. Today I saw the Wake up Cat video on YouTube again, and noticed that the cat owner's bedroom floor is littered with cat toys, just like mine. Wouldn't it be lovely if human beings were so easily pleased?


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