Spawn of the Dragon

 

I’ll have to do a short post this week; although it’s been a week as full as any other. I’ll stick with the highest and lowest points.

High point number one: my son Richard came to visit on Wednesday. He’s a teacher, so mostly we get to meet up in the school holidays. He drove up from Peterborough on Wednesday morning and we met at Amie’s house. We took Amie’s dogs for a walk along the canal from Diggle to Grandpa Green’s for coffee and doggy sausages,  then walked back via Woolyknits café for a light lunch and more doggy sausages. Back to Amie’s house after lunch for coffee. I had an appointment Uppermill in the late afternoon and when I got back from there we all watched the film ‘Wonder’, about a young boy with a genetic facial disfigurement. Oh my, Kleenex shares went up that day. Richard stayed the night with us, so I got to have breakfast with him before he drove back to Peterborough to do what all teachers do in the holidays: work.

Low point number one: on Thursday afternoon I got back from sorting the books at Amie’s Black Ladd restaurant to find a letter from Manchester City Council with a photo of my car driving along a bus lane on Oxford Road, fine £60.00; halved if I paid within a fortnight. This was the culmination of a week of stress I won’t go into but it felt like the right time to go out and buy a gun and shoot up the Town Hall. Have you tried to drive Oxford Road lately? And it was a Saturday mid-morning, hardly rush hour traffic: mine was the only vehicle in sight! You don’t know you can’t turn into Oxford Road until you’re in a side road ready to turn into Oxford Road and it’s too late to turn round a go a different route anyway. Grrr! My stomach was clenched tight with this last straw of stress.

Low point number two: it wasn’t stress clenching my stomach. It was a tummy bug.  I spent Thursday evening being sick and Friday all day sleeping back to some kind of recovery by Saturday. Enough said on that.

High point number two: the eponymous high point. On Saturday, feeling feeble and well rung out, I collected Hilary and drove us to Arnside to the English home of Rebecca Bilkau, editor of Beautiful Dragons Press. We are working with her to produce the first in a series of Dragon Spawn Pamphlets. We, Hilary and I, will be the Dragon’s first-borns. We are to be one third each of the first Dragon Spawn, title Some Mothers…and my third will feature versions of my portfolio poems. It was this we went to Arnside to discuss. Dragon Spawn is a series of pamphlets, each by three Beautiful Dragon poets, approached by Rebecca, who don’t have previously published pamphlets or collections, a sort of half-way house to a pamphlet of our own. Yes, and I get to share it with my conjoined twin, Hilary Robinson. How exciting is this? Rebecca made us a gorgeous lunch, which I did my best to honour despite food still being a bit alien to my body; we got to meet Xabi, her beautiful Airedale Terrier; and we had a lovely afternoon discussing the poems we’d submitted. The deadlines are tight: Rebecca lives in Germany most of the year and she is returning in a week. We have until the beginning of May to confirm the poems for the pamphlet, and until early Autumn to see the dragon crack its shell. There might well be more exciting news regarding the official Dragon Spawn launch, but for now my lips are sealed on this one.

Low point number three: closely related to low point number two, because I was poorly Thursday evening into Friday, I didn’t do all the stuff I needed to do on Friday in order to keep on top of a busy week. Mostly this involved doing some ironing and packing my case for St. Ives. Also, I had to miss a haircut, so by the time I come back from St Ives I’ll be looking very ‘Age of Aquarius’–you have to have lived some years. So when I got back from Arnside on Saturday, tired and feeling pale, I had to pack my case for a week away with Kim Moore and Helen Mort on a writing week in St Ives. It was the last thing I wanted to do–the packing, not the week away. Bill, bless him, cooked pie and chips—no he didn’t make the pie!—while I made a start on packing. I filled my case with un-ironed clothing and packed my travel iron as well. I’ll have to iron stuff as I need to wear it this week.

High point number three: Hilary’s husband is collecting me to go Piccadilly station at 8.15, so I’d better get my skates on. No poem this week, I’m afraid, but I expect to have a surfeit of them by next weekend, so I’ll make sure I fit one in the next blog. Meanwhile, have a picture of a dragon hatching from its egg. That’s me, that is!

Dragon spawn

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