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Friday, 12 October 2012

Hollerin, Hooverin and Galloping Around

Very soon, I go and collect the incomparable Eileen Rafferty from Bognor Regis station.  She will arrive to a house that is now a graveyard for fleas.  I have until the 17th of this month before I can hoover and wash the floors and carpets, but today,  I gave in.  Once the pest control fellows had covered the whole house in flea exterminator, I was told to leave everything in place for 21 days.  Those 21 days would have been up on Wednesday next but Eileen sent me a message this morning to say that she would be at Bognor this evening, and I thought, I am giving in.  Eileen may or may not get fleas this weekend, but my nerves cannot stand the humiliation of showing her my filthy home. It was never like this for Doris Day. So I hoovered downstairs at 9.30 this morning, and I hoovered upstairs at 4.30 this afternoon.  I feel many stones lighter and a good deal younger now.  I can hold my head up high and say to Eileen when I go and collect her, I live like Doris Day, Eileen Rafferty, spotless and perfect in every way.  This is a home where standards prevail and I am at the top of my tree.  See your reflection in my floors, and tremble.

I have been aware of changes on the horizon.  It is like watching an army of horsemen gathering just there, in the distance, jostling and stamping and waiting for the order to charge. The order to charge came this week, and though it is a friendly charge, it is alarming all the same.  The horsemen represent projects and ideas and events and paintings, all of which to be done by me soon, and at once.  I heard the thundering of the hooves of the charging horsemen a week ago and blow me down, they are all a whooping and a hollering and galloping this way and that around me now, and I don't know which way to turn first.  I seem to have said Yes! to everyone that passed me recently and asked me to do something.  Yes! I said with a cheery grin, I'm the one!  Don't mind if I do! Will you, someone said, do me a painting.  Yes!  Can I have one too? Yes!  Will you come and join a panel in Oxford to be and expert on spirituality and end of life matters?  Yes! Will you come to my conference? Yes!  Will you come on my course?  Yes! Will you leave your course in Lewes, drive to Winchester for 6pm, pick up your Dad, take him to Teddington and then drive back to Bognor Regis?  Yes!  And so it goes on.  I think I will give you a breakdown of things that I am doing right now.  We will do it in bullet form and I will be terse and informative.  This is the result of having horsemen whoopin and a hollerin around me everywhere I look.  It concentrates the mind amazingly.

  • Saturday 27 October, I join a panel in Oxford as an expert (whoop whoop holler holler) on spirituality in the end of life.  We watch Nell Dunns play Home Death and answer questions afterwards.  At the Pegasus Theatre, Magdalene Road, OX4 1RE.  From 4.15 to 6.30 www.kickingthebucket.co.uk
  • Before I go to the Pegasus Theatre I am having lunch with an old school friend who lives and works in Oxford, whom I have not seen since 1904 and probably won't recognise.  But, there is lunch involved and I know that we will recognise each other and go all silly and misbehave just as we were when we last saw each other, aged 16.  We will see if we can suck our lunches up through our noses and then fall off our chairs laughing before I will have to pick the pasta out of my hair and go and be an expert on something or other somewhere else.
  • Tuesday 30 October I go to Northampton to set up for the conference Spirit of Caring: Spirituality and Well-being in End of Life Care www.loros.com.  I am showing the A Graceful Death exhibition there and addressing the conference on the Wednesday 31 October.  This is full of gravitas and I am on the one hand, so delighted to be talking on something that I feel strongly about, on the other hand I am having kittens because I am addressing real people who know more than me.  Subtext to this is -
  • I have no idea how to do a power point and have in my head, that if I don't do a power point presentation, due in only a few weeks time, I may die.  I need to talk this over with a sensible adult.  Thank you Eileen.
  • I have to finish the two new paintings for AGD, and have them photographed (thank you Eileen).   I am very nearly finished but both need the accompanying texts to be prepared, written, printed and laminated. 
  • There is poetry from a lady in Canada, and a wild essay on death by the gloriously outspoken writer Oliva Fane, to print and prepare.  There are also booklets to prepare and print.  I found a man called Chris who will do it all for me in his shop for a price.  I wonder if he can do power points and write presentations.  And paint.  Free me up nicely.
  • Cousin Maddy is meeting me at the venue on the 30th to help me set up.  She is watching me present the next day and then going home.  That is so helpful I am speechless briefly but not for long because I need to speak quite a lot on the 31st.
  • Eileen says I should practice my presentation on her tomorrow.  Brave.  Foolish.  Selfless.  Help.
  • Wednesday 14 November I take the AGD exhibition to Edinburgh Zoo to the annual Good Life Good Death Good Grief event www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk.  The information and poster is being created as we speak, so there is nothing as yet on the website about this event.  Does it exist?  I believe so.
  • It will take me two days to drive to the zoo and two days to drive back.  Staying with friends on the way there and on the way back. It will be like being on tour.
More horsemen come galloping up, slapping their thighs and laughing in the face of danger, and representing the following
  •  3 painting commissions
  • I more book to illustrate
  •  A soul midwife meeting to arrange
  • A new AGD exhibition and soul midwife education event in Bridport to organise for next year
  • A working alliance with the lovely Nigel, Soul Midwife and nurse in Brighton
  • Possible AGD work here in Chichester over Easter
  • Life Board workshops up and running from my dining room.  
Enough.  You are as overwhelmed as I am.  You can see why I hoovered my house.