A rather depressing day at work - a meeting about the new funding for September. You’ll understand why I’m feeling like this if you look back at one of my earlier posts, A Beginner Reader is not a Beginner Thinker .
I enjoyed working as an Adult Literacy tutor, and later a manager, because the service was dedicated to helping people who’d not been successful at school, and giving them support and time to work at their own pace. Now, the funding is depending more and more on quick results and accreditation, with less opportunity to take account of the realities of people’s lives, such as shift work, ill-health, and familiy responsibilities.
The word ‘family’ brings me back what I was mentioning in the previous post about Late Shift (to see how this came about, take a look at the post, Cannon Poets and What This Led to )
As any parent will know, once you’ve fixed a date for one of the most important events in your adult life, particularly one that closely involves others for whom your presence is vital, Sod (of Sod’s Law) will manage to arrange a conflicting event on the same date at the same time somewhere else in the country for one of your children – an event that in their eyes will rank as the most important of their life, ever. One of those key rites of passage, than which nothing, absolutely nothing, could be more important – for example, your daughter’s graduation ceremony.
Naturately, that was the date chosen for Late Shift’s first performance – an occasion that was to take place in one of the main venues for artistic events in the Literary Festival at Ledbury. The date of my daughter’s graduation ceremony at Nottingham University, with an invitation for two close relatives. This, in her case, meant her father, and her mother.
This was the three-year old who’d stopped my heart at the thought of our future separation. How could I not be there for her? (see the post: A Short Digression onThe Joys of Motherhood)
Enter Clarissa Dickson Wright, (a bit like a fairy godmother!) My daughter would have four visitors to her university that day: both parents would be at the lunch beforehand, together with her brother and her dearly-beloved Godmother. We could all be photographed with the graduate in her cap and gown (proof of her mother’s presence, in spite of everything) , and then I’d drive our son back home, before setting off for Ledbury. Meanwhile, Clarissa would take my place among the assembled parents, and offer her cheers and applause instead of mine.
As I drove away, I wondered why I wasn’t feeling nervous. Well, it must be because I wasn’t strictly on the way to Ledbury yet – I was on my way home, to collect my script and drop off my son. Stage fright was obligatory, wasn’t it? It was bound to hit me, sooner or later.