Thursday 20th December 2012
JUNE 5th, a Tuesday, was declared a public holiday, enabling us to spend more time celebrating the Jubilee. I went to a picnic in a park. It’s been raining ever since.
I think it unlikely that the planet will explode tomorrow – the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar – but thought I’d pen something now, just in case.
So, what better way for a writer to mark this extremity than to write something about writing?
(Incidentally, June 5th also saw the death of Ray Bradbury, the writing of whose Fahrenheit 451 followed his being questioned by the police for taking a night-time stroll.
“Walking, eh?” said the officer. “Just walking? Well, don’t do it again!”)
Since that fiercely hot day in May when a torch was conveyed through the city, I’ve been back to Bath and beyond on twenty-odd occasions, to fulfil the two-fold brief of ‘a commentary in the spirit of Samuel Pepys’ and the provision of ‘advice and support to local people’ about writing.
There were heavy showers the day we went to the street parties and it rained on the parade of the Paralympic flame, but these were mere tea-cups compared to the relentless torrents that lashed those committed to the annual Circuit of Bath sponsored walk.
Twerton folk have a fine collection of poems about the River Avon; writers in Midsomer Norton and Keynsham have uploaded pieces to the Quest website; interviews have been recorded with Saltford and Foxhill Memories groups, and a couple in Paulton, awarded MBEs for their charity work.
I’ve recited verses to some four hundred people, run a dozen workshops in libraries and community centres, and published fourteen online blogs, viewed by over 1,500 readers.
And with this, I conclude my journey as the 2012 Writer on the Road for Bath and North East Somerset Council. It’s been fun, fascinating, and as refreshing as… well, I could say rainfall, but perhaps not. A few more weeks of this and I’m intending taking up a new career – as a boat-builder.