Yesterday was a strange one. The day before I'd spent at Mackay's, helping paint his living room. Good honest work, for a change. Was able to employ my Dad's adage - he was a decorator by trade - "it all dries white". Ie, it'll turn out okay. And it did. Music to paint by - Sugarcubes, Violent Femmes, early Beck, Pink Floyd.
So I started Wednesday a little hungover from the exertion, but fine - then came news of a friend's illness. She's going through diagnosis. We can only hope it's not as serious as it might be. And then in the library I bumped into old college friend (Dr) Tiffany Stern, who teaches at Oxford Brookes. Tiff was very kind to me when I was going through Hodgkin's Disease way back when. It was really a delightful surprise to see her. She's lost nothing. When she'd gone though, I found myself unable to shake off thoughts of illness.
More happily, I was rung up later on by Thomas de Mallet Burgess, who wanted to talk about plays. Thomas is involved with the Ideas Foundry, but is also artistic director of a well-established company in Dublin that makes theatre for young people, and he wanted to sound me out. Which was, like the man says, nice. So I'll send him a couple of scripts and a couple of ideas and we'll see.
Meantime, I've got fifty pages of Empress and I'm only a third of the way through, scene-wise (5 of 15). What's going on? I've cut it and pruned it, believe me. And it's not un-tight. Please God I don't want it to turn into an unplayable epic.