Pre-Christmas Catch-up!

Where do I start? On a light note, perhaps? We went to see The Killers in concert in Newcastle and they were incredible. I have wanted to see them live for years so we splashed out on the VIP Package – let me tell you, VIP obviously stood for Very Impulsive Purchase because it certainly didn’t get us any preferential treatment. Yes, we got a decent seat but aside from that, still had to stand in the cold (even though we were led to believe we’d get in early). There was a VIP ‘host’: this host simply passed us our special ‘merch’ – a cheap-looking tote bag, supposedly designed and endorsed by the band, and a VIP pass that didn’t even bear the band’s name. The fact that these items littered the arena seating after the show says it all… We also had our pre-Christmas lunch at the fantastic Blackfriars in Newcastle – if you ever get the chance to eat here, do, it’s a wonderful place: warm ambiance, great service and the food is always delicious.

And then there was the bad stuff. My father-in-law was taken in to hospital at the beginning of November and the family got The Call on the 3rd. We were all around his bedside but he obviously didn’t want to leave until we gave him some peace. He passed away few hours after we left, having been stable all day. It’s been an awful year for loss and it never gets any easier.

Paling in comparison, my MA isn’t going well, either. It’s not what I expected (poetry-heavy and very little input from tutors). I just had my first round of feedback for the first module and it wasn’t good (I know there was a lot going on with Amber and Arthur passing away but I can’t say I’ve given it the attention I should have). Essentially, I don’t know how I’ve dared claim to be a writer for the past decade – I have issues with structure, my poetry is rubbish (I agree) and so on. I must admit, it’s making me regret my decision. I wanted to learn how to write properly and, although I accept the criticism, there are no pointers as to where I went wrong. Not one of my better decisions…

Back on a higher note. We were honoured to take part in the first ever Elf Walk in Newcastle (The Alzheimer’s Society) and we participated in memory of Arthur and Amber, who both suffered from Dementia. Our team (me, my husband, two nieces and my sister-in-law) raised around £500. It was a 5km walk, which sounded impossible (or improbable) but we took it slowly – there was a woman, walking alone, on two crutches – inspirational! Check out the ITV and BBC local news websites and look out for me among the sea of elves. It’s like Where’s Wally (Where’s Holly?)

That’s all for now. Going to try and come back more often.