I am grateful to Bill Boyd for instigating this evening on several counts. Let's begin with the prosaic. Instead of the usual Sunday of getting the dinner in the oven, eating it and then dozing in front of the telly till it was time for bed, we hied off to Glasgow, ate wonderful tapas in Café Andaluz (ah, the green chillies!), had coffee with Duffy (an irrepressible FP - again arranged via Twitter) and then realised a long-held ambition to visit the building with the flaming torches outside the portico. What is more, we both stayed awake, didn't yawn, and talked all the way home.
And, less prosaically - indeed, positively poetically - I found the desire to write welling up again. I realised how seldom I have the chance to share poetry, to enthuse and be understood, to listen and to discover new things and revisit old friends - and all this in the company of a group of people whose link was the poems of one man. Somehow that cut out all the distractions of shared lives, all the small gossipy details that distract, leaving us with the words, the ideas, the mastery and the mystery that is great poetry. We didn't need to be polite, to make small talk, to organise anything, and that was a release.
Of course it couldn't last. But we were outside in the freezing street before Bill realised that I was a certain Ewan's mother. And then we weren't discussing poetry at all. We were roaring with laughter. And that too was good. A good night, in fact. I look forward to the next one.