It’s a strange fact about poetry festivals that the nearer you get to the centre of power the less poetry you hear. I have good friends working as dogsbody stewards at readings, getting for free an amazing taste of really good stuff. But here I am at Ground Control, the centre of this poetic universe, despatching runners, answering radios, responding to crises, and not hearing a word of the poems that it’s all about. Ah well. The real grind this year’s been done by Lisa and Jade, who are so overworked they’ve commandeered support from Lisa’s partner Dave and Jade’s mum Linda, also helping out at Ground Control. Talking to them, my five hour stint seems a drop in the ocean. They’ve had months of non-stop work, just to get ready for these two and a bit days of frantic activity. But it’s been brilliant, and even the weather goods have seen fit to defy the forecast. A reward for hours of dedicated work.