I knew when he set the copy of Good Housekeeping magazine to one side that he had been waiting for me. Not me specifically, but a version of me; someone on their own who would speak and not shrug; someone who would agree with him that it was a day for indoors; someone who thought … Continue reading Encounter
“In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.” Isn’t that a lovely line? It’s from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It makes me think about reframing awful things in a different way. Maybe this (insert whatever your trouble is) isn’t so bad after all. And if to reframe … Continue reading The Sunset of Dissolution
There are four of them in the shed. For nine months of the year, they languish, the cobwebs build until May or June when they are taken out, one by one – rickety, arthritic, creaking – and are wheeled around the back lawn like an invalid in rehab. An assessment of what needs done to … Continue reading Eight Wheels
Heat shimmers on the ocean and the ferry pulls away from the land and dolphins dive the length of Lough Ryan only to disappear when we reach the wide-open Irish Sea. Once docked, I drive to the Antrim coast, arriving before dark, dizzy from not having drunk enough water on the journey and I fall … Continue reading July Holidays
Why we should keep old letters...
‘You make a great cup of tea.’ I know it doesn’t sound like the most fulsome praise to give someone, but it’s a decent start. The small things matter, in fact, people are more likely to believe and remember the small compliments, the droplets of praise; they become the mortar holding our days together, they … Continue reading You Did Good
What difference would it have made to Tarry Flynn had he got himself onto a dating app? That is the question I keep turning over in my mind. Tarry is the main character of the eponymously titled Patrick Kavanagh novel that I am re-reading after twenty-five years. Published in 1948, it was banned for fourteen … Continue reading Meet Me at the Crossroads
The weather, the grass, and emerging from lockdown.
The Door, written by Magda Szabó, is a post-war story about a woman’s relationship with her housekeeper, of whom the narrator says, “One can tell instinctively what sort of flower a person would be if born a plant, and her genus certainly wasn’t the rose, with its shameless carmine unfolding – the rose is no … Continue reading Hello Petal
Outside Scotmid a young girl with matted hair sits on a tartan blanket. ‘Any spare change, please.’ A man carries a baby, pressed like a pillow into his belly. He stops at Bayne’s window to point out the green spider decorations and the buns shaped as pumpkins, iced with orange fondant. The baby is too … Continue reading The Street Where I Live