Well then, H is for house, home, hidden, heartsore…and so on. J is for junk, just junk. But what is I for? On yet another sleepless night, rummaging through my newly made house-moving alphabet, it’s odd I can’t remember.Continue reading
The winter sun just hangs over the ridge of the Coolags. Its setting will seal the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. At this season the sun is a pale wick between two gulfs of darkness.
So wrote George Mackay Brown, the observant eye of the great Orkney poet seeking out the touch of magic conjured up by the Neolithic architects who created Maeshowe with hard-hewn rock and a knowing eye on the heavens. Continue reading
Who the hell am I? Neither one thing nor another, I realised three years ago, presenting my brand-new Irish passport at a border check for the first time. It’s actually not a bad state to be in, but it highlights the terrible destructive carelessness of Boris Johnson’s Brexit and the awful harm a new hard border could conjure out of the boggy landscape of Ireland.Continue reading
Our disinfected doorbell rings. Outside a smiling young man delivers a box of essentials: fresh fruit, toilet rolls, paracetamol…and just a little booze.Continue reading
‘I got the train home. It was rush hour so there were four passengers. On an eight coach train.’
Roz pauses, scissors in hand. ‘At the start of lockdown I quite liked the novelty of a seat to myself,’ she says, meeting my eyes above the mask in the mirror. ‘Now I really miss the banter on the Glasgow train.’Continue reading
Begging to differ, a critical comment brings an unexpectedly welcome opportunity to step outside my social media cell.Continue reading
On a Wednesday morning early I took the road to Derry
Along Glenshane and Foreglen and the cold woods of HillheadSeamus Heaney: The Road to Derry
It’s almost always personal. My latest poetry blogpost for Sceptical Scot provides a selection of five poems for the General Election. I wanted to balance the persistent drumbeat of divisive politics with different voices. I kept more intimate feelings to myself.Continue reading
And after the snow melts…snowdrops. Good to walk without plunging up to the knees in white stuff. Even better to feel the warmth of the sun. For the first time in two weeks the road to Pond Cottage is open and, apart from the odd Henry Moore shapes emerging from what’s left of roadside snowdrifts, the Siberian front has retreated. Continue reading
Ah, the summer of love. From this long distance it seems an age of rosy innocence. Then the 1967 timeline recollects the startling reality. What a year it was! To a soundtrack of the Beatles, a newsfeed of race riots across the US, death dropped daily on Vietnam.
Somehow I just lost fifty years. Where did it go? One bank holiday Monday half a century ago – dear god half a century! – I slipped into a home-made kaftan and hopped onto the back of Glynn’s Lambretta. And off we roared (well, ok, scootered) into an echoing hall of fame. The rest is history, it seems. Continue reading
It’s such a gloriously improbable tale. A young woman on the last day of her holiday on Skye spots an old croft house for sale in an estate agents window. What happens next is the stuff of dreams at the end of a hard working week. Continue reading