First scratchings in Northern Ireland

Wednesday and I’m already awake at, what? 6.30am? About 11pm last night I tried writing but got past the first stanza of a rhyming piece but found myself (oh – there I am!) drifting off first trust the bank of ways that you could go you step slow avenues or head for goals if you could choose – then tell or show the passions there – then trust your soul (first trust is the name of a bank in Ireland and I like the way the two words jump about with each other.) I let sleep take me (along with its friends the beer)

At about 7am, the alarm clock went off and I was given a joyful series of licks by one of the hairy beasts of a dog I’m sharing the house with. The other one’s a grump and because of mistreatment being bred in its bones is just getting used to me.

I’m staying off the Belmont Road, outside Belfast with a friend’s sister and her partner. There’s (apparently) a lovely long line of shops on the main thoroughfare, which because I’ll be feeding myself tonight I’ll have to investigate. I’m saying apparently, because everything’s been a bit of a whirl so far. It’s been years since I flew, years since I’ve been away from the office (even thoughts of it) and now something I’ve been promising myself is telling me to ‘get on with it and trust what comes out’. Brutal advice, but a paraphrased piece of wisdom I use with my students when I’m running a creative writing session and the block sets in. Seems to work, but can I take my own advice?

It’s also been years since I saw the towering yellow H and W cranes, Samson and Goliath, been caught in the rain at the side of an Irish slip road and even more years since I’ve had an egg soda* Now that’s a thought – I still haven’t.

I have to create a mantra – come to Ireland and write, come to Ireland and write come to Ireland and write come to Ireland and write come to Ireland and write ad inf. There, I’ve done it.

I’m a bit of a blunderer in new places. Similar to my Dad, but he has a more inquisitive nature, likes to investigate and find things out. He’s also 72, has a yen for fixing things, doesn’t like waste and unlike me, can use the Taurus part of him for positive. I’m a bugger when it comes to stubborn-ness.

Yesterday I registered with the main city library. It had a beautiful revolving door. Cumbersome, particularly when one has two rucksacks slung across the shoulder and would fall foul of the D.D.A. But, strangely enough, the latter is the last thing on my mind. So the librarian was brilliant. I presented my details, gave her my temporary address and within fifteen minutes was up and running on the net. She was even sweet enough to tell me how to use the well known search engine…, google eyd (groan) I waited.

I wandered the bowels of sluggerotoole and picked up the entrails of Once finished, made my apologies for my mistakes (that’s another story) I rain-danced my way back to the bus station and was questioned (by a very polite English accent0 about how to get to the Europa (a bus station which sits cheek to cheek with a pub seemingly built round is own snugs, called T he Crown). I did my best to probe the timetable and work it out then went off to plague with my own questions on how I could get to my hosts’ house. When I was told ‘you need a city bus…not here…first you need to go…that’s when thoughts of taxis came in and my anal attitude with pound stirling loosened it’s sphincter. I’m glad it did.

I don’t know if it’s the nature of the poet, the nature of the taxi driver or the nature of the Irish but we just talked all the way. We agreed on the similarities of my home city and Belfast being the appalling one-way system (and currently the weather) and quickly went on to music. Obviously it was part of his yearly life-cycle as it should be of everyone

Meanwhile, there’s a virtual poetry guide/talk/reading at the library today in Donegal Square North. That’s where I’m heading (e.t.a 1.10pm). There’ll be an excellent opportunity for some networking and some interviewing. I’ll write more soon

also published on and forwarded to

*Toasted soda bread with , yes you guessed it, with a fried egg (or two) on top.