Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

English Wednesdays

He’s buried there in Whitefriar Street
and they are buried too,
the disappeared,
all the matronly types I fell for...

My poem "Valentine" is published today in Staxtes magazine English Wednesdays.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Glimmer Train

My story "The Babby" has been accorded honourable mention in the Glimmer Train September "Family Matters" short story competition. I am particularly chuffed as it was one of over a thousand entries, and found itself under the eyes of the marvellous Susan and Linda, the sisters behind Glimmer Train.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Christmas cactus

It hardly bloomed last year but this year it is wildly prolific, outdoing itself, and in the same spot.

Friday, October 30, 2015

School day

I am a mature student, the only one here, and it's my first day at this school. I'm waiting in a common area till I find out which room we're in. They've all gone in. I follow the way they went but I'm late and get told off by the teacher, who indicates that I should sit in a small space between the others. Everyone here slides desks around to where they want them. Instead of sitting where I'm told, with my briefcase, I decide to take one of the desks from the back and slide it around to where I want it. A little while into class, the teacher slides himself over the desk on my left, where two others sit and brings his head over to talk to us, mainly to me. I think so this is why private education is so successful, the individual attention. But then I can't make out what he's saying, apart from the last few words. This is not going to work for me. I go for a walk outside in the street. It's daytime. A sign is hanging from a pub down onto the ground and only just attached by a corner, so I step on it easily to bring it down altogether, which is safer. I think, well that class was fun, but it was English. The next one might be Maths and that would be a bore. Back in the common area, reading, and I realise they've all gone in. I'm late again.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I'm sorry to tell you, and I don't know how to tell you, but my mother passed away in the early hours of October 2nd, after a long illness. I'm sharing a link to the the notice on and the words my sisters put together.

Eulogy composed and read out in parts by my sisters for the funeral service at Glasnevin

On behalf of the family we would like to thank you all for being here today.

To­day we are here to celebrate the life of Mam / Molly / Nana and remember just some of the good times along the way.

She was a Dublin woman born and bred who never lost her love of the city, especially around St. Stephens Green where she played as a child.

She trained and worked as a talented dressmaker and one of our abiding childhood memories was her ability to find the best remnant of cloth in Hickeys, take it home and turn it into clothes that would sit proudly these days in any designer shop, ­ We were the best dressed kids in Dublin!

She had a great love of ceili dancing ­ Herself & Aunt May danced their way into the Jo Mac Show and went on tour with them in America.

She bought her first car and learned how to drive it on the way home!

On hearing that her first grandchild had arrived, in delight ran the length of O’Connell Street to get to the Rotunda asap leaving a friend standing wondering what was going on! Her enthusiasm and love for all her grandchildren never waned beyond this sheer delight and love at watching them grow.

She was an avid armchair sports person! who surprised us all when she ran in the Woman’s mini marathon in her 50’s and was delighted to see her photo in the national paper the following day.

Mam instilled in us all a strong sense of right and wrong and never to judge people on where they came from only on how they behaved. She always said “it’s not where you are from its how you behave that matters”

And after we had long flown the nest and set up our own lives, she met Tommy and together they explored several countries of the world, something she had never done (beyond the Jo Mac thing!) She loved these years and she loved Tommy, who has been the very best of companions to her over the last decade.

We’ve been saying Good­bye to Mam for many years now as we watched her illness slowly take her from us, it has been a long road which has tested us all and along the way we have discovered things about ourselves; and about being thankful for small things, like the fact that she never lost her ready smile when people spoke to her, or the pleasure of listening to music even when she could no longer dance along to it, she seemed happiest when in the midst of a group of people and she seemed calm within herself which is not a given with this illness.

We could go on, but instead we thought we would give you a run through of our chatter over the last few days :­



















I'm sure all of us here to­day have some special memories, but suffice to say for us, her family, she was a wonderful Mother and Grandmother and she will live on with us in our hearts and minds where she will be forever missed.

With friends and family (Highfield)

With Dad (on O'Connell Bridge)

Molly, at age 15

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BBC The Daily Politics - assassinating Corbyn

Some gibbering ass (Lance Price) is trying to say Corbyn's speech was no good. He's trying his damnedest to portray it as a dismal failure. He wants Corbyn to go chasing other people's votes, the very mistake that has now cost Labour two general elections. Jeremy Corbyn's speech was excellent, and I have watched all the leader speeches for both main parties for many years. It was one of the best. The BBC commentator, Lance Price, was wheeled on by Andrew Neil immediately after the speech with a little caption on the screen, "Speech Verdict". How can this be viewed in any other way than a calculated attempt to smear Corbyn and distort perception of his speech? Price says he had low expectations and the speech fell well below them. I don't think the idiot can have even listened to the speech. It was excellent and ended on a massive high, far more thoughtful and satisfactory than Miliband or Blair ever achieved with their phoney baloney. I make a little exception for Gordon Brown but he too was in thrall to "chasing the game". Corbyn is on the money. But I'm afraid BBC News is in a tailspin. I love the BBC but its news division is dissolving into amateurish, clownish self-indulgence and groupthink. #dailypolitics #bbcdailypolitics #bbc #bbcnews #bbcdailypolitics #andrewneil #jeremycorbyn #uklabour #lanceprice

BBC Newsnight

BBC Newsnight commentators are like children trying to guess what the grown-up world is about, chattering nonsense. ‪Evan Davis was in a world of his own as he questioned John McDonnnell about policy at the 2015 Labour party conference. He was all wrapped up and smiling and not even looking at McDonnell. He talked so fast, the shadow chancellor could hardly get a word in. Evan Davis hasn't woken up from the previous groupthink and when he does he will get into another groupthink. He might never have an idea of his own, as long as he lives. Allegra Stratton is even worse. All the mateys together. #‎bbcnewsnight‬ #evandavis #allegrastratton #johnmcdonnell

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The trophy

It is night and the city streets are dark and crowded. A sort of tournament is under way, which all the people are in. The crowds proceed around a large town square in the darkness. The trophy is on a small table in the middle of the grassy square where all is pitch dark. I go in and take it.  Everywhere is so dark there is no risk of being seen. Someone is with me, but only vaguely. I lead the way around the corner of a building and along narrow pavements lined with police. Maybe we drift apart a little on our way out of town.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Trying to find a way to the station. Somewhere like Hammersmith, Fulham Palace Road. Leaving a room, closing the door. To one side a dead end. The other way, corridors that lead to other corridors and turnings.


We go into a shop on the way to a concert, and the person I know points out where things are. But then they leave and I'm at the counter, behind which is a wall of many shelves with many boxes. And the shopkeeper, who is not even around (probably in a back room) is waiting for me to learn what I'm after.


The bar is crowded before the show. We try to get a place to order. The person I'm with gets in before me, further down the bar. By the time I am about to order my own drink, they are gone.


People I don't know, whose faces I never even see. Two women try to French kiss me at the same time, one on each side. I'm not sure if I know them or not.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Prickly cucumber

Homegrown cucumber
It has lots of little cactusy prickles on it. You can see the flower still at the bottom of it. Here is another flower with a cucumber starting.

This is how they start.
Thanks to my sister S. for the plant.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


A seagull in Bristol
By the way, Chekhov's play is on at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre, The Seagull (19 June - 11 July 2015).

Friday, March 13, 2015


"Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop, reading a novel by Cormac McCarthy, not bothering anybody, when an argument breaks out at another table."

My flash fiction "Criminals" is in Spelk Fiction this week.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Other beaches

My handler organised a beach holiday for me, I think in Gaza. Yes, it was a bit rough and ready, but a beach is a beach. People were enjoying the surf, though it was a bit far out, not too far really. I had to go into a cabin in the water by the shore, which it turned out was a toilet. After the trip, when I thought about it at home, it occurred to me that it was a pity to have effluent in the sea, even only a bit, where a couple of hundred yards away there would be people swimming and playing. However, the call came again for another secret mission, this time to Israel. It was only when we reached the border and military guards let my handler proceed through the turnstile that I realised I'd forgotten my little passport. Oddly though, it didn't matter as they never checked and we found ourselves on a sort of pier, over another beach. Turn about and there was our destination, a pub called Szel's. It's a small place, almost dark as night inside. I leave my handler sitting at one of only a couple of tables in the bar. The staircase is unlit, and three chairs across one of the steps almost block the way. But there is a gap on one side and I continue on up to the next flight of stairs.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

At the show

The back row bench seat in a small arena. A young woman on my right closes the space and links my arm. It is pleasing. From the left, another even more sensual woman, in patterned leggings and top, rolls onto me and begins petting. I feel intense pleasure. But now a man comes up to the row below and remonstrates with her furiously. He takes her down. There is the prospect of violence and I must escape. Finding of the way out. It is found. I stop to see, between vertical panels of canvas, a broom sweeping the stage floor, ready for the dancers.