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Showing posts from August, 2010

Belfast For Me

When I was a kid in the 70’s there was a place in Ireland we used to hear about on the news, in black and white of course, called Belfast, and back then I thought it must have been Africa or Israel or somewhere, because wherever it was, it was one of those far away countries in the throes of war. But Belfast really was in Ireland and what was going on there were ‘the troubles’, which is a word the Irish use for war when it’s happening in their own country. By the 80’s I knew a bit more, and I did take a trip to Belfast, not on a political mission or anything, it was to buy a telly and condoms. When we headed down the main shopping streets we were frisked by armed soldiers and I vaguely remember a lot of barbed wire and wasteland. Two years ago, I was invited back there to represent Connacht in the BBC4 All Island poetry slam. ‘All Island’ is the new word for ‘Ireland including Northern Ireland.’ It was a riot, but not like the riots back in the day. The audience were a bit rowdy, but …

A Head of Lettuce for €200?

A few months back I was feeling a bit frustrated with myself. You see I couldn’t understand how it was practically impossible to get from one end of the week to the next on my deserted wives pension. I reckoned that the wise and important people who govern our country must have worked out what the minimum requirements are in order to keep your hungry little beak just about bobbing above water. But somehow I only found myself getting from Thursday to about Monday and then making pancakes and chasing away the T.V. license man until the next handout. So I decided to be clever, it’s a recession after all. Down I went to the Credit Union and talked them into lending me the grand sum of €120. With it I headed over to my local Garden Centre and bought the following: a little wooden frame thingy called a raised bed, three bags of muck (no, not make up, real muck. You have to pay for that too.), a few packs of seeds, a bottle of fertilizer, a shovel and extravagantly, a pot of green paint to p…