• Finagling Bagels in Boston •

Like cockroaches I firmly believe Tesco bagels could survive a nuclear holocaust.

Found this in the bread drawer more than a few days lurking there, but once in the toaster it sprung to life.

Angela & I were in Boston in ‘99 & went into one of the usual Finagle a Bagel or whatever the joint was called. Never heard of or seen a bagel before, AP speaks up and asks for what sounded like a ‘bagelle’. The Bostonion Bagel seller was confused, perturbed, uncertain. ‘Pardon me ma’m?’ •

You can take the Derry Girls out of Derry for sure. •

Feeling smug I asked what was ‘nish’, with a silent ‘k’.

Cue further furrowed brows & perplexed looks. ‘Knish sir?’

‘Ehh, yes that’s what I meant…’ mumbled I.

We stood corrected & enjoyed the food.

It was different, now of course the bagel is ubiquitous.

I wonder how the Bostonian Finagle a Bagellers would have fared in Jack’s chippy in Omagh or even Fiorentini’s in Derry.

• Sound of the Sea •

Wherever you are in Portstewart you can hear the sound of the sea. Most noticeable in the late evening when the ambient sounds of life have died away & there is a deep sustained quiet roar in the background.

Sometimes you can’t hear it until you listen for it, but rest assured it is there. It’s the noise of water rolling rocks, crashing pebbles, shifting sand, colliding with cliffs & stones that won’t move. Occasionally there’s a big shift & something happens.

This week the tide swept right up the beach wreaking havoc among the National Trust constructions, toppling & floating away their wardens’ shed. It sits now with a hole in the roof offering shelter no more.

The waves don’t care, their incessant roar fills the airwaves & hangs there waiting to be heard. Even when it is quiet, listen & you will hear.

• The Word Hoard •

Passed a day returning to Homeplace in Bellaghy.

On a visit you could easily spend hours listening & browsing.

The rural context of Heaney’s origins give a layer of understanding & meaning that gives the poems full expression.

In sitting down with one of the children to listen to a recording of Digging, I realised that the lines ‘My grandfather cut more turf in a day/Than any other man on Toner’s bog’ are a childhood boast by a child. My dad’s bigger than your dad. Brilliantly rendered. Previously unnoticed.

Here & there to see people ensconced, listen intently to a poem, it shows how to bring the words alive. I pointed out to the guide how Seamus Heaney had gifted a handwritten manuscript of ‘Markings’ to our GAA club. We weren’t the only ones for sure.

The word hoard installation suspended from the roof hangs there, offering you a word to reach for, grasp & use. Dandering. Blathering. Blessed.

#Heaney #Homeplace #Poetry #IrishPoetry #IrishTourism #wildatlanticway

Monday Microbiome Blues

Woke up this morning. Time for the frosty back to school post Christmas Happy New Year blues.

Only one thing worse than no lead in your pencil is no ink in your pen. Narrowly avoided the latter fate by finding a bottle of blue ink. What else would you use for writing the blues.

The advantage of working at home is the possibility of moving from office to kitchen to living room and to bed even if the motion takes me. Peripatetic pen pushing. The living room complete with fire lit is hard to beat. If I could improve my office it would be with fire. I don’t mean by burning it & all that’s in there no, I mean for heating purposes. Otherwise it is a comfortable & reasonable creative space.

I was able to go all in-house Bear Grylls by foraging an egg carton & milk jar to ignite the turf which wouldn’t even previously give me a smouldering look.

Now the flames lick around it lasciviously, hot, smoky, a warm & tinder embrace.

Meanwhile the resident handyman repairs the basketball busted window from the other day.

Today is about getting back on track & scheduling myself for January & beyond.

I read this in the Irish News: “it’s time to give your gut a boost & keep your microbiome in check.” Indeed. & this: “engage in diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, tai chi, meditation & mindfulness to combat a chronic stress state.” Are they all to be done together?

So much for the blues.