Back on the bus to Belfast. It would be fun to continue in this alliterative way, but the people I'm meeting have names that begin with F and J.
Fiona, known to WordPress readers as Speccy, and I have met once before by the Europa bus station. That was a summer's day. It's February now, and chill winds whistle and find unprotected gaps in clothing, seeking out the spaces between glove and sleeve, sneaking down the back of a collar and testing the advertised thermal qualities of underwear.
We came in from a few brief minutes in the cold the other day, and one of my fingers was completely white. Cousin's daughter-in-law happened to be there, she's a nurse; oh she said, it looks like you have Raynaud's Syndrome. I had never heard of it. Yesterday, again after a few minutes in the cold all the fingers, but not the thumbs, of both hands went white. My toes were cold and numb too but I didn't take my shoes and socks off to check out their colour. It's made me wonder whether this has been happening for a while, but if my hands have warmed up again before I have taken my gloves off, I wouldn't have noticed.
But the bus is warm, and Fiona and I are meeting in the café of the Linen Hall library. It's a while since I was there and I am looking forward to it. Last night we got a cultural fix at the Seamus Heaney Homeplace listening to Larry McCluskey reading some of Heaney's poetry and talking about it. Many of the audience were local people who knew Heaney, including Cousin's close friend Ann, who was so ill in hospital when I visited last summer. Afterwards people flocked to talk to her and to wish her well. I shouldn't be surprised if the local paper were to carry a story about her appearance there and her welcome return to public life.
We're arriving in Belfast now, so I shall stop here and resume later.