Weekend plans

Friday already. The days are flying by. Staying with Cousin is like stepping into a life I know but do not usually live. I catch up with her friends, her children, the dogs, her in-laws, our shared family.

Walking Westie Boy yesterday I met her neighbour Julie. “How long are you home for?” she asked. Home is a loaded word, and I am not sure I could ever live here. Apparently I am an Irish citizen by right and birth, but I am English in my core. It is England that has raised me nurtured me, made me who I am. Mostly. Because in England I am aware that under my Home Counties accent lies another self, my half-Irish self, complicated by it being a Northern Irish, Protestant self, which to some means a non identity, a non country.

Which I find odd; because my English self is descended from immigrants from both Germany and France, and maybe elsewhere that I don’t know about. Why is it that your claim to nationality in one country should depend on ancestors rooted there for millennia and in another by your ancestors desire to belong to that country?

After Mother died I donated her mother’s autograph book to the Ulster Linen Library. The entries were from before her marriage. Around 17th March many were signed by friends describing themselves as proudly Irish. There were carefully inked harps and shamrocks; poems about Ireland; love of country written in flowing copperplate. A few years later those same people presumably described themselves, post partition, as British. Nationality is a strange creature. Continue reading

Another Day in London

Home after a lovely day spent with my friend, and ex-colleague, Vicky.
We were heading for the V&A, and the opportunity to look at and take pictures of the Queen Mother’s Gates, a present to her on her eightieth birthday, was a nice start.

They are a beautiful, fanciful; as frothy as the QM’s famous gauzy floating outfits. We touched and looked, and pointed out our favourite bits. I took some snaps. Continue reading

Bicycle Repairs and Brown Rice

Fingers crossed, so far I’ve not had a puncture. I do have a repair kit somewhere, but as I had to consult the manual just to get my rear light cover off this morning, I’m not hoping to have to cope with the broken nails and doubtless humiliation that the task probably involves any day soon.

Luckily for me, closish to home, and on my way to and from work, is a little outfit offering sanctuary. It’s a left over from the eighties, a sort of protest and survive pad, a self-help place of the type that you used to find decades ago, but which largely vanished when padded shoulders and big hair became fashionable.

You can probably get the feel of the place from this noticeboard.

Continue reading