Words and Wordsmiths


My Neck of the Woods


  Over the weekend, it got progressively colder, which is as it should be of a Berlin January.   It was so cold on Saturday that on the square expanse of wind-whipped Alexanderplatz a young couple, laughing, hunkering down by the U Bahn entrance pulled...

The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton


  With age comes (some degree of) wisdom. I have done so many stupid things over the decades, I do not really deserve still to be alive. F’rinstance: Aged about 9, I used to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to walk beside...

Cargoes


This morning in Berlin I had to get the dressing on my poorsorearm changed (metal plate and 5 screws were removed in an operation in France last week from the wrist broken 17 months ago.) The medical practice is a five minute walk from our...

Return of the iBlog: The Museum of Fascinating Articles


  Hello, I’m back. I’m not presuming you missed me, but in a way, I missed me. Remember the old buses, which had an open platform where the conductor stood and a pole to grip as you boarded or alighted?  In the past while my...

Alice Munro and The Diamond Earrings


  Some time ago in Dubai, Himself bought me a pair of diamond earrings.  Simple studs which – like the eyes of the Yellow Rose of Texas ‘sparkled like the dew.’ I put ‘em on and hardly wore any others for the past 15 years....

Ireland Professor of Poetry


    At a ceremony in in Trinity College Dublin on Friday, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins named Paula Meehan as Ireland Professor of Poetry 2013.  It is a huge honour. Paula Meehan is a very small woman with a voice that reaches deep...

Sex and The Country


                                Yesterday on the ‘phone a friend said they were into the tv series “The Americans.”  When I said we’d been thinking of watching it, he added “there’s a lot...

Exam Time


My Dear Nieces and Nephews Brian, Saorla, Ben and Hannah, John and Alison,   Today you started your important State exams, your Leaving Certificate and your Junior Certificate in different exam halls from Meath and Dublin to Cork and Limerick.  Each of you got every...

The Bol Weevil 4: Househunting on Radio


  The Irish radio and television presenter Pat Kenny read my blog about househunting in Dublin a couple of weeks ago and invited me to talk to him about the search on his daily talk show on RTE Radio 1 (Radio Telefís Eireann, the national broadcaster.)...

Room


  A while ago someone asked “If you were to live in a book, what would it be?” I immediately thought of the book in which I would most NOT want to live:  “Room.”   Emma Donoghue’s novel “Room” is a work of fiction told...