Reading My Way Around the World

Thursday 25 April 2019


Thank you all for understanding my need to rant the other day - and apologies for the bits of print that I'd copied in from Wikepedia and didn't spot the formatting - I wasn't intending to shout parts of it lol

In the midst of all the annoyance and chaos, as Aril pointed out, hasn't it been a joy to watch young Greta Thunberg making her quiet potent statements.   It will be interesting following her progress.  She is the positive we all need.

The bluebells have been really early here
I spotted this lovely ladybird late last week in the garden.
And on the positive note here, Tom got released from hospital today just in time for us to head off  on tour on Saturday, storm permitting.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Lyra McKee

This world is a mess - and for a long time I've been struggling to write blogs because all I've wanted to write is political comment and at the same time I've wanted to keep this space a positive and bright one.  But I have to pay tribute to a young woman who was murdered on Thursday night.

Lyra McKee
Many of you will have seen the news from Northern Ireland in the past few days of the terrible killing of the young journalist Lyra (pronounced Leera) McKee in Derry on Thursday night.  Here we are back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, again.

I cannot describe the feelings of anger and sorrow and fear that is permeating this land.   Apart from the sadness at the loss of this young life, a voice for the future, there is a sorrow for all of us.   We Cannot Go Back to this.    People are so angry, so afraid - I just want to cry every time I think of it.


was a freelance journalist and an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights for which she gave a TedX talk in Stormont a few years back.  She had a publishing contract for two books which she was in the process of completing about life here and she was ruthless in her investigations and criticisms.
This is a wonderful tribute to her from the Independent newspaper

Not In My Name

The  thugs need little or no excuse to start things up again.  But all over the country posters are up saying NOT IN MY NAME - most certainly Not In My Name!  Perhaps some good will come of Lyra's death and maybe, just maybe, it will be catalyst to get our power sharing government back up again.

The police were expecting violence as a run up to the Easter Rising Commemorations and right on cue a riot started, petrol bombs were thrown and a few shots of a handgun finished a young life.   Yesterday, Easter Sunday, is a day of celebration in the South of Ireland - it marks the day that the  1916 Rising happened which led to the Republic of Ireland being formed.

But of course, up here in the north, that means division.  Any celebration means division up here.    There are many who want to be part of that Republic, and there are many who see it as an abomination, an excuse to cause trouble. And in the middle there are many, like myself, who while  considering ourselves Irish, want to keep our heads down, fly no flags, be content in the status quo and get on with our own lives.

Up in the North West, in Derry/Londonderry they've always had a hard time and are rightfully worried about a resurgence of violence.   They are on the border with Co. Donegal which is in the south.  And the border issue around Brexit is adding fuel to the worries.

Which is it you may ask?  Derry or Londonderry?  Well,  It's actually both.   

When I worked for the BBC it was compulsory to say Londonderry first, then Derry second and after that it was up to you.   Thanks to a much missed radio DJ called Gerry Anderson it became known as Stroke City (get it?  Londonderry Stroke/ Derry!)
Derry is the anglicised version of the old Irish name Daire, or the modernised version Doire, which means oak grove.   The London prefix was added to Derry when the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster.    To the majority of people born on this island, Catholic or Protestant, it will always be Derry.  But legally it is Londonderry.  However to confuse issues further, the local council is Derry!   Let's opt for Stroke City!)

Then on Sunday I managed not to watch the news until late in the evening and saw the terrible tragedy unfolding in Sri Lanka.   That knot of fear and stress that we lived with for so long was back.  It only takes a moment for some thoughtless idiot, wanting to go down in history for some heroic deed as he/she sees it, to shatter hundreds of lives.

What an Easter.   And to top it all, Tom's been in hospital all through it!   Hopefully he'll escape soon.
Normal service will be resumed asap.