I’ve been asked at least a dozen times in the last fortnight whether we have any plans for the summer holidays. Why do people ask? Is it just a handy conversation filler for the month of June? Well, the short answer is no. No, we have no plans. There is simply not enough money left … Continue reading The Island. Victoria Hislop.
I believe I have mentioned before the Irish tradition of dispatching young teenagers to remote Ghaeltacht (Irish-speaking) areas for the summer holidays. I spent four Julys on the island of Chléire (Cape Clear) and three of those Julys I lived in this house: It’s not too difficult to see why I left a piece of … Continue reading Hame by Annalena McAfee.
Venice has Murano, Sorrento has Capri, San Francisco has Alcatraz and Cork, well… Cork has Spike. For well over two hundred years the people of Cork could admire, but never set foot on, Spike Island. Now we can and it makes a great day out. The island housed a monastery as early as the 7th … Continue reading Escape To Spike.
‘Home is where the books are.’ Richard Burton. The best books are the ones that you don’t just read. They are the ones that you live through. I find it impossible to part with those books. It’s as if a bit of me is embedded in them. As a result, my Husband has spent two … Continue reading Bookroom.
My approach to book-buying has, of late, come into line with my attitude to purchasing stuff in general. That is, I have learned to resist the hype and take the marketing with a generous pinch of salt. For as long as I can remember, I’ve needed to have a book on the go and, ideally, … Continue reading Feeding My Habit.
‘Where are we going on our holidays?’ asked the Small Girl, for the umpteenth time. ‘We are going to Sofa,’ replied Teenage Daughter with admirable resignation. You see, following last year’s fiasco (matchbox chalet teetering over a cliff in driving rain), I determined that the family’s holiday budget would, instead, be spent on a blue … Continue reading The Story of My Shelves.
My early teenage years were rotten. They were sufficiently miserable, I think, to warrant a doleful memoir but the writing of it would likely kill me. Never mind that, for one month (July) out of every twelve I was shipped off to summer school in a Ghaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area of West Cork. There, on an … Continue reading Graham Norton’s Holding.
If only I could learn to trust, when September turns rotten, that October will blaze through with golden light. Can you believe all this was foraged from the very hedge which marks the boundary of Cork city and county. The hedge runs through a bit of land known as Murphy’s farm. Not even my extremely … Continue reading Murphy’s Crab Apple, Rose Hip and Quince Jelly and, even better, Murphy’s Membrillo.
I spent last evening completely entranced whilst Michael Morpurgo regaled me with stories of sinking ships, desert islands and derring do. That I was surrounded by eight hundred other fans was little matter; each of us was under his spell. That the audience ranged in age from eight to eighty caused this story-teller little difficulty. … Continue reading An Evening With Michael Morpurgo.
This room was my favourite room from the very first time we viewed the house. On that first, fateful day the auctioneer almost broke the half-rotten front door as he pushed it open against a heap of junk mail on the mat. The original hall was less than three feet wide but made narrower still … Continue reading Book Room Ta-daah!