Places I’ve lived

Rural Ireland, September 2000

The Virgin Mary follows me round the room every morning. She presides over the bath in stain-glassed judgement giving my vacant look a run for its money. The bathroom is next to the double-room, not quite en suite but close enough to save me the run up the cold stairs the other bedrooms would demand. I could have any one of them; the house is all mine. For now.

Above the hearth hangs a painting. It’s of a group of musicians with over-sized lips and an assortment of raven and red heads. In the centre a flute rises to the lips of a woman frequently mistaken for me but the extent of my musical prowess has not been bettered since the five years of piano lessons grudgingly surrendered to in exchange for my parents’ satisfaction. This excludes the later air-fiddling I have been known to break into with a breadknife when I’ve had just enough beer to tip me into the moment of now. The moment when all that matters is sustaining the bonhomie ricocheting off the walls in the painting, and getting to bed by a then semi-respectable 4am.

The painting is an interpretation of a scene from my local, where your character is judged according to your ability to hold your own in conversation on a variety of topics, not what you do for a living, or the number of letters that trail your name.

The man who maintains he has made radio contact with the crew from the Mir satellite station sits at ease alongside the blow-in bank manager who has been crossing over and back the threshold of everyone’s finances for the last thirty odd years, occupying the status of half-bishop, half-counsellor.

I live here for three years.

Results from the 1st fifteen minute writing exercise on the first night of the writers group. I was forced to lean on a book entitled ‘A Parental Guide to Preventing Homosexuality’ from a nearby bookshelf and very nearly gratuitously used it for the title of this post. The painting now hangs in our kitchen.

6 thoughts on “Places I’ve lived

  1. Get you going to a Real Live Writing Class 🙂 Love the idea of status being awarded to those who can hold their own. A good pub is all about those who can blether about anything. I know two blokes who used to sit at the bar telling Pointless Lies to each other – made up stories designed to draw in the unwary tourist. Reader, I did not marry one of them

    • Oh, you’ve got to! You’ve GOT to tell me more. You’re obliged, bloggers honour. It all happens in the pub. The true court of human behaviour.

      Less writing class than.. group? A short-term thing I’m half gearing up to possibly share a bit more about. Maybe. You know yourself what I mean. I know you know. I’ll tell you over a pint when I make it to the Edinburgh Festival. On my free travel pass.

  2. It’s twenty odd years ago!!! One of the blokes is the Him who lives in my house, and the other is His brother. It has meant a legacy of me never believing a damn thing He says 🙂 The story you do want to hear is what happened to Him on the night we “got it together” !!!! But that’s a pub story, not a blog! Hey, are you still coming to Glesgae in April????

    • Most definitely have to hear that one. April plans up in the air at the moment. Hanging on to see what my employment status will be. Or employability status, as I’ve started saying. Fingers crossed. If not then, well, very likely before the year’s out. I’m holding you to that story.

  3. Pingback: Blogging by numbers | department of speculation

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