Sunday, 8 July 2018


I’ve temporarily transported myself to a house atop a mighty hill, high above Lackan Bay, north Co. Mayo.

"Beyond the Black Stump!" as my Aussie friends say.

The universe has been inordinately kind to me at a time of great need. I think 15 years ago I very briefly met the woman who owns this house, but she doesn’t remember.

More to the point, she doesn’t care.

Explaining who I am to her on the phone consisted solely of mentioning my friends here, in and around Killala.

In turn, I have grown to know her a little by looking at the books that line her windowsills, the seed packets on her shelves and her DVD library, which has sustained me through long midsummer evenings.

There is no TV and I have no desire to use the internet.

There come exceptionally few days in our lives when the universe wants nothing from us. It is even rarer that when those days come, we are able and eager to greet them, but this week that combination arrived together, which I greatly appreciate.

I very much like a window to write beside. Ideally it would be on my left, but directly in front is lovely too. 

Whoever designed this house understands windows, as through the one ahead of me here I see cattle grazing far away towering hillsides, long grasses waving in the wind, the tallest buttercups I’ve ever encountered and wild roses growing out of ancient hedges.

they understood windows...

One of my friends in Killala told me yesterday that she prefers to write in a windowless corner, and there you have it.

Neither of us is right or wrong. Apart from death there are no absolutes, so when I have described myself in this colyoom as weird, because I sometimes need to be alone, I confess now to being disingenuous.

Judge me weird or any way you want, but do not condemn me for mere introversion.

There are over three billion introverts on this planet right now. You might not know it, because we don’t tend to advertise meetings.

While my friend likes the austerity and enforced focus of a dark corner, I much prefer to lift my eyes; to visually escape out of this splendid window. A glance above the laptop, a few seconds to ease my frown and stretch my spirit.

The fine weather goes on. My personal definition of ‘heatwave’ is any indefinite period of time, a minute or a month, when it’s so hot I fail to function.

Last June, in Portugal’s Douro Valley, I sat on my voluptuous arse for an entire week. The minimum at night was 26°, each day rising to 39°. I’ll take anything in the 20s, unless it’s drenching humid, and I’m talking Miami, London and Athens here, not yer Sligo humid.

Today there’s a northerly breeze cutting through the fiery heat. This to me is perfect weather. The house is silent and for a short while I immerse myself in Arcadian peace. 

My favourite beach in the world is 15 minutes drive away, because I’m for the first time on the western side of Lackan Bay, in this house delivered by the universe, through tragic coincidence.

At night high pressure sunsets drench Killala bay with golden blood.

The beauty of this place is sumptuous.

In a wondrous parenthesis from trauma, my energy levels are still primed on adrenaline overdrive. I’ve been sleeping just enough to keep going, but today, on my third morning in this house, I’m feeling weak with tiredness.

Probably the result of the eight hours kip I managed last night. I reckon my brain copped on to the fact that the universe needs nothing from me this week, and tried to relax me prematurely.

There’s much to deal with in my short term future, but right now, I need nothing, save to arrive home safely on Saturday, ready to face reality once more.

Today I’m going nowhere. My car Joey SX has the day off. He deserves it, given the melting tar on the roads and bohreens round here.

Today I will walk and write and rest and be.

Just be.

Of course I need the company of loved ones, and am blessed beyond reasonable bounds to have so many, but put me in this house, an airport or a station and I’ll happily pass endless hours in relaxed and calm fashion.

Ever since my early childhood I’ve had the ability to space out, to stare at nothing in particular, while contemplating everything.

By the age of 10 I instinctively felt simultaneously as vital and as irrelevant as everything else.

All fascinates me.
Boredom is a stranger.

At school I was endlessly reprimanded for not paying attention, yet felt unjustly accused: I was paying attention. I’d been incredibly focused on the tall blade of grass outside the classroom window.

That solid plume of strong green stem and long single leaf, swaying in the breeze.

How old was it?
Why had it grown so much higher than the lawn from which it sprouted?
Had an animal poohed there and helped it grow?
How long was it going to survive, sticking out above all the other grass in that wind?
If I watched long enough would I see it fall over?

45 years later I’m distracted now, as my eyes stray once again to another window, where I catch a glimpse of a big brown rabbit hopping through the hillocks in the distance. 

They say it’s going to be 29ยบ today.
It’s 1pm. I’ll walk later.
Time for a siesta.

Fill up the water glass first though.  
Oh bugger! The tap is dry!

No water.  

Drink. Shower. Loo.
Must go out and buy water.

Back to reality.

©Charlie Adley

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