Sunday 28 August 2022

Time for drastic uncosted ideas to save lives this Winter.


Every night on both my nations’ news: the same bloody crises. In England it’s the cost of energy, rising inflation, the prospect of children going hungry and pensioners dying of hypothermia.

In Ireland it’s the homeless crisis, the housing crisis and the prospect of children starving on the streets and older people dying from hypothermia.

Every night I become more and more furious with our leaders’ unabashed greed and lack of imagination.

Enough already.

Screw Blue Sky Thinking and Thinking Outside The Box. 

Crush the bloody box, and paint the blue sky blood red.

The Housing and Heating crises that threaten the lives of the most vulnerable require Red Sky Thinking. 

We desperately need to recover our collective humanity.

DV presents two temporary drastic uncosted ill-considered ideas to save lives this Winter, and one quiet but vital request.

The Tories fight over how high to pitch the price cap on energy bills, and claim Windfall taxes on energy companies’ profits discourages investment. 

Labour promise they would freeze the price caps, and redistribute some windfall taxes to help the poorest.

DV says they're both completely missing the point.

British Gas made a profit of £1.3 billion between January & June.
BP announced profits of £6.95 billion between April and June.
Shell Oil reported profits doubling this year to a record $11.5bn - up from $9.1 billion in the first quarter of 2022.

Never mind capping the cost of energy.
We need to cap the profits energy companies make.

Shareholders can shut their cake-holes for a while, and revert to becoming the investors they used to be.

They can suffer the squeeze of smaller dividends, because if they don’t they’re complicit in the manslaughter of thousands of weaker poorer people.

Cap the profits not the prices.
Redistribute the excess profits and review after 5 years.

Meanwhile here Ireland we’ve totally lost the plot with housing.

It’s impossible to know the true total of homeless people here, because so many are unaccounted, but right now there are 10,049 people in emergency accommodation.

There are 160,000 vacant properties in Ireland, with over 48,000 vacant for six years.

In June 2022 there were a measly 657 properties available to rent in the entire Republic: a drop of 70%.

37 properties were available across the country last month at rents that came within Housing Assistance Payment limits.

There are currently 25,515 AirBnB listings in Ireland, 60 per cent of which are entire homes or apartments.

Of the 23,000 active AirBnB listings in Dublin in 2018, 5,358 were entire homes, while there were just 380 rental properties advertised on

Analysis of problems caused by AirBnB always focus on the major cities, but AirBnB creates massive housing problems everywhere.

I am only able to live here in Killala because a friend had a vacant outhouse. When I was looking for a place to rent here there were none.


Zero properties for rent, yet hundreds of AirBnB hosts hustling for my business.

We need to get a grip.

We need to temporarily ban all online platforms that offer short-term holiday rentals.

There’ll always be a need for guest houses and B&Bs, so let hosts and customers contact each other by talking on the telephone,

Radical, eh?

For five years you, me, Delilah from Texas and Mikey from Mullingar can live without AirBnB, while we make sure people have homes to live in.

Finally, in a different tone and context, I plead with campaigning politicians of all parties to stop going on about ‘Working Families’ as if they're the only people that matter.

And before I incur the wrath of Daily Mail types (and members of my family) who believe all Left-of-centre people to be ‘scum’; who are, as they read this, straining at the leash to point out that it’s working people who pay the taxes that create the welfare state, I suggest they stay lucky, healthy and able to earn a living.

God forbid they fall on hard times.

Those less able, differently abled, and those unable to find work have to feed their kids too. They have to find homes and then heat them.

Astonishingly, (because you wouldn’t think so, to listen to politicians) they also have the vote. So stop appealing only to ‘working families’, and appreciate that others less fortunate are equally important.


That’s the homeless housed, their homes heated and everyone respected.

Feel better now.

My name is Charlie Adley and I am NOT running for president. 


©Charlie Adley


Thursday 25 August 2022


There are three cracks running from top to bottom on the inside of my Chelsea mug. Against the white they look like long thick dark strands of hair.
The base still appears sound, but I’d look a right plonker if it fell apart and scorched me with boiling hot tea.
Binned. It’s a goner.
The mug that presently qualifies as my mug is emblazoned with photos of the 2010 Double Winning team. 

A gift from another True Blue, it reminds me of the day I turned 50, stomping exuberant and ebullient around a bar in Greece, swigging a bottle of Jameson from the neck, watching Chelsea win at Wembley.

In proper Chelsea tradition, this mug is also strangely defective. It seeps from the bottom.

Always has. Pick it up and there’s a little ring of dampness on the surface left behind. 

Votcha gonna do?

My this, my that: does it matter?

Mugs come and go, part of a lifetime conveyor belt of fading ephemera. Worn out, broken, lost or discarded, we no longer possess much of what we once felt we owned.

Unless there’s a personal significance to an object, I see no value in owning it.

Ironically, the things that matter most to me are not mine at all. In the eyes of the law (and family members!) everything I have is rightfully mine. Yet I’m only their caretaker. They’ll survive beyond me, in the family.

There are a few possessions I care about that aren’t heirlooms. I love the tiny sea stack I was given by a dear friend, who found it while we were together on Omey Island, soon after my return from America. 

Then there's the two neolithic stones I found decades ago, in a flower bed in my Salthill back garden. One is a cutting tool, worked well to a sharp three inch blade; the other a simple hand axe.

These are not mine either. I have them, but they belong to the soil, and will doubtless be returned there at some stage. 

It’s okay for me to feel I own them for a while. Their original owners no longer miss them.

There is Blue Bag, my 38 year-old travelling companion, and even higher in the longevity league, my gold Parker pen, which I was given as a bar mitzvah present.

This pleases me, as those gifts given to the boy becoming a man are supposed to last a lifetime.

There’s a sentimental corner of me that loves the memory of using that pen to start writing my daily diary at the age of 15, while here it is, 47 years later, sitting beside me, and here I am, still scribbling.


Is it that kind of continuity we seek, when we try to own things?

Does the idea of owning something delude us into believing we have cheated death for a weak beguiling minute.

Maybe, but there’s more to it than that. 

I have objects around me in this house that long ago travelled from London and Brighton to the west of Ireland, to California, and then back to the West of Ireland.

Far from my family in the UK, I take great comfort in seeing Gran’s tiny chest of drawers in its rightful spot, beside my desk, wherever I work.

Dark oak, with carved acorn drawer handles and perfect dovetail joints, it was handmade by a craftsman, where today some glue or a weak nail would do.

Much more than that - it’s Gran’s. My mother’s mother was a wonderful woman: eccentric, kind and always interested. Along with her magnifying glass, which sits atop my fireplace, her presence is here with me.

My Dad’s parents are here too. I found them both difficult people, yet truly appreciate the two paintings I have from their Hove flat. They bring me much pleasure.

Do I own them?

Once again ownership feels contentious. Both artists have respected reputations, but what fascinates me is not what they might be worth, (although naturally I’m curious to know) but more whether those who  curate these artists’ collections know these paintings even exist.

I suspect my father's father bought both paintings soon after they were completed, and ever since they have been in our family. 

Do I have some kind of moral obligation to let their estates know about these works, hung in private homes since who knows when?

Do they, in some way, belong to those others as well as me?

What’s he bloomin’ on about?” I hear you cry. “Get the paintings valued, pronto Tonto! Then we’ll see how much he still wants to own his precious paintings!

I’ve no children, so one day they will pass to my nieces and their children, and so it goes. 

Also treasured are my father’s father’s long lens field glasses. They sit by my door in their sturdy old leather case, strung all over with romantic little silver, blue and scarlet tags, telling stories of decades ago, when Pops had access to the Members Enclosures and Private Clubs of the racecourses at Newbury, York, Sandown Park and Ascot. 

During the coming Winter I will sit in my armchair, draping my old family picnic blanket over my legs.

Sitting by the fire.
Fed and housed.

I don’t own any of that, yet it’s all I need.

©Charlie Adley


Monday 1 August 2022

Happy 30th To Me!

Fresh off the boat, outside my first Salthill home in Flea Lane, August 1992


It’s Saturday August 1st, 1992. I step off the ferry from Roscoff, onto Irish soil for the first time, and begin the greatest love affair of my life.

For 20 years I’ve travelled, trying to find where I belong, but never visited the country next door. After a couple of laps of the planet I’ve now run out of countries, so this place is going to be my home.

When I started hitching around Europe as a teenager in the 1970s, addresses and contacts were like gold dust. Now as a 32 year-old, I have neither friends nor family here.

I don’t know a soul.
Ireland is a clean sheet.

Yet to encounter the word ‘soft’ is this context (and the forty other words the Irish have for rain) the air is drizzly damp, so I go into a big shop called Dunnes in Cork city centre, buy some waterproof clothing, and head into a pub.

On the barstool next to me a guy called Con offers me a hand the size of my head. Having never heard of the name, I wonder if he’s making some kind of post-modern joke, and aiming to rip me off.

No: I’m a paranoid fool and he’s a lovely man, intent only on getting me ver’ ver’ drunk. When he feels satisfied that he’s succeeded, he tells Mary the barmaid to book me a room in a B&B.

Later, in my bedroom, I reach for a giant ashtray on a high shelf. Lowering it reveals the sign behind it. White letters on red card declare:  


No Smoking in capitals.

I decide I’m going to love this country. It’s the first of many a million Irish paradoxes, which will, in a mere two months, give birth to a colyoom called Double Vision.

Lying on the bed in a Guinness-induced reverie, I light up a Marlboro, flip on the TV and watch the Galway Races.

30 years ago today.

I win a competition and have my one woman show Aileen Stays In staged in Galway City. I’m published in the Irish Times on several occasions, and the Irish Examiner give me a column. The Irish Post in England takes a fancy to my blather.

Thanks Ireland, for allowing me to pay my rent for 27 years through my scribbling. I’ve had the honour and enjoyed the pleasure of open briefs (that is: always writing exactly what I choose) and thanks to the Irish here, in the UK and USA, who seem to find my opinions and observations engaging, enraging, irritating and amusing.

Thanks also to all the students who attended and contributed towards my Craft of Writing Course. 

It has been a privilege to encourage, inform and assist hundreds of aspiring Irish writers over the last 15 years. I’ve loved every minute of teaching, and discovered that as a teacher, I continue to learn as a writer.

Over three decades I live in four homes in Salthill, one in Claddagh, one in Connemara, one in Ballyhaunis, three in California, and two in Killala, the north Mayo village that steals my heart in 2001, where I live now and will remain, forever; amen.

I have the privilege of loving several wonderful and remarkable women, marrying and divorcing two of them, while knowing to this day that one was and always will represent the closest bond I’ll ever enjoy with a member of the opposite sex.

I’m sure you’ll forgive that turn of phrase. Y’see, I come from a time when there was an opposite sex.


I also fall profoundly in love with Connemara; with the gobsmackingly beautiful Mayo wilderness between Ballycastle and Belmullet; with the entirety of what was once the West Coast of Ireland, until a marketing genius rebranded it The Wild Atlantic Way.

Some countries are divided North/South. Ireland is split East/West by the moity Shannon, and here on the Atlantic seaboard I find in 1992 a culture that embodies all that is good and bad in being old-fashioned.

Compassion thrives as life’s blood; nobody thinks less of you for being poor; time is the most precious commodity, a jewel prized way beyond the acquisition of stuff.

All of that fits me and my soul as if made to measure, but I hate the lack of ethnic diversity; the racism and homophobia; the absence of contraception, divorce and abortion; the denial of a woman’s right to choose.

30 years bring a social, secular and sexual revolution that rectifies all of the above, unfortunately taking things just a tiny bit too far, so that now the sensitivities of molecularly minuscule minorities dictate the freedom of scribblers like me to write what I want.

Ireland has changed so much for the better since I arrived (it’s all about me, of course) that it now fits like a jigsaw piece into my societal aspirations.

Whatever that means. Jeeze, I certainly overdo the waxing bleedin’ lyrical sometimes.

That’s another thing. The amount of swearing, cursing, effing and bloody blinding that erupts from my gob has grown tenfold since arriving here.

When I sit in the genteel suburban hush of my mother’s living room in London, I realise how often I now use the F word, and wish my linguistic skills were less blunted by my adopted vernacular.

Having said that, I’ve also gained vocabulary. I’m now able to differentiate the ‘feck’ from the ‘fuck’, and find myself involuntarily and noisily performing the West of Ireland Sharp Intake of Breath, when agreeing with someone.

To this Blow-In, friends are as vital as family, and here in the Wesht I’ve been incredibly fortunate to form a plethora of solid, wondrous, meaningful and hilarious friendships.

For this I am eternally grateful. If my family are my life’s foundation, then these magnificent friends are my walls and roof.


Deep and meaningful friendships ... the stuff of life!


Tragically, the last four years have involved a catastrophic amount of loss. Alongside my marriage, my dog, two homes, half a lung and all my savings, I’ve lost many friendships that I previously considered unbreakable.
This has shattered my heart in more ways than I can describe. One simply turned his back on me. Another decided to become angry with me during a period in which the slightest emotional demand caused me to cough up blood, so I was unable - and unwilling - to find out why he was upset.

Another found my apology insufficient. I fully accept that I’m a difficult and demanding man, but when I apologise I mean it. There is nothing more I can do beyond that.

However, as my most excellent friend Dalooney eloquently observed:

“Jeeze Chazzer. I’ve never seen anybody lose so many lifetime friends and have so many left.”

Truly I am blessed.


 Moody in the Aughrus peninsular, 1993 ... one for the dust cover!

Tonight there was meant to be a celebration in the pub. I was planning on putting a message on my local posse WhatsApp group, asking for some lucky winner to transport me to the pub, and later drive me home twisted, locked, bladdered, trousered: all of the above.

However, the health challenges keep on coming. Ever since December 2019 I have been seriously unwell with serial illnesses, and on occasion I struggle to keep my pecker up.

Today I’m on powerful painkillers, while tomorrow I must spend yet another long day at the hospital, having scans and tests and gordknowswot.

Even though your motives are the finest, I beg you please please please do not leave online comments encouraging me to be positive, go onwards and upwards, eat slug nipple fritters or dance at midnight in front of the moon whilst humming the Marseillaise.

Often the greatest act of kindness is simply to be there for someone, silent and strong.


Pull that belly in, boy! On the cliffs at my favourite beach, Kilcummin Back Strand.


The celebration can wait. The pub will still be there, as will this wandering Jew’s joy at having found a home.

Today, inside my head, heart and soul, I’m giving thanks.

I'm so grateful to live in this gentle beautiful soggy corner of the universe, where I belong; to have the love of countless others; to indulge my conceited belief that in return for Irish citizenship, I have offered this country an extravagant amount of opinion, a luxury of criticism and a gargantuan outpouring of love.

Happy 30th To Me! I'm home, and I’m staying ’til the end.


 ©Charlie Adley