Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Celtic Advent (started two weekends ago!)

I travelled to Glasgow on the first night
Of Celtic Advent:
Forty days and forty nights like Lent.
A Lenten fast in winter.

I journeyed beside three sad men.
A nephew had died, and they were pilgrims
To pay tribute,
Laden with grief, bearing friendship.

I too journeyed with gifts,
But of wine, chocolate and curtains to be made.

There was indeed a star,
Shining warmly,
Over the table of hospitality
Where my journey ended.
And lo! Glad tidings
Of many things were shared.

And as the three sad men
Travelled home unseen next day,
I was pondering all these things
In my heart.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Not the darkest day

Last week many of my friends, Prince Charming, included, changed their facebook profile picture to black #darkest day. I didn't. Not because I disagreed with them: just the night before the boys and I had discussed the imminent new marriage and abortion Northern Ireland legislation and the impact it would have on our little society. Or perhaps on Christians in our little society. My perspective was that not often are you aware that the fabric of society is changing, but last Tuesday was a milestone.

The reason I didn't change my picture, and I did think about it, was because my reading the night before had been from Psalm 118:24, "This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it". I'm working through Warren Wiersbe's Prayer, Praise and Promises book, and this is what he writes, "The psalmist was going through battles and difficulties, yet he was able to say, 'If God put this day together, I'm going to rejoice...'" And so I felt that, like Corrie Ten Boom in her lice-infested bed, I should give thanks and strive after faith. I told the boys that in this new chapter my plan was to live a life of hospitality and sacrifice. I wasn't entirely sure what I meant myself! I wondered if the sacrifice would be putting aside what others thought of me in this brave new world.

It's finally half-term, and today I am slightly hysterical with joy! I have bronze toes and a new sofa in the sunny spot and plans plans plans to embrace all things orange and to breathe deep deep deep of this gorgeous season. The year is slowing down, and in the cosy darkening we can burrow slow down into what sustains us. Now and through the wintry times.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Hunkering down

 When the strawberries were littler, there were many movies we watched over and over again. They loved, much to my amazement and delight, the Kiera Knightly 'Pride and Prejudice'. They called it 'The Man and the Lady'. Baby Mattman lived for the scene in 'Prisoner of Azkaban' where Harry Potter flies off on the hippogriff. "Buckbeak", Mattman would demand quite quite clearly before he could say much else. Later on, we all became a bit obsessed with the terrifyingly exciting 'The Day After Tomorrow', and that's exactly what I said out loud when I read this article on-line just now! I know that we're all divided by the contentious subject of snow, but just look for little Ireland in the picture above.... She is completely covered with it!

I read Greta Thornberg's little book of speeches last week - 'No one is too small to make a difference'. This week I'm reading William Morris' 'Notes from Nowhere'. I think Greta would approve of Morris' Utopia, where people live and work and have their being productively, but in tune with Nature and each other.  I hope Morris would approve of our slowly returning respect for the way things were done not long before our age of plastic and consumption. Reading 'Notes from Nowhere' is uncanny actually given the environmental concerns of today.
 I was blaming MK wrongly this week for sending us Storm Lorenzo! She was obviously wholly innocent of all charges. We've been lashed by wind and rain, with no choice but to light the fire and crochet pumpkins. If a very cold winter is indeed about to roar up to the doorstep, I'll hope that we'll stay snug, rest up, and be very grateful for the blessings of a home and a hearth. Hunkering down and able to do so. Lots of tea, lots of books, lots of projects!

The importance of thanks-giving has been much in my heart over the last two months, having been in and out of hospital very briefly, grateful for results so clear that everyone was delighted, and having loved time at home as my body knit itself back together. So I'm very gradually putting out my pumpkins like Ebenezers: 1 Samuel 7, "Then Samuel took a stone... and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us."

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Enormous Turnip (Pumpkin)

 Everything seems to come down to fairy tales at the minute here! This week I've been remembering one of my very favourite stories from when the strawberries were really very small indeed. We loved the repetition of the list and the final triumph and joy. Why I remembered this one this week was this:
I had promised myself that I would buy the very first pumpkin that I saw this year, not really expecting to find it on the 27th September! Usually they only appear in supermarkets here for Hallowe'en and you need to buy one before they all sell out. But they are never quite as beautiful, or as huge, as this sublime specimen! This is the most wonderful pumpkin I have ever had. It is hugely enormous, and just as perfect. It makes me ridiculously happy. And it was the smallest of the three sitting proudly outside the grocer's shop last Friday!

It has given us lots of pumpkin curry, lots of pumpkin soup and a tray of pumpkin seeds, which I burned. Oops. And you can see from the carving that in fact it could have yielded still more, had I not been worn out from scooping and watching the clock for last night's boy activity taxi run.

Raggedy Elf #2 was fifteen today. When I first started blogging he was pre-school and waddling out the front door of Strawberry Land in his father's too big shoes. I seem to have said, back then in 2009, that I caught a glimpse of what he would be. I think I'm still only cathing glimpses...
Happy Birthday, young man of mine. And happy October to us all. Autumn must surely be the season for which blogging was invented. And in the northern hemisphere, it's here!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Edinburgh, and thanks for Pam, Sandra and Catherine

For some frustrating and completely baffling reason, I can no longer leave comments on some blogs. So, Pam and Kezzie, apologies that I never seem to visit. In fact, I do, but I leave no trace. Which my father would deem most uncharacteristic, having spent all of his parenthood wondering why one so small could make so much noise going up and down the stairs. Fifty-one years later and I do still make lots of noise going up and down the stairs.

Anyway, if I had been able to comment on Pam's blog I would have waxed lyrical about her hospitality; and about Holyrood Palace; and about the time we four strawberries went to Edinburgh and drove to South Queensferry looking for somewhere to eat and got lost and ended up passing that huge shopping centre that hides the Royal Yacht Britannia and then gave up and ate lasagne back at the hotel, which was situated at the height of irony and right next to the Forth River Bridge...
I would also have said that next summer I'm hoping to get to the Edinburgh Book Festival, since this summer I managed to do a bucket list thing and spent a wonderful day at the Edinburgh Fringe. I had gone to Glasgow to spend the weekend with Catherine, ostensibly to climb Goat Fell. At another height of irony I'd sent half an hour driving right past it on the coach from Cairnryan, but when I arrived and C suggested that the Edinburgh Festival was on, there was no choice really. I was beyond excited. This was the week before the Book Festival, Pam, or our paths may have crossed again!
It has been quite a gift to have been in Edinburgh three times in the last year. Catherine's living in Glasgow has allowed me two trips crossing the Scottish inland by train for the day, and Sandra's amazing tour of the Highlands gave me a whole weekend in the capital as she arrived to start her odyssey.
I still haven't ever been to the Botanics, Pam. That's on the bucket list now, with the Book Festival. I think that Catherine's experiences of the Yarn Festival may be as close as I vicariously get to that! But for anyone who didn't see the hilarious Foil, Arms and Hog at the Fringe, or who has not yet discovered them on farcebook, here, at yet another height of irony, is the genius Irish trio I got to see in Scotland!

Friday, 6 September 2019

What I think the Bible says about knitting (and the emotive subject of the womb)

I think that knitting is hard. I have to think very hard, and count very carefully and take lots of time. What does God think about knitting?  I've been looking it up this week. Knitting is mentioned twelve times in the New International Version of the Bible which is the translation I mostly read.

Nine of those references to knitting all come in the same chapter. It's chapter 13 of that weird and wonderful book of Leviticus. That catalogue of what to do in every circumstance of life when you're living as part of a nomadic, camping community of thousands of people in the desert a very long time ago.

This rule book for desert roaming has just dealt with the problem of containing leprosy and has now moved on to mildew. Knitted clothing is mentioned nine times, along with leather and woven materials. If the mildew is spreading the article is destroyed. If it washes out, great, wash it again; if cutting out the rotting piece stops the spread, great. The commentary I read on this passage talked about trying to protect the property of the community, but also about mitigating the cost to poorer members of the community. The needs of the people were considered.

But ultimately if this thing, made presumably mostly by women, is diseased, it should be destroyed in the interests of the greater good. So the conclusion I draw is that a knitted, inanimate object is disposable if it is going to rot anyway. That's all there is about literal knitting.

However, knitting is used as a metaphor for something else in three other places. Two of them are in the book that tells the story of a long-suffering, disease-ridden, family tragedy-afflicted man called Job. He's been arguing with God, and his friends, about the cruelties he faces without having done anything to merit them. At the end of the book God finally speaks back. It's worth the read. God describes a creature that apparently could be the hippo:
Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit... He ranks first among the works of God, yet his maker can approach him with his sword.  

This time we've got a living, grown creature instead of an inanimate object. The knitting metaphor reinforces the author's desire to communicate great pride in the deliberate, careful creation of a marvellous animal. The implication of the wider passage is that, even though God could destroy the beast if He wanted, Job could do nothing against the might of a hippo. In the same way he can certainly do nothing about the moral decisions that the God of the big picture takes. The knitting is God's craft, not poor Job's. The design and its carrying out, all God's.

Job has ironically acknowledged this himself much earlier in his narrative, when he begins to plead with God about his condition:
Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you moulded me like clay. Will you turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
We have a  person being created in this extract. It is a reference to the womb. The knitting is again a metaphor for careful, deliberate creation and my commentary talks about the lavishing of painstaking care as the unborn Job is poured out, curdled, but put together by God. There's life, and kindness, and watching over.

Finally, there's the same reference to what happens in the womb in Psalm 139:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
 There's the same wonder and the same implication that the unborn child is precious. Again in the wider context the question is what will God not do for the child he has put together with every intention of watching over.

Now I suppose this is where we divide. Because we know that life goes badly wrong. We know that God can be read as the cruel afflicter, like at the start (and indeed middle) of Job's story. We know too as feminists that a woman's body is precious and her own, and is not the political terrain of men. I'm going to state clearly my opinion that women must have recourse to legal abortion in certain carefully considered circumstances. I in no way advocate a return to back street abortions and the deaths they caused.

It's just that I believe too that, like knitting, babies are stitched together carefully by a God who also mourns this state of potential sickness in which we all live, who detests crimes committed against the women he carefully crafted, but who retains the right, as the God of the big picture, to be the one who gives life and takes it away.

Knitting is hard. My knitting is far from perfect. But I believe in knitting. Psalms again, "He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord."

My in fact very old commentary is Inter-Varsity Fellowship's New Bible Commentary. I was reading Leviticus 13:47-59, Job 40:15-19, Job 10:8-12, Psalm 139:13-14, and  Psalm 102:17-18. Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright c 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Fairy Shoes for Freya

Goodness, is it already September? I didn't ever tell you more about my weekend of Edinburgh blue skies that turned out to be a most blessed time with the outrageously generous Sandra of Thistle Cove Farm. Of course you will have read all the detail over at her place ages ago!

Well, from the blue skies of May to the purple shoes of September. A friend is celebrating the arrival of her first grandchild and, despite the fact that I studiously avoid making baby presents due mainly to my utter ineptitude, I thought I would flick through all my books and rifle through my basket to see if I could "cobble" something together. I found a pattern for booties in Marie-Noelle Bayard's Crochet!, and had just about enough yarn left over from the only other baby present I ever once upon a time made.

I have time for just such a whimsy as this as I am currently at home from work knitting myself together after a very little medical thingummy in August, which may also explain why I found myself back downstairs at 2am the other morning, wide awake and ready to "cobble" a tad. The little shoes, the midnight hour, the need to have not a wrong stitch, all reminded me of one of my favourite Ladybird books from my childhood.

So there I sat feeling somewhere between the cobbling elves and the wife from the storybook. It made me smile that the picture that stands out most in my mind forty years and more since I read and re-read this book is the one of the woman sitting making a little thing. Obviously I had aspirational hopes of crafting greatness even in the bleak days of Northern Ireland in the 70s!

It's all still ineptitude and aspirations of greatness, or at least of not very many wrong stitches, but here are two little fairy shoes for Freya! I know that her grandma, who has neither great big ears nor teeth, will like them! I'm putting a copy of this very edition, re-released by Ladybird in with the shoes. Grandma will like that too!

All of which really just makes me think of my high octane suns, the strawberries for whom I never made a single thing because I just wouldn't have had a notion sixteen years ago. Blogland has everyone looking so very marvellous, so very A*, all the time. My two boys are more raggedy elf than anything else, but they are becoming very wondrous young men, and here in the once upon a time of the Meadowplace it's all about them really, all the time.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

In "In This Life"

Pam, thank you thank you thank you! Thank you for letting a completely unknown person arrive late at your door one dark and rainy Friday night! Thank you for your tolerance of her inane excitement at being in your living room. Look, here I am in your living room! (There I go again...) It's just that I have read and loved your beautiful, poignant In This Life words for so long that I was really quite overcome at being in the same room as the train tracks and the dolls' house and the wonderfully intact glassware.

Thank you for tea and cake (and please forgive me for posting the picture of the kettle). Thank you for putting me on the right bus for the stage of my Edinburgh adventure. Thank you for your welcome and your hospitality and for your words. Thank you every post for your words, even the 'solipsistic' word. I've been looking at its definition for a full five minutes now...

Sorry that it has taken me a week and then some to thank you here! A wonderful weekend in Edinburgh is suddenly in the past. But the blessings it brought are still very much bright and lovely! Hopefully more on the rest of my weekend soon - with lots of thank yous to Sandra who may be landing back in the States anytime now.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019


Ages and ages ago we used to take small boys into Belfast every May Day weekend to watch the Festival of Fools. I'm sure I've blogged it before. Street performers doing hilariously and often terrifyingly insane things in every little square around the town. Then strawberries grew up, and expressed opinions. Years passed!

Last weekend, however, we deemed ourselves not quite too cool for a fool, and in we went again! Hoorah. There were fools; there was hilarity; there were tricks; there was food in very trendy watering holes.

Two of the acts we saw were in the square opposite St Anne's Cathedral, which had obviously allowed itself to be filled up with a bit of foolishness for the duration.(1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.)

Nonetheless I must confess that to see pictures of fools you'll need to insta Jojo, if that is indeed a thing. My camera phone died because I was taking so many photos of the ground in Writers' Square. It will come as no surprise whatsoever to you to learn that the ground in Writers' Square is covered, absolutely covered, in quotes from Northern Irish writers. Had I made this connection? Ever at all? Hey ho no nonny nonny.  Who wrote the poem in the first shot? Answers on a virtual postcard!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Thank you, bloggers of this beautiful bloggy world.

This is, I promise, the last shameless flaunt of our little book this week! (On the blog... One reserves the right to be shameless on farcebook.)

There are lots of things I love about blogging, and one of them is the universality of the thing. Knowing that all across this wide and wonderful world, physical and virtual, there are women who sound a bit like me, hugging their cups of tea and trying to be happy.

Another thing is the kindness of bloggers: the lovely comments, the thoughtful emails, even the visits when they so incredibly manage to happen. And so many times over the last ten years have there been letters and gifts and advice and such love.

So huge gratitude tonight to the five of you who read a crazy email about a year ago and signed up with such generosity of spirit to a project that wasn't even on your landmass!

Alison at View from the Teapot; Angela at Tracing Rainbows; M.K. at Through a Glass, Darkly; Pom Pom at Pom Pom's Ponderings; and Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm. From the States to France via England!

I have to warn you five that you may be about to hear from some of the supportive folk who have been buying the book. I'd be interested to hear if you do hear from anyone! We've decided to have a little competition to see who can get the most contributors' signatures by the end of this year. There will be a prize!

Back to normality next time, whatever normal is around here, although I must also say that, incredibly, I may be meeting two bloggers in person, in the real world, very soon. These are very exciting times just now in the Meadowplace!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Low Sunday and a book plug

On farcebook I've just seen an excerpt from "A Few Green Leaves" by Barbara Pym where it says that the Sunday after Easter is called Low Sunday. Is this indeed true? It must be because we're all going back to work and school tomorrow...

I've had a lovely week off. The strawberries have been revising hard, but we determined everyday to do something out and about. We cycled into town, had lunch on ancient Navan, and marvelled at Tim Peake's Soyuz. And of course Mattman turned sixteen. 16!

I read two great books. I would have read three if I could make any decent progress whatsoever with Michelle Obama's "Becoming". I can manage a chapter a night, sometimes. I'm really not a fan of autobiographies, except for Stephen Fry's "Moab is my Washpot". They must be appalling to write. How could you avoid dry lists, unless you're Stephen Fry?

Anne Enright's "The Green Road" is brilliant. Told from the perspectives of an awful Irish mother, her four children, and a mysterious other who appears intriguingly in the narration at certain baffling points, it impels you to find yourself in the dynamic. I fear the characteristics of the bi-polar mother. The offspring of this banshee most certainly do not arise and call her blessed. On the other hand...

#31blessed is a very recent, self-published little book of which you will only have heard if you're a farcebook friend. I am biased but I think that it is brilliant too. It's been produced as a fundraising project for a friend of ours who works with the Christian organisation UCCF. Sophie supports Christian students' groups in Liverpool and Chester, and encourages them in their outreach. But in and of itself the book is a collection of what 31 women think about the Proverbs 31 Woman.

My friend, Karen, and I are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed, not least the five of you who gave us beautiful reflections. I'm going to blog-thank you properly tomorrow! In the meantime, if you'd like to have a look, here is the link x

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Nice pictures

I did promise a nice picture next time, in apology for my political rant. These are lovely memories from July 2010 when the strawberries were small and blond, and I was neither middle-aged nor portly! We were on our way home from Brittany. This is what our minds' eyes see when we think of ND. Love to Paris x

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Things I think about the DUP

I'm not even going to Google pictures of these people. If you live outside the UK, don't at all bother to worry about this post. You have quite enough ridiculous politicians of your own. Every now and again I just fret slightly over a sense of shame when Northern Irish folk appear in national Parliament on national news, spouting their views and flaunting their Theresa May-given position on national issues. This is what I think*:

The Democratic Unionist Party holds a dubious claim to democratic mandate.
Here in Northern Ireland, lots of people do not vote, They claim, not without grounds, that there is no-one to vote for. When folk do vote they seem to vote according to what the candidates are not rather than what they are: loyalist voters will vote for loyalist candidates, regardless of how (in)effective they are and republican voters ditto. Thus the DUP and Sinn Fein become our main parties electorally. In June 2017, the DUP secured 36% of votes and Sinn Fein 29.4%. 65.6% of our eligible electorate turned out to vote. What is a third of two-thirds? Two-ninths?

Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
I'd like the rest of the UK to remember this when DUP MPs stand in the House of Commons, recorded by the BBC, and stand there in the way of all recent attempts to sort Brexit. I didn't vote for them. Most of us didn't vote for them. They are not voicing representative views.

DUP MLAs have not worked in more than two years.
We vote for three levels of government. We have local council elections coming up soon, and thankfully the local councillors are all working. Then, because of our devolved government aka Stormont, we vote for MLAs (Member of Local Assembly). They have not worked in more than two years. Apparently both sides (DUP and Sinn Fein) are ready to be back in the Assembly tomorrow, are ready to have talks, and are not the problem. Karen Bradley docked their pay slightly recently. Finally we vote for our Westminster MPs. They are in Westminster, blocking Brexit proposals.

It seems we don't care how corrupt they are.
We don't care abut the millions they made for themselves, from our taxes, on the loop-holes that they knew about in the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. We don't care that Ian Paisley Junior enjoyed a questionable relationship with the Sri Lankan government who funded his family holidays. We don't ask about the money given to Northern Ireland by Theresa May to form a coalition government which meant that they had to back her in Brexit proposals. We don't care about any of this because we know that we would vote them all straight back in, as we are about to do in local council elections; none of this matters as much as the important fact that they are not green. Indeed Ian Paisley Jnr was suspended from the House of Commons for his corruption but was ultimately backed by his local party.

Ironically, should a border poll come about, it will have been largely influenced by the position of this loyalist party.
If the DUP stands ideologically on its hard Irish border, flying its "Leave" flag for Britain, how would folk vote in a choice between non-EU Britain and EU Ireland? A population of less than two million people who voted predominantly "Remain". On holiday in the border county of Fermanagh two years ago I took a wrong turn out of a National Trust property and crossed the border four times in the twenty minutes it took me to drive the back road to the holiday house.

Sorry, Britain (and you, if you're still here- I promise there'll be a nice picture next time).

*Obviously this is all and entirely wholly my own personal opinion and this is the Internet and all of life is here. Including me.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Sunday Night Blues


Fraises update: Mattman is in full GCSE swing with his German oral tomorrow und mein Jojo ist in Rom. It's hole in the whole time again and the Irish exile candle is lit! So here are some Sunday night yellows to cheer us all up. Surely Easter will come soon...

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Answers on a (virtual) postcard, please!

We live quite close to a suburban university campus, and there is a lane that links the campus to the boys' school. This is most convenient as it allows school pick-ups to happen in the university car park rather than engendering traffic chaos on the dual carriageway that fronts the school. Sometimes one of my boys will come out at the usual time with the other not expected for another hour because of some after-school activity, mostly GCSE revision sessions for Sun 1 these days.

All this to explain why, now and again, I find myself in the campus café, slumped over an enormous cardboard cup of tea listening with attempted enthusiasm to endless tales of schoolboy misadventures. For an hour.

The café is suitably named Einstein and it has exactly this sticker on the wall facing the sofa where I found myself slumped last week. Jo and I looked for it when we got home. He did think it ironic that such a statement on creativity should be displayed in such an utterly empty picture. I was just pleased that he could use a word like ironic...
But the question is: was Einstein right? Far be it from me to consider questioning his scientific genius. No, no, no. I can't even use a word like quantum. I just thought about this quote all the way home, and it still wafts about in the often utterly empty space that is my head. Surely this quote stands on lots and lots of assumptions that we might not actually accept:

Do you have to be intelligent to be creative? And what is intelligence anyway? Can we not all have light-bulb moments, regardless of either our creativity or our intelligence? I think I wholly disagree with the greatest genius of the twentieth century. Hmm. Maybe I just need to drink more university tea!

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Happy Half-Term!

Well, it's the last few days of a whole week off school. If you've had such a  break I hope it was nice! There have been homeworks here, and there has been ironing, and still much running to and fro between parents and their somewhat changed circumstances. But there have also been warm temperatures and blue skies, and the first hot cross buns and snowdrops and daffodils and tulips, and lie-ins, and binge watching (highly inappropriate for Presbyterian teenagers) episodes of Cuckoo...

Spring is coming x

Monday, 11 February 2019

the important things

i used to be quite fascinated with e e cummings. what I should really do now is dive into the vast and deep waves of internet information and remind myself of even one of his poems. but this is the post-truth world so i'll plough on regardless.

i lay in bed last night wondering what it would be like to write a blog post without capital letters. I decided that the capital letter could probably fall out without too much confusion but that I really wouldn't want to do without punctuation. I came to the conclusion that a full stop really is necessary to show that you think that what you have just said makes sense. maybe that's why so many of our politicians don't seem to draw much breath. I listened to boris on the today programme this morning. goodness, i'll miss john humphries.

the apostrophe however or the comma. they do seem elusive to more than gcse english students. I have long thought that in a decade or so the apostrophe will be lost entirely to pedantry.

its probably good to reflect now and then on the important things as long as sanity isnt sacrificed. thats where we are here on the whole brexit thing. will we be british by the end of it or will our nearly arbitrary 1916 border become so soft that that is erased from the next chapter of this small island's turbulent history altogether?

question marks. do we need question marks. we probably need questions. answers would be nice too... (ellipsis. im keeping ellipsis.)

Happy St Patrick's Day!

  I hope you've had a lovely 17th March! The weather was glorious here today, and legend tells us that this must be because St Patrick h...