I have rediscovered an effective way to avoid serious writing is to go on holiday; and to take that holiday in Ireland is to make it particularly difficult. It was rained, there was mist but enough bright sunlight for the green hills and drama of the coast to insist on personal attendance. I paddled in the Atlantic. I cycled a few kilometres along quiet roads looking onto the bay in Galway from which Columbus set sail. I scrabbled over the klasts of limestone which characterise County Clare. I visited ruins: church, bothy and castle. In the evenings I ate wonderful sea food and drank whiskey (Green Spot or Redbreast); I let my husband have all the Guinness. And in Ireland I was so busy being immersed in stories; from yesterday, from the last century and from the boggy experiences of the bronze age, I don’t have much time to spare for my own.
I thought I would have time on this holiday to use the absence from the duties of home to reflect, refine and write up rough rhymes and lines. I did not.