After walking up through the early morning village of Bilhères, where we were living for the week, the path levelled off and we passed by some lush pastures and entered the forest. An old forest, big trees, venerable; moss hanging low from branches in the shadow of mountains. Steep mountains, high, stooping down to the valley floor and the running steam that we could hear but not see, far below. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 4”
We were hungry and empty when we ate on the unlikely named Col Deus Coïgts at 1068m. We’d climbed up from the villages of Louvie-Juzon and Castet on the valley floor at 400m and it took us four hours to get there. The woods around us as we ate, with tall beech trees reaching up imperiously, were a thing of inordinate beauty. A tree creeper climbed up a bark twenty metres away, doing his methodological thing. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 3”
Never miss an opportunity to enter a boulanger’s shop in the morning. I recommend it. The smell of the fresh bread and pastries, the look of their stacked fine golden familiar shapes. The appetite for a holiday breakfast and the anticipation of that first bite of crunchy crust. The taste of the soft white bread, with butter and tea. It’s all right there in the ringing of the bell when you open the door and step inside to the cheerful ‘bonjour’ that awaits you. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 2”
When I awoke I heard bells. No, a bell. Must be the church in the village, I thought and it must be later than I’d expected. I checked my phone: 5.29. Hardly the church – it was the bell on the animal in the field we’d heard the evening before, when we stood out on the balcony and gazed out into the valley, soaking it in. Continue reading “Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 1”
Inner Writer’s Voice (IWV): this isn’t going to be some kind of a whinge, is it?
Me: well, it is, sort of, but let me do it first before you have a go, right?
IWV (sighs, leans back, hand on big red knob (haha) like Graham Norton when someone’s in the big red chair): alright, begin.
There’s me, right? On Monday? I submits the manuscript to the editor, like, and it’s happy days–– Continue reading “The Sad Lot of The Writer”
The question was ironic. The questioner was commenting on the subject matter of the three readings at the Cork International Short Story Festival at Cork City Library, one of which was by me. The event was showcasing the Smoke in The Rain Anthology, the 2017 From the Well Short Story Competition, organised by Cork County Libraries and Arts Service and it was very kind of The Munster Literature Centre to do so.
In fairness my story was probably the darkest, but Mary Rose’s wasn’t all sugar and spice either. Anne’s was a bit more uplifting, about a boy coming to terms with his grief after his father’s death – yeah, I know, says a lot about the others doesn’t it? Continue reading “Why are Writers So Happy?”
I cycled over the road to Coomenole. It isn’t a long cycle from Baile an Chalaidh, but there are a few climbs and my legs aren’t what they used to be, so I took my time. Thanks be to God for the granny cog on the old Bentini. I got there in about 45 minutes, with a couple of scenery breaks on the hills (ahem). Continue reading “Cycling to Coomenole”