Skip navigation.



  • Radio radio

    I used to drop off articles for The Irish Times in the days before email (or rather, before they were accepting submissions via email), when they needed a floppy and a printout of the piece. The Features floor was as dull as every other office I’d ever been in, but I found it amazing that while most people’s work makes hardly a mark on the outside world, there were newspapers being loaded onto trucks downstairs.

    Out in RTE, there was a similar mismatch between the setting for the work, and the reach it has.

  • A tourist in your own town

    Dublin looks fantastic from the balcony of a room in the Fitzwilliam Hotel.

    The in-laws-to-be have arrived, and they must think that the whole city is full of sunshine, trendy restaurants and beautiful greenery. Much like the Queen of England thinks the whole world smells of fresh paint.

    Almost ten years to the day since I moved to this most frustrating of cities, I’ve got the chance to see it through some new eyes.

  • Unwelcome souvenir

    ‘What a nice life that nice Michael Palin must have. Him and that Bill Bryson. Trotting off to places and then writing about them (’cept for his big new cosmic history book). Must be nice to be a travel writer.’

    As a more junior member of this profession (the first book’s out in February) I’ve just had an experience that show it’s not all royalty cheques and free travel.

    I’m just back from the doctor, where I had to show my tattered nether regions to a cute young female GP.

    Seems I brought something back from Louisiana in addition to the photographs and memories. A fungal infection from long days in sweaty lycra in the sultry South. It only manifested itself a couple of weeks after I got back from New Orleans, but apparently that’s normal, said the doctor. (Why couldn’t it have been a kindly old man rather than a trendy girl with a tattoo?)

    The inflammation along my inner thighs should clear up quickly enough with the prescribed cream, but next time I’m going journeying in an air conditioned car.

  • The elope conversation

    Last night the SO and I had the ‘Why didn’t we just elope?’ conversation.

    Buendia and I are back from exotic climes to the joys of wedding preparations. All the married people told us, but we didn’t listen: ‘I don’t know why we didn’t just elope. Have done with it. All the chasing around, the arrangements, you forget what’s it’s all about.’

    It’s not that our wedding is huge, or particularly lavish. It’s just that the number of invididual chores required to ensure its smooth running is beginning to grate on us, especially as we’ve just arrived back in Dublin ourselves and have more than enough things to be doing without chasing after recalcitrant invitees.

    A little over a week to the wedding (when guests are starting to arrive in the country already), we’re still getting guests giving us predictions on their attendance: ‘Well, I’m 90% sure I’ll be able to make it.’ OK, I’ll just save you 90% of a seat at the dinner, then.

  • Across the desert

    Santa Fe to Los Angeles is a long way - 13 hours’ driving, maybe 900 miles or so. And so empty, when your tank is still half full you start worrying if you’ve got enough petrol to get you to the next gas station.

    At the halfway point, Flagstaff, Arizona, is a little oasis of high country civility in a ridiculous amount of nothingness. A college town with a good walkable downtown, its pine trees and coolness make it the acceptable face of Arizona.

    We stayed in a motel run by a stern-faced Russian just off Route 66, and were running parallel to the old mother road most of the way.