And a trip across Ireland means a front row seat to the physical manifestation of whatever gods there are. It means the greenest grass and crumbling walls and springtime lambs that are old enough to explore the paddock but too young to realise they’ll never get any further. It means travelling through towns with more pubs than people, towns like Ballindooley and Corrandulla, and it means stopping in Galway. It means strolling the Salt Hill Prom in search of a Galway Girl and finding nothing but Americans.
Her name could’ve been Eimear or Sinead or Siobhan. It could’ve been Aoife or Niamh or Cliodhna or Maeve. It could’ve been Bronagh or Caomihe and I prayed that it wouldn’t be Meabhdhgh and it wasn’t.
She had already booked a ticket to Australia when they broke up. They met in Wales and they dated for a while and then he moved to Australia. She was going to see him and live with him but then they broke up and she got gallstones. She said the gallstones weren’t related to the … Continue reading Gallstones are more painful than a broken heart or at least that’s what I’m told
We are marching into shops and asking about carbon pegs and bamboo cutlery and the difference between a Trangia and a Jetboil. We’re walking out with space blankets and flints, parachute chord and hunting knives, water filters and one She-wee each despite none of us being women. We are prepared for everything, even growing a vagina.
My friends and I are talking about Valentine’s Day. We’re arguing about cards and chocolate and capitalism and corporate greed. We’re asking if one rose is enough and if twelve is overkill and what the second-most romantic flower is. The answer is tulips, because there are two of them.
I’ve had them baked, boiled and lathered in butter, stuffed with sour cream and bacon and topped with melted cheddar cheese. There's been baby potatoes, potatoes roasted in duck fat and mashed with cream and deep-fried and dipped in tomato sauce. They’ve been mashed and mixed with spring onions, which isn’t called mash but champ, Champ. They're ruffled, they're hand-cut and they're flavoured with salt and vinegar and cheese and chives and what even is a prawn cocktail?
I continued on the coastal path, along which Russians, Brits and Australians sat on plastic chairs drinking morning beers, drinking the antithesis of my quest for purpose. A morning beer is the liquid defiance of purpose, a signalling to the world that for the drinker, purpose no longer exists. Neither does morning, for that matter. A morning beer may as well just be a beer for once a morning beer is drunk, time as we know it ceases to exist except, of course, for when it’s time for the next one.
The Orkney Tourist Board strongly advises not going to Orkney to see the Northern Lights. It admits that yes, you can see the Northern Lights in Orkney, but if you're visiting purely to see the lights then you'll most likely end up disappointed. So here I am, in Orkney, for no reason other than to see the Northern Lights and yes, I'm disappointed. Thanks to the unyielding presence of clouds, the closest thing I’ve seen to stars is the local cover band on New Years Eve who, credit where credit’s due, were phenomenal.
I take a sip and agree, more out of politeness than any personal experience in incest. Apparently it’s a saying in New Mexico. I give them the benefit of the doubt. We’re sitting in Espinal, a small Spanish town at the foothills of the Pyrenees. I never once imagined I’d spend any portion of my life arguing about incest with an elderly American couple, but here I am. Drew & Annie are adamant that ‘kissing your sister’ translates as a weak wine. I argue that if anything, breaking taboos and societal norms and choosing to kiss your sister is an inherently strong move. Frowned upon, but ballsy nonetheless.
My friend Ryan took acid once. That’s not to say he’d never taken acid previously. Nor was he my friend, actually. But if you knew Ryan well, which I didn’t, you’d be aware of his penchant for all things hallucinogenic. The kids call it tripping.