Portrait of a Lady

‘Lissan’ refers to a patchwork of fields at the foot of a mountain, a huddle of barns containing tractor parts and turf, meandering farmsteads several generations old, three pubs, a never-dwindling population of sheep and cows, a handful of donkeys and roaming hens, that someone at one time decided satisfied the requirements to be given a proper name and painted on a signpost on the way to that looming mountain. For one week only, I’m the lady of it. I’m proud as punch. Just thought I’d let you know.

I've always wanted to be a lady

When two ladies meet; Me in The Mid

The Mid is how we affectionately abbreviate the name of our local town’s paper. There it is on every kitchen table within the mountain’s watch. On the passenger seat after the school run; under the arm of the cheese factory worker on his cigarette break; peeking from a carrier bag containing a wheaten farl, packet of fish fingers, tin of baked beans picked up on the way home from mass; on the counter of the post office while a senior counts out change for a book of stamps. I grew up with it. The Mid was a big deal in our small place.

And there I am in The Mid.

This week, lady of all she surveys

This week, lady of all she surveys

Coincidentally, the experience has also been quite a family affair. Just a few pages over is a photo of my aunt and uncle on their wedding day, fifty short years ago, as they left our local chapel. What a jaunty wedding dress my aunt, every inch the lady, chose. Cut off at the knee, perfect for hightailing it halfway up the mountain to set up home with Eugene, adding another few barns along with their small white walled house to our collection of fields. All the family attended a big party to celebrate their auspicious anniversary and I heard about it over the phone. This makes me feel part of the celebration. We shared the same newsprint. Squashed together within this week’s pages, a temporary substitute for a hug.

Aunt Annie and Uncle Eugene

Aunt Annie and Uncle Eugene

Of course, slow as the pace of life may be, underneath the sleepy watch of the mountain, life does mosey on. Whoops, I’ve turned into John Boy Walton. What I mean is, the people of Lissan have things to do, people to see. In a few days, the pages of The Mid will have been thumbed though, news committed to memory, become fodder for gossip between weekly games of whist.

Then me, Aunt Annie and Uncle Eugene will be lining hen houses for the bantams to shit upon our smiling faces.

IMG_4196And this other quite remarkable local lady might have replaced us in next week’s news.

My first novel is now available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.

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