Losing My Library – Making a Life #FillingTheVoid – letters project

Here is a letter we received for our project at Armagh Robinson Library #FillingTheVoid

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Often, in history, women wrote anonymously because their voices were silenced. It’s possible, our writer is a woman.  Here’s what ‘she’ says,

LOSING MY LIBRARY – MAKING A LIFE

When the doors of our libraries open again, we want the first people who step into them to be the people we are protecting from harm, those we are keeping safe.

 

These are difficult times and they are temporary times. The libraries will open again and we will encourage the tactile relationship with the book to our young. We will encourage the familiarity and peace of the binding, cover, and content to our not so young. We have closed our libraries and left our books waiting for us, so that we might make those of us who are vulnerable to illness safer. At the same time we are reducing their community and social lives in the name of safety.

 

Picture the empty library wherever it is and walk its stacks, shelves or those metal contraptions aping shelves, in your mind. The book has survived war, fire and pestilence. It is a comfort and a repository of knowledge. It is a companionship and a portal of wonder. I grieved for a short time when I left my library, my feral cat (Rosie), and most of my possessions. This is what I have learnt: The vulnerable human being is more important than the encumbrance of possessions, even of books. We can rebuild and refurbish our personal libraries.

 

We have to leave our public libraries for the shortest time. They are houses for books, and our support of them should move toward encouraging more funding, they provide, shelter, community and knowledge. I chose not to dwell on what I have left because it does not one whit of good to the heart and soul. Keeping access to libraries is an act of healing for those who have lost. Letting go of possessions in an act of liberation is a story that might go into a book, or an email, or a conversation.

 

My library resides in the house that I left forever one May afternoon. It is, at this point, on shelves that go floor to ceiling in two huge alcoves in a huge room. Some of the books were crowded onto a desk with a red leather top, that has been repurposed for a woman whose frailty does not allow her to retain the information in the book or newspaper that she pretends to read. Forgiveness is difficult and it has to be practiced. I practice it toward her a lot. I can sometimes see her when I pass the house, she is in the top room and beneath her is a pathway of river pebbles. I used to listen to how people moved on the pebbles and try to discern the footwork, friend or foe? To the right in her line of vision is a tree that was planted by Louise Gavan-Duffy. My children used to tell me that they heard the echoes of kids running on the stone corridors of the house late at night. The house was used as a schoolhouse over its entire history, there will be echoes. There will be things tying a soul to the house, but they are not important things. The human inhabitants of the house are the important things here.

 

Harm and the protection of others from harms is a driving force that I wish for everyone. It is my greatest wish for people who are in situations that can and do threaten life. When you leave that place, you do not take your books, your bits of jewellery, the vast majority of your clothing, or the things that maybe you loved once. The bags have been packed for three months and you are awaiting an opportunity which is technically a moment in time. It has to be the right moment and it has to be well timed. My library resides there and the books that were lovingly collected, referenced and handled are still there. There have been letters about their custodianship, as if holding the threat of loss over a head would change a mind. Once a heart and a mind have made a difficult decision, there is no going back – the only relevant question is when?

 

This too, is a moment in time, when everyone has to do the very best they can to protect those who are vulnerable and in need of care – we must look at what has to be sacrificed and to do it willingly and without qualm. When the doors of our libraries open again, we want the first people who step into them to be the people we are protecting from harm, those we are keeping safe. They know the value of the book and they know why we are doing it. Call on them, leave some books or flowers for them, let them know that you are there for them too. Look on the streets and in the shops, they are always there early and they are often alone. They are endeavouring. If we can lessen the impact among ourselves and reduce closures times by observing the rules of social distancing,we are giving back.

 

My books reside under a custodian. I do not.

 

The books in this library will be found again and will again give comfort to their true custodians.

 

Anon

 

Join in – send a letter to a loved one. Keeping in touch with the people you care about most, is the number one priority. And, you can also send us letters. The blank page will always be listening, and at the letters archive of #FillingTheVoid at the Armagh Robinson Library, we will be glad to receive your letters too. Email: FillingTheVoidProject@gmail.com

This project is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, through National Lottery Funds

 

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Letters to The Healing Place of the Soul #FillingTheVoid – Write to Us

Public Art Participation Project – WRITE TO US NOW!

We live in extraordinary times.  We will gladly receive your (emailed) letters to FillingTheVoidProject@gmail.com. We will miss the immediacy of your handwriting and your envelopes, the physicality of the letter, but we will gain the immediacy of your lived experience of these times. We are extending and re-opening our project, but as an online experience, given the implications of Covid-19 – so email us instead.

Tell us what is happening day to day. How have things changed? What is different but good about the changes? What is it that is making you anxious? What and whom do you miss? To paraphrase the French avant grade artist Georges Perec, what is happening, when nothing is happening? 

The motto over the door of the historic Robinson Library in Armagh translates from the Greek, as The Healing Place of the Soul.  We are looking beyond these times. In March 2021, when we celebrate 250 years of the existence of the library, we will mark with a new site-specific dance theatre piece, AT THE MARGINS, based on the letters project and the participation of those who sent us their words. Join in – this is a place to tell us all of human experience in these challenging and unusual circumstances. Let the words talk, and let the words travel the distance, from you, to us.

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In our last iteration of this project, we had hundreds of beautiful, intimate and heartfelt letters in response to our call-out for #FillingTheVoid https://mariamcmanus.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/write-us-a-letter-filling-the-void/. Our writers wrote to the future and to the past, to people they love and about things that matter most. They made us laugh, they touched our hearts and they made us think. They also made us realise that through writing their letters, the opportunity to reflect, record the everyday, and connect with each other, is responding to a deeply held need to communicate.

The letters came from Australia, Spain, the UK and all over Ireland. During Georgian Festival we had many  visitors to the library on the day, and those that came also wrote letters – some were posted there and then, to friends and family from the beautiful Georgian letterbox on the street outside the Robinson Library, and others were left with us for the archive.

This is a time for reflection and a time when we need to connect. We are navigating  new uncertainties about the state of our world and where it is we find ourselves now, individually and with each other. 

This project is creating a contemporary epistolary archive written by citizens – especially the citizens of Armagh, but also from all over Northern Ireland, the border area, the island of Ireland, Britain, Europe and the whole world. Everything in a letter tells something –  the handwriting, post marks, the subject matter, the demographic and concerns of the writer: the letter is a  point in time pen-portrait.  We are also interested in receiving correspondence which for some reason has personal significance to the donor.

Letters are welcome from people of all ages and ethnicities, from anywhere in the world, on any topic they may wish to record. Then we will include it in our archive in the beautiful Armagh RobinsonLibrary for posterity and consider all letters received when were are devising our site specific dance theatre piece – AT THE MARGINS, in March 2021.   

  • If you wrote the letter you wanted to write, to whom would you write it?
  • What would you write about? A letter to your childhood home, the parent you’ve lost, your old lover, those pesky politicians, your heroine/ hero, the generations yet to come, the child in your arms, or in your womb, your idol, the lost, the prodigal, the fictional, the historical?
  • Who would be the object of your letter? We live in such uncertain and turbulent times. What do you have to say …what is the ‘thing’ you can write about in a letter, but just can’t say any other way?
  • Is yours letter to the masses, or to just one person?  To your older self? Your younger self? Your braver self – something for the record.

Letters from anyone, about anything are welcome. 

  Email us : FillingTheVoidProject@gmail.com

Maria McManus (Poet) is the author of Available Light (Arlen House, 2018), We are Bone (2013)The Cello Suites(2009) and Reading the Dog (2006) (Lagan Press). She has collaborated extensively with others producing performance pieces for choir (18, with composer Keith Acheson) dance (TURF and DUST with Eileen McClory) and multi-art form collaborations. She is Artistic Director and curator of Poetry Jukebox, an on-street audio installation of contemporary poetry.

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Correspondence… about ‘Correspondence’

In response to the photo-montage I posted about the Old Post Office in Clones, Catherine Love had some observations and interesting things to say. which set me thinking too, so I have decided to post the discourse as this blog. Feel free to join in!

Catherine wrote, ‘

You have also got me thinking about letters. What a revelation it is when we find an old letter, to ourselves or between the pages of a book belonging to ancestors? The presence of the human hand in the ink and the paper, the unique nature of the piece. Letters are revered in museums. We can say things in letters we are too shy to say face to face. After 25 years on a computer my once beautiful handwriting is shot, and people think I’m weird because I prefer email to phone or text, the quietness of it. But this does not have the tactile qualities of the letter, which is so much of its value. The letter is rarely seen.
Perhaps I should work on my handwriting.

Did you post about the experience of sending and receiving letters, and what was different about it..’

My response:

Yes Catherine – in a way, there are many things I am tuning to in the whole process, but I haven’t quite worked it all through yet.

I was resistant to using social media to promote the project, but after three or four months of getting little or no traction on it, I resorted to Facebook and then Twitter, before I was able to even identify people who might like to receive a letter. So there’s an irony: the digital ages undermines the letter…… but, for the project to work, I needed to go to social media to get some momentum on it.

What I notice is that when I sit to write a letter, I am mindful of the person who is to receive the letter – in that way, it is a sort of meditation or a way of being present with or to the other, even when I am not in their actual presence.

Another thing I am more aware of is the presence to what is going on with me – internally, and with an awareness to what is going on around me – so something happens which is also about tuning into the immediate environment and sense of ‘here and now’ of what is going on with me. I like this; it is a way of slowing down in the world – a world that I find fast and overwhelming. I have really valued this aspect as developing a sense of something I need for myself – to be that slow, intentional and ……well, gentle for a while. Isn’t the world too fast?

Handwriting is interesting. It is so personal and while there are clearly trends and characteristics which appear to be broadly related to geographical locations and the norms of how handwriting was taught, I also notice generational things – how my parents’ generation differs from my own and my children’s generation.

The process of writing by hand is also interesting – my hand will get ahead of my head……I can’t premeditate that and the writing that results is often different in its intensity and intimacy, and personal in a way that writing on the computer can’t be. Handwriting is an art form – personal and distinctive to each individual – it is personal and evolutionary: characteristics remain over time, but somethings change, because in general we write less than we used to, by hand.

Handwriting has a different impact on the hardwiring of the brain in childhood development – what does it mean then that children write less as we move into the digital age? What does it mean for the rest of us as we age, if we too write less by hand?

I wonder if handwriting will be the new hieroglyphics: do we struggle to read handwriting more now, because we see it so much less? Personally, I love to write with a fountain pen ( not a fancy one), but I love writing with a fountain pen. I like the sound and the feel of it.

I get complaints about my handwriting – many along the lines of, ‘ don’t get me wrong – it looks lovely……… but I just can’t read it.’

I recognise script at times. I got a card from my grandmother: she is 102 now, but the card was to me for my wedding last September – it is so beautiful to see her handwriting, and that while it is distinctly hers, it was so moving to see the impact of time and age on it, a vitality remains in spite of the evidence of tremor.

In recent writing workshops that I have facilitated, I concluded the workshops by getting my participants to write a letter to themselves, which I promised to post to them at some point in the future …….. they will have received their letters now and I wonder how that was as an experience for them.

At one point in this whole process I realised that I had no postal addresses for either of my daughters. I could text, phone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter’em……… but I couldn’t send them a card or a letter, or a gift in the post. I couldn’t send a taxi to get them!

They are both at university. I know where they live and I could go to their houses – I know where to find them……. but I had no addresses for either of them – so I put that right in the course of this project. In saying that, it was weird to realise that I didn’t have this information as a conscious thing, documented and share-able!

Postal services are suffering too. A letter to a friend in Ghana too more than three months to reach its destination. A letter to a friend in South Africa was handwritten, but photographed onto What’sApp and sent to her that way…… because there was a postal strike and her advice was that it might never get there otherwise….. so that one was a curious hybrid of handwriting and the immediacy of technology.

I am still exploring through the project and I have roughly 1/3 of the letters left to write. I am struggling to keep momentum on it at times……it takes time, focus and to be intentional and undistracted. Making time is tricky; it has to be deliberate. I have to choose to sit and write letter rather than do something else.

Letter-writing is about delayed gratification too. We have to give it time to be written and we have to give time for it to travel to the other person and we have to wait for a response…… and then some! I write to people but I have to forgo any expectation that I will get a response. Sometimes i get a text, or an email. Sometimes i get a letter. Sometimes I get a pattern of reciprocation for a while and then it tails off. Now I am actually beginning to wonder to what extent getting a personal letter might be experienced as an intrusion by the recipient – I simply don’t know, but that too has to be considered as a possibility…… do some people end up feeling badly because they don’t/ didn’t respond …….. that isn’t my intention, but it might happen just the same!

The project isn’t over yet, so it is too soon to know what it will mean in its entirety, but it has been and continues to be interesting…….. perhaps you and I should resort to ‘snail mail’ for a while!

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Correspondence – the art of writing letters

I am into the final week of the residency at the Old Post Office in Clones. Here is a video slideshow I made about the building.

I am keeping going with writing letters: it has been interesting. The process has supported me to be in contact with some people I wouldn’t otherwise be in contact with, I have written to my family and friends too. I have found some new people to collaborate with artistically and we are developing some new projects – it’s been a chance to reflect, to dream, to plan, to share and generate ideas. I have sent and received some love letters and am working to finish my target of 365 letters by 8th July 2015.

I am still open to including new people in the project – so if anyone wants to receive a letter or to write to me, send me a private message and I can get the address from you……. there is time yet!

Have a look at the slideshow (link below0 and share it if you like.

The Old Post Office – Clones

The latest instalment of my ‘Correspondence’ project. I’ve written 230 of those 365 letters I pledged to write on the project. Clones is proving to be a very rich experience.

I’ve been taking some images of the Old Post Office – which is now used by some artists as studio space.

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Telephone switchboard from the Creighton Hotel, Clones

Telephone switchboard from the Creighton Hotel, Clones

Offbeat Antibes #4 -It’s Illuminating

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Come over here now….I am told the core population of Antibes in the winter is around 5000 people. This swells to 100,000 during the summer.  I think I’d find that to be too many people for me, but it is wonderful here now, and though the current population is a fraction of that of summertime, it feels alive. You can tell this is a place catching its breath, focused on the local. Families go to the church, children play in the schoolyards; it is relaxed, routine, orderly. The light is beautiful.

The sun is coming up over the sea into a fairly clear sky. The weather was squally, wet and agitated yesterday, but is more settled now. It seems though, that there is never  a bad time to be out and about. In such weather, walking the old town, the streets are sheltered from the worst of the wind, making it possible to use and umbrella in response to the rain. There are still things to see and experience.

We get to speak with people and though my grasp of the French language is fairly limited, I love it that we can take time to speak, to make conversation and to engage in delightful, fragmented discussions that zip between languages, conscious that while the words are important, so much else is also carried with gesture, tone, looking, sensing, behaviour, intent. In last night’s company the nationalities were Irish, Swedish, Italian, Greek, Slovenian…… all conversing with the common language as French, however flawed – we talked politics, music, rescue dogs.

The low-hanging and wind-fallen fruits are oranges.

Offbeat Antibes #3 Cats, Champers, Cute Cars & the Haberdashery

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As gestures towards Christmas decorations go – who wouldn’t want cats walking on their hind legs and bringing a pudding? There is so much to see here in Antibes. I have been here consistently since the end of October and have still not developed the urge to go elsewhere – to really settle and take in the small details of this place is more than enough.

We went to Cannes once. It was enough. We spent about 2 hours. In Cannes I was amused that the posters of a lost cat was  a very posh cat with a lot of hair – a large white Persian type of cat, that looked like it was smelling something so awful it was on the brink of puking its smoked salmon dinner into a gold plated spittoon, but the butler was delayed and it was resisting spewing. It was no ordinary cat – it was a posh cat. Similarly, the police drove casually down a street and reminded a weary looking hippy type, that he needn’t think he could stay sitting there and needn’t think he was going to get a chance to hustle – he could move along. Smartish. Now. The discarded wine bottle, chucked at the bottom of a large potted tree in a pedestrian area, was an empty bottle of Champagne. It was not Buckfast.

In Cannes, they still have winos, and lost cats. They still have hustling hippies, like other cities in Europe – it is the same… but different. It is rarefied and tacky in a tinsel-town way.

Antibes on the other hand, is a wonderful mix of the ancient and the modern, the hip, the chic, the tasteful and the trashy. It  also is homely. Antiboise are proud to be from here, of here and take little time, to mention this. It is perhaps easier also to connect to the real local people at this time of the year, when there are fewer tourists and visitors.

Remarkably, there are some businesses here which have all but disappeared from towns and cities at home. Take for example haberdashery. It’s hard to find a haberdashery shop in many towns and cities….. but there are a number here.

Madame Marchitto a third generation haberdasher, was unwilling to be photographed, but was happy enough that I could take some photos and that I would write about her shop.  It is a pity as she was very photogenic…..Her shop is at #9 Rue Fourmilliére.

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It’s a wonderful shop – full of all manner of unexpected things. from ribbons to bias binding, motif badges, pom-poms, tassels, wool, fabric and such an abundance of buttons……. I was tempted to stand and ask a host of, ‘ Would you have a……….?’ questions. I expect that after a brief rummage. M. Marchitto might well produce it….. including rabbits and hats.

I intend to return to Rue Fourmelliére – it’s off the main drag to anywhere, but has a fantastic combination of businesses: hairdressers, barbers, restaurants, domestic houses…… a novelty shop about which, more another time….. and a (posh) burger bar called The Big Moustache.

Elsewhere in Antibes – these are for sale, and because Santa is watching, and just in case it’s possible, I want to let him know… I want one……………. please.

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As for the mystery missing Posh Pussy of Cannes……… I’d say it was the Butler wot did it, and I’d say he nicked the bottle of Champers and swigged it in the street, before chucking the bottle away and telling the cops it was the Hippy wot had it in for the kitty….. (still with me?)

More later, mes amis……….daughter the older  is about to arrive for Le Weekend……

PS. Letter  100 was posted today.

Offbeat Antibes….. #2 Correspondence

There are so many things I am appreciating about being here. It is an incredible gift to me.

I get out and walk everyday and just take time to notice the environment around me. Yesterday morning, when I was on the way to the station, I noticed an orange had fallen from a tree and was impaled on a fine wire of the very high fence around a beautiful but clearly private property. I took the orange as a wee gift to myself and enjoyed eating it when I was sitting at the station. The oranges are all coming into season – they grow on trees in some of the streets – but the picture below is from a market stall.

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The local architecture is fascinating – the doors, door furniture and shutters, are so different to those at home and it is the ‘up’ side of being here out of season, in that there are fewer tourists and therefore a much slower pace, less human clutter, less mental clutter – so I get to see more.

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Some letters are coming in bit by bit. It makes me realise how much I appreciate it when I  receive something back. It isn’t a requirement, nor a condition that people do write back, but it means so much to me when people do.  I am far from home, content to be far from home, but the letters are like an umbilical cord, a tangible connection to the people with whom I belong in some way.

The phone rarely rings, there is an occasional text, some Facebook messages and, rarely, a Skype call.  It is as I need it to be just now. I need the peace, and can’t bear noise to any great extent. I am out of circulation, not on tap, and need it to be like this. It feels like time to heal, for peace and to nest.

The letters I have written,are in a number of subcategories –

The Unsolicited – I write to some people, just because they are on my mind and I have things I want to write and say. This is a combination of old friends, and people I need to thank, and in one instance a friend gave me the heads up about someone – a prompt to write.

The Requested –  These are in the majority……I write to people because they have asked, in response to my offer to write to anyone who wants a letter….. that remains an open offer and a letter is unconditional….. there is no need to respond, but it is especially nice when it happens and I get a letter back.

The Reciprocal – people who also write, and not because they feel obliged, but just because they also like to…. so the chance to exchange and to explore a bit more, to experience writing as a ‘mode’ for a while..

Responses have come in a number of ways……. actual letters, some cards, some postcards, a number of Facebook acknowledgements and the odd What’s App message.

For me, the experience of writing the letters has been about the chance to bring someone to mind in a sustained way for the 20 minutes or so that it might take to sit and write something. In an odd way it is a meditation often about the person to whom I am writing, but also a way to be with present with them and share something of what is going on, even when I am not in their presence. ( Still with me? Somehow this feels to be incredibly important ……. exploring……) It is also a way to share something about the minutiae of daily life ….. I can handle minutiae…somehow it feels like that is where meaningful things are….. in the small, the ordinary, the quotidian.

So many things to write about……. like the void….. and boundaries & high-maintenence people…. and reflecting on life……….  knocking on doors within.

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Offbeat Antibes…. if quiet is how you like it…..

It’s pissing down outside. Last night’s light-show – a brilliant storm, has subsided and in its place the sky has all the appearance of a tired old used-to-be-white towel. Things could be worse. My total of letters written in just a month is nearing 100, which has been a huge boost to the project overall. While I have been writing letters – I have not felt able to write Christmas cards: funny that. I can’t see me putting that right anytime soon. I think I will just persist with letters and forgo Christmas cards.

Last night we sat in the dark to watch the lightning. We’d gone out earlier – to walk, to familiarise ourselves  more with the place, to hardwire a mental map of the streetscape into us, just by walking. The town is quiet out of season. There are not so many visitors and we have a sense that what we are seeing and experiencing, is an organic, stripped back version of Antibes.

Mid-week, the Provencal market continues, though with fewer stalls. It is easier to take in because it is less busy. It is still abundant, with fruit, vegetables, olives, lavender, meat, oils, cheese, flowers.   I like the pace  and the characteristics. of the streets…. oranges on the trees along the pavements, ‘on the run’ dogs, the beautiful  doors  and entrances – heavy wood, carvings, brass and iron findings of the doors – in the French style. Wrought ironwork on the windows, shutters, the proportions of doors and windows. The architecture, which is particularly beautiful above street level, but many places in the old town have businesses sit cheek by jowl with houses – commercial areas are also residential and domestic. The soundscape is not corrupted with amplified music. People sit around and talk, but it is not raucous.

Antibes has been slow to jump on the Christmas bandwagon. I appreciate that very much. The lights in town were switched on just before the weekend and that has been time enough. The shops are modest in their window displays and there is no soundtrack of Christmas music……… it actually feels good. We can slowly orientate ourselves and not feel bludgeoned by racket, frenzy, spectacle and hype.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I am going to do a Perec-style observation on Antibes on the ‘offbeat’- out of season, and give it some close attention. More later, people!

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The Art of Writing Letters – a new arrival

When I was packing my possessions for storage a few weeks ago, I came across a small collection of photographs and a letter. They were folded together in a clear plastic pouch and had been ‘archived’ between books on a shelf in my bedroom. The letter was from July 1992.

I was the author. It was just two small sheets of paper, written on double-sides. The envelope is still with it. The stamp is still on it.

The letter was one I had written to my father.  I had written to him, care of my grandmother’s house, to tell him I had just given birth to a new baby girl.

There were two photographs in it. One of the older girl, aged almost five, riding a small white pony. Pony-trekking was her treat for becoming a big sister.  The other photograph was of me, with my new daughter, fewer than four hours old- she is sleeping in my arms. I am sitting in a red chair in the hospital, surrounded by  the paraphenalia of a delivery room, but I am fully clothed and ready to go home. My hair is held back from my face by a hairband and I have a bandage on one hand where a drip had been inserted.

My handwriting is distinctly my handwriting. It has evolved a bit since then, but is essentially  the same. If anything, in that letter,  the writing is a bit more measured and even than usual – I wanted the words to be as clear as possible, and legible. I wanted the letter to be understood and well-received.

He and I were estranged at the time – but I still wanted him to know he had a  new grand-daughter, to know her name, to hear it from me directly – and to share the happiness I felt that she had arrived and arrived safely – that she looked just like her older sister had at that age….. though, I noted, she was more feisty!

Unexpectedly, I got a letter by return with a small amount of cash in it, with which to buy a gift for the baby. That letter may well be in one of two trunks which constitute the ‘family archives’ ( perhaps I will write more about those big boxes at some stage, but it’s for another day.) The big trunks have a random selection of memorabilia – drawings the children did, old school notebooks they used, a full set of newspapers from the day each of them was born – the cards people sent to welcome them to the world…… its a rag-bag of curious, sentimental things.

On the one hand, It is both a privileged but also an everyday thing to announce the birth of a new child into the world. However, there is layer upon layer of significance bound up in that small sheaf of pages – an implied and symbolic significance about why we matter to each other and how it is we share that.

So how come I have the letter I wrote to him?

When my father died some five years after I had written to him, it was among the small number of possessions he left behind. He had kept it and the photographs, in its envelope, all that time.

It’s more than twenty-two years since I wrote that letter to him. I am very glad I did it. It is something tangible, which passed from me to him and then, unexpectedly, it endured and came back to me.

I am embarrassed to say, that I communicate much more with my daughters by Skype, text and mobile phone, that I do by writing – I don’t even know their current postal addresses. The are both students. I could go to their houses, I could find them in the world and I could turn up on their doorsteps, because I know where they are……but I couldn’t write to them

I will have to put that right today.

PS………. I got a card and a post card from a friend today in the post – what a beautiful surprise.

Baby Orla