The Motherland

Hello.  I’ve returned from the Motherland.  How I wish it were the Fatherland.

Belfast was great.  It was lovely to have us (my siblings, anyway) all together for Orlaigh’s sixteenth, which I still refuse to believe has come to pass.  I spent not as much time as I would have liked to with my siblings since I also wanted to briefly catch up with my three remaining friends there.  On Friday, I nabbed free food at Paula’s work and spent the rest of the day watching rubbish TV with her (which always makes me happy) and playing with her black Tonkinese cat, imaginatively called “Cat”.  Given that my cats are called “Boy Cat” and “Girl Cat” (and Hobbes, who lives with Rob), you can see the poverty of original thought that exists in my family.

My little brother, Liam, was there before donning his rags (not so much “glad”, he’s a crusty punk with a pungent yet not unsettling aroma) and heading out.  I have never met someone who is so confident in his appearance as my little brother is.  He is, naturally, gorgeous, as are all my siblings.  He knows it, though, but it’s disarmingly charming rather than irritating.  He kept me up until five in the morning to show me photos of himself.  An actual quote from him was, “Stay out of that mirror, that mirror is all ME!” It was tongue in cheek, but only just. If I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder, my brother has some sort of inverse.

On Saturday I extracted myself from sleepiness in order to be a tourist in a warzone. I took my camera and my friend Stephen onto the Falls Road, my stomping ground when I was growing up, as I went to school there. The Falls Road is a working class, ostensibly left-wing Republican area, full of interesting political murals and daubings. My own politics- unsurprisingly, lie upon the far left, and I do correct those who refer to me as British, as I’m from Nationalist West Belfast and was raised with Republican ideology and the Irish language.

It felt quite strange taking photos of things that I used to see every day and think nothing of, but I always regret not doing so.  Here is an example; it’s one of the murals just past my school.

That mural depicts the Easter Rising (which is what Éirí Amach na Cásca translates to), and that building there is the GPO in Dublin, which was the site of the uprising against the British Army. It was unsuccessful, obviously, or else the “Troubles” would not have been.

For those interested in politics, murals, art, myself, Belfast and etc, I have uploaded a whole set of photographs that I took of murals, my old school grounds and my friend here at Flickr.  I am too tired at the moment but when I’m more awake I will write descriptions so you know what you’re looking at. For the extra nosey, I’ve uploaded two more sets- one of my sister’s birthday and one of photos of my old haunts in Belfast, featuring me holding some scones.  (I have been feeling especially hideous lately, but am putting these up for memory’s sake.  Please don’t poke the soft bits with sticks).

After our jaunt, we went into Belfast city centre where I took more photos.  We had some tea, and Stephen, who wanted to buy me something for my birthday, ended up buying me a lot of books.  The haul included some J.P Donleavy and Jean Rhys so was rather successful.   My sisters and Leigh were in town, and I met Leigh briefly for the first time.  He’s Michelle’s tall, Humanist boyfriend who was lovely enough to give me a hug.  I approve of Leigh! They were in a hurry so I left them be and toddled back to Stephen’s.  We went to Asda to buy ingredients with which to make scones for Orlaigh’s birthday.  I have never baked anything in my life that wasn’t near-fatal, so I was quite excited as we carefully measured ingredients and checked temperatures and such.

They turned out marvellously, no-one died!  We had two sample scones with jam and clotted cream.  We were very proud.

The rest met their end with my siblings and Leigh, with Michelle nicking a few to take back to Newcastle.  I am reliably informed that Leigh finished them off.

After our successful sconing, we listened to Erik Satie and Moondog, both wonderful oddities who I advise you to investigate, as I am.  Stephen played ukulele and we talked and drank even more tea.  I left him late,  meeting my first unfriendly Belfast cab driver (taxi drivers in Belfast are all very talkative and cool) who sang along loudly to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” while hurtling over speed bumps.

Sunday was Orlaigh’s birthday.  We had decided to go out and have coffee and cake, since our dinner idea was scuppered by our mum and our lack of money.  We were going to go and have a picnic (I got some food, Paula made loads of sandwiches) but a spectre looming over the city meant otherwise. Michelle, as usual, managed to sort something out and we all headed to Clements.  She bought a big birthday cake and we lit candles and drank tea and milkshakes.   We sang happy birthday and Paula and I had a Milly Fight.  Orlaigh seemed to enjoy herself…

Orlaigh wanted to go up and see daddy so went to the cemetery afterwards.  Michelle had a strimmer to tidy up the grass on his grave a bit.  Liam took it to some other graves that looked neglected.  We saw both our grandas, too.  Granda Kane has an almost-shrine, which meant that my mum had been up a lot without visiting daddy at all.  There were no flowers at Daddy’s but we left some and left some with Granda Molloy, too.

Orlaigh seemed a bit down, understandably, being that it was her big sixteenth and daddy wasn’t there and mummy didn’t seem to care much.  We all get melancholy on our birthdays.  She left early to go back to our aunt’s, where she lives, and I was surprised by visits from my two friends, Tracie and Andrew.   One is a GP, one is a social worker and with me as the Resident Mentalist, can you guess what we talked about?

Michelle and Leigh picked me up on Monday morning to go to the airport.  It was horribly early, and I wish I’d stayed longer to spend more time with my siblings.  I got back, saw Rob which was brilliant (just to get a big hug and kisses, sitting round just bibbling, it was nice, I don’t feel like running away to be alone when I’m with Rob) then today had a very disheartening appointment with my CPN that has left me wondering what on earth the point is, and feeling guilty for it because she is lovely (but she is leaving, alas, and I am not sure I have the energy to form a new relationship with someone else).   My mood remains pretty much the same.  I am completely broke after visiting Belfast, which continues to depress me.  And because of it, I am tempted to do something impulsive with what I have left, or some of it, to make me happy… which I never do.  I am so bloody careful, all the time.  I want to do something extraordinary, daring, once-in-a-lifetime, so that I can shake myself awake and extricate myself from all this crap. To be so bewildered or taken aback that for one hour I haven’t got my brain telling me to kill myself.  When you have no money, well.  Stephen and I talked about this, that literature about poverty is always dull.  When you’re poor, all you can think about is money.  When I was in Belfast I felt like I was eating coins rather than food I was so worried about it.  I was counting every penny, begrudging every bite.  You can’t do anything, you can’t go anywhere.  I know that if I did do something daring, I’d be thought of as reckless and irresponsible.  But I am the exact opposite, all the bloody time and I want to be different, for a week, a month.  But I won’t, because I need to be careful to live.  It’s just a bit of a spiral at the moment, constant, loud, depressive intrusive thoughts sapping my will, impacting on things, caught between impulsivity and paralysis.  Joy.  I’m kicking, though, as always.

So, you’re all caught up.  Hello.

6 Responses

  1. I am happy to see you had a nice, well, sort of nice coming back to Belfast… (the picture of you with the scones and the marine hat looks terrific by the way; and one day I will have to eat them somewhere ’cause I initially thought scones were a game and got quite confused)…

    On another subject, the funny thing about being pennyless is that the less money I have the more I feel inclined to spend it, while if I have some I feel like a dragon sitting on his hoard. But that is just what I feel like not what I do. You are right that being poor the only worry you have is money, but about literature I don’t agree too much… the reality of poverty is immensely dull, but it does look good on paper “Out and down in Paris and London” ? When I read it I was giggling like it was full of inside jokes Orwell put expecially for me…
    Anyway, it’s good to have you back.

    G.

  2. Welcome back. Glad you had at least a pretty good trip. Seems seriously good to get some of those pictures you’d always meant to take too.

  3. Welcome back; sounds like the trip was fun an I’m glad you got to have a break from the usual and have some fun. Loved the pics; you look happy as do your friends and family.

    By the way we had a string of cats named either Kitty, Cat, Black Cat, Stripey Cat. There’s a certain charm to it I think.

  4. hypo-depressed, hehe that made me smile.

    You keep popping up siblings. I have been reading this for a while but for some reason I thought you were only three.

  5. It didn’t make me smile that you are depressed in any sort of way. It has to do with the term. Man, that came out wrong. I hate not being able to edit comments.

  6. I guess that makes me super nosey! Glad you enjoyed yourself at home xXx

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