Archive for November, 2012

My friend Sile sent shivers down my spine with this post. It’s like the haunting tune of ‘Cape Clear’ – yearning, joyful, lonely, questing.

Síle Looks Up

On Saturday I went to Inis Bearachain in Conamara with my sisters, their husbands, two small people and a friend whose father came from the island. We were going to visit a very particular art exhibition as part of Tulca, a multi-venue visual art festival. This is our afternoon in pictures.

We drove to Leitir Calaidh, got on a boat at the pier and sailed out to the island.

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..who wants to give copies of her new novel to various people – maybe even you. The problem is, it’s an ebook, and the publisher has no gift voucher system. My scatty literary sister is thinking of sending her friends folding money and asking them to buy it on Amazon. Anyone got a better idea?


And you might have noticed, I don’t know how to create proper hyper links in this blog. Can anyone tell me how to do it? Yes, I know, I know – I am as dippy as she is. Please don’t tell her, she will only gloat.

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But sadly, you can’t because the run has just finished in Cardiff. A new play by Clare Bayley about the rendition flights over rural England during the war with Iraq. Theatre of things we would rather not think about. And a play that takes courage to write. 


Thanks to the cast for an inspiring, interactive evening.

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Last night I was watching a series of films made by the admirable Humphrey Jennings in the early 1940s. ‘London can take it’, ‘Spring Offensive’, ‘The First Days’, were all made for morale boosting propaganda purposes, but nevertheless painted a realistic picture of what the people and their government were doing to improve national health, educate people about their union rights, and inspire the population to further efforts.

One thing comes across with dazzling clarity. The genuine wish, translated into actions, of the war cabinet of the day, to enable everyone to be as healthy, as well cared for, and as informed as possible. No outsourcing or private companies stood to make profits. The priority was ourselves, the ordinary people, and these films show how much the government of the day valued its citizens and respected the conditions they were enduring.

Of course, having a war to fight helped. We had a common purpose and a shared vision. But is this what it takes to make politicians care about us? What a tragedy. It seems we have learned nothing from recent history. The nation’s health improved; we took more exercise, our diet was better, even our teeth and eyes were looked after, because those in power over us believed we mattered.

These films should be required viewing for the present day cabinet, who have forgotten what a resource we could be. If they cared.

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