"...stories birling through my mind..."
A literary journey
Nostalgic Irish prose
Irish culture & folklore
Ulster-Scots short stories
"...stories birling through my mind..."
“Ah dinnae want tae go tae Irish dancing,” says I tae ma mammy.
“Ye dinnae want tae go tae Irish dancing!” says she. “Well, if ye think yer gonna be sittin on thon iPhone aal day, ye’ve another think comin!”
Ma mammy is wile oul fashiont. She disnae understan aal the things that the iPhone lairns me. She disnae see the animals on Adopt Me. She disnae see the places on Sis vs Bro. She disnae see the Tik Tok dances on Youtube.
Ma Mammy disnae like Tik Tok dances. She disnae think it’s right for a nine year-oul tae be twerkin.
Ma mammy sends me tae the Irish Dancing at the Heed o the Toon ivery Saturday, but it’s no fair for my brother disnae have tae dae a thing. He goes on his X-box the minute I lea the hoose. I dinnae think he should be allowed screen-time when ah’m at dancin!
Ma mammy tried tae get me tae practise ma dancin during lockdoon, and at first ah didnae mine, but then ah got mare interested in ma Tik Tok dances.
Ye see, in Irish dancin ye hiddae keep your bum at aise and yer airms by their side. Says I tae ma mammy, “Ye should write tae the inventors o Irish dancin and tell them tae add in airms — and a bit o twerkin,” but says she, “the inventors o Irish dancing hae been deed as lang as yer great, great granny.” Says I, “can ye no write til Donald Trump? For if he can ban Tik Tok, he can likely put airms intae Irish dancin.” Says she, “I dinnae hae his address.” “Och, mammy,” says I, “just google the White Hoose.”
Ah cannae mine exectly when ah thought aboot giein up Irish dancing. See, lockdoon was gey an hard for us weans, for we couldnae see wer friends or visit wer granny and granda and we sort o got used tae daein nuthin.
At the start, ma mammy was a bit o a nutter, and she trailed me up loanen and doon braes til ma legs couldnae curry me. The bit o scraichin and gurnin I did on them walks, ah tell ye, ah surprised masel!
So, says she, “Ah’m no takin ye anymare. Away an read a book.” “A book!” says I.” Ah leuks at her and ah thinks til masel, aye mammy, ah’m gonna read a book when ah hae an iPhone!
Ma mammy reads books. She’s wile oul fashiont.
By August, lockdoon was stairtin tae aise and yin day, ma mammy took me oot tae lairn me til ride a bike. It wasnae the first time, but last year ah couldnae ride it withoot cowpin.
When ma mammy lairned me tae ride a bike, ma life changed forever and I joint a bikers’ gang. We sit on swings and read the big sign that says “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” I think it’s frae the bible.
Says I til ma mammy, “Mammy could ye no write tae Michelle and Arlene aboot thon wee park for it’s a bit o a midden. There’s nay hilter-skilter and it could dae wi a coat o paint. As for them flegs, mammy, could ye tell them the colours dinnae match?”
“I dinnae think Arlene and Michelle can change them flegs, Eliza,” says ma mammy. “Och mammy,” says I, “if ye dream it, ye can achieve it.”
Well, I biked day-in-day-oot for a week until the rain came bucketin oot o the heavens, and ma mammy, she says tae me, “Irish dancin starts the morra.”
“Ah dinnae want tae go tae Irish dancing,” says I.
“Ye dinnae want tae go tae Irish dancing!” says she. “Well, if ye think yer gonna be sittin on thon iPhone aal day, ye’ve another think comin! If ye go tae yin last lesson, ye can lea efter that.”
So, I gets up at the skraich o dawn tae prepare masel for leain dancin. Ah packs ma pumps and ma heavies intae a wee see-through freezer beg, ah packs ma drink an ma crisps intae anither, ah puts ma hand sanitiser in ma pocket and ah walks tae the Heed o the Toon wi ma mammy.
Ma mammy tells ma teachers ah’m for leain an ah dinnae know where tae leuk for it’s no easy leain your dancin, and then ah gets wile feart an a clings tae ma mammy. Ah know’d ma pumps didnae fit me anymare an ah couldnae mind ma treble jig. Ma mammy gien me a wee shuv and the teacher gien me a wee tug, and next thing ye knows, ah’m dancin.
Ah did ma reel and ma jig in ma trainers and boys-a-dear wasn’t ah fleein across thon church hall! Ah did ma heavies an next thing ye know, it was half eleven.
Ma mammy says tae me on the route hame, “Well?”
I says nuthin but ma face sort o way smiles.
Says ma mammy tae me, “Will ye geh back next week?”
Says I, “Aye, but ah hope ye dinnae mind me saying, mammy, your writing is wile oul-fashiont. Could ye no write a modren story aboot a wean that likes Tik Tok dances?”
“Alright,” says she.
“And mammy,” says I.
“What?” says she.
“Could ye call the wean Eliza?”
Angeline King's latest novel, Dusty Bluebells, is out now. It's not for children, but every so often Angeline's daughter insists upon a made-up bedtime story like this one, and sometimes those made-up stories relate closely to real life!
Scene from Snugville Street
The Wedding Wisp
82 Waterloo Road
The Teacher Voice
The Last Day of Summer Scheme
Uniquely Girls' Brigade
The Children of Latharna
The Band Stick
The Bully up the Brae
God Created Butlins
History & folklore
Language Blog I
Language Blog II
Language Blog III
Language Blog IV
Fiddles and Melodeons
Martha Taylor's diary
Jean McCullagh at 104
Ballymena & the McConnells
Arms in Irish Dancing
Catholics & Protestants in Irish dancing
Irish Dancing: The Festival Story
The Protestant in Irish Fiction.
The Protestant in Irish fiction II
Ulster-Scots in Irish Fiction
An author in Wonderland
Dancing in Victorian Ulster
Learning the Irish Language.
John Hewitt Summer School
Thirteen Reasons for Peace
So Young then (Andrea Corr & me)
Lesley Allen & Helen Nicholl