"...stories birling through my mind..."
A literary journey
Irish culture & folklore
"...stories birling through my mind..."
Ah was sick, sore an tired o the games that Harry an Gary played. Ah was sick, sore an tired o BMXing. Ah was sick, sore an tired o the A-Team. Ah was sick, sore an tired o the band stick.
‘Ah'm bored.’ ah saed tae Mammy.
‘How cud ye be bored? It’s simmer. Ye’re aff schuil. The street’s ful o weans. Away oot an play like the rest o them.’
‘They onlie want tae play on bikes an al. Ah'm bored o bikes an al.’
‘Jenny’s on her ain ower thonner. Away an play wi Jenny.’
Mammy’s eebrous were question marks. She haed a semicolon smile. She knowed ah wasnae sick, sore an tired o Gary’s sister, Jenny.
Jenny gaes tae the Andrews’ schuil o dancin at the Town Hall. Ivery Saturday, ah'm on ma ain on the boy’s side o the hal an Jenny is on the ither wi thirty girls.
It’s wile hard tae be on ma ain at dancin withoot stories birlin throu ma mind.
Ah dae the three-han reel wi the girls. There’s a jellyfish on ma left wi airms an legs that shoogle in al the wrang directions. There’s a swan on ma right wi strang airms an graceful legs.
The swan is Jenny.
‘Weel, what are ye for daein?’ Mammy askit.
‘Ah dinnae know.’
‘Ye dinnae know?’ she saed. ‘What aboot a game that you like ?’
‘Harry an Gary dinnae like my games.’
‘How do ye know they dinnae like yer games?’
‘Ah juist know.’
‘Weel, this might be yer last simmer wi them, sae ye hiddae play thegither.’
‘What dae ye mean last simmer?’
Mammy haed a gleek o worry on her face.
‘It’s juist that ye winnae be at St. Joseph’s wi Harry onymair an ye winnae see much o Gary yince ye al go tae different secondary schuils.
It was true that we were al gaen tae different secondary schuils, but schuil didnae maitter for the hale o us played thegither on Greenland Grove.
‘Away an play wi Jenny.’
‘Harry an Gary say that ah'm a right Jinny if ah play wi girls.’
‘Och, a lot o nonsense! Pay nae heed tae Harry an Gary!’
Ah dannert across the road. Gary’s hoose is richt afore mine. We hae prime sentry positions on Greenland Grove. As soldiers o fortune, Gary says it is wer duty tae protect the street frae ony trouble.
Jenny was on the simmer seat at the front o her hoose, her legs pinned tae the groon wi the stappers o twa red roller boots.
‘They’re roon the back,’ she saed as she birled a buttercup in her hand. She hoult the buttercup unner her chin an it changed her neck tae the colour o sunsheen.
Jenny’s face is al spreckled wi freckles an she has a blond bob that hides her periwinkle luggies. Her eenies were skinklin unner the buttercup.
‘Ye must lik butter,’ ah saed, an Jenny leuked up an gien me a smile an ah went roon the back an waatched Harry an Gary oil the chains on their bikes.
‘Ah'm fed up wi BMXing,’ ah saed.
Gary’s eyes were wide wi suspicion.
‘What dae you want tae dae then?’ he saed.
‘Ah dinnae know,’ ah saed.
‘What aboot King Billy bike ramps?’ he saed.
Gary was mad aboot King Billy. If he wasnae makin us aal cycle across a pretend Boyne River on bikes, he was leadin us roon Greenland Crescent in a dummy fluit band.
‘Ah'm bored bein King Billy,’ ah saed.
A flash o red rolled doon the driveway. ‘What aboot King Lir? Can we no hae a game o King Lir for a change?’
‘I dinnae know King Lir,’ saed Gary. ‘Do you know King Lir, Harry?’
‘Ah dinnae,’ saed Harry.
There was onlie yin problem wi playin King Lir, an ah knowed ma pals wudnae like it. ‘We need a girl!’ ah saed.
‘Och no!’ rhymed the baith o them. ‘No a girl!’
Scene from Snugville Street
The Wedding Wisp
82 Waterloo Road
The Teacher Voice
The Children of Latharna
The Band Stick
The Bully up the Brae
History & folklore
Language Blog I
Language Blog II
Language Blog III
Language Blog IV
The linguist behind Ulster Scots.
Kailyard & Dusty Bluebells
Jean Park of Ballygally
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
Lesley Allen & Helen Nicholl