The flight to Ireland from Gatwick is satisfyingly uncomplicated. Some people prefer window seats on planes, I am an aisle seat man. In the window seat man is a white haired man in his sixties called Donovan . He has a soft spoken kindly manner and is on his way
back home to Ireland from Trinidad where he lives as a priest. We exchange
pleasantries . He’s going to a funeral “to bury my brother” .
We say goodbye and I am picked up at Shannon airport. It’s an hours drive from Shannon airport to Galway. “I hate this stretch of road” the driver says “ my aunt her neighbour and my cousin her daughter were killed down here” he crosses his chest as we speed past. As we pass through a town in the midst of an oyster festival. Food becomes the conversation.
“I had a friend who used to give me free monk fish every week” he says “he’d call me up and say ‘Razor’ come and get some fish” The drivers name is razor. “one time I go and there’s no one there, except police. They found a body in his freezer”. Apparently or I should say less apparently a body had stood in the freezer for five years and when the fishmonger decided to sell some of his business it was found. I checked online and the story is here.
We arrive in Galway. He wrapped up the story with a cheeky grin “Aye Galway is the only place you can get yourself a leg of fish” and we burst into laughter. I check into the house hotel by the Galway Bay where the festival office is. The pain in my right foot is
intense. I meet Geroid MacLochlainn. He’s a good man and poet and we have met sporadically over this past five years. I have read with him variously in Ireland. The last place was Kilkenny. He once flew kites with my uncle on the beach. It’s an enjoyable reading.