Round Ireland with an iPhone: Belfast#2

Hello again from Belfast Botanical Gardens. Several weeks of mid-summer heat, a rare enough treat in these climes, along with intermittent heavy rain, have brought about a magnificent swathe of blooms of all colours and variations. Most striking is the wild flower patch with deep blue cornflowers and lazy daisies. I’m doing the best I can to squeeze in a morning walk around Botanic at least once each week and catching a coffee with Fintan or a daughter into the bargain. While I tend to enjoy each season for it’s unique beauties, for now summer’s where it’s at. Happy Summertime folks!

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Round Ireland with an iPhone: Belfast#1.

Today in Belfast seemed like the first day of a real Spring season so I took a walk around Botanic Gardens and Stranmillis. Cherry blossoms are everywhere and the bluebells are in full bloom as well, perhaps a little early but I’m not complaining since they’re my favourite flower. Though sunny, the air was chill and I used that as an excuse to do my usual jaunt into the Ulster Museum (so conveniently situated right in the lovely Botanic Gardens). Took a few snaps along the way, hope you enjoy 😊

A Very British Blog Tour

Thanks to Viv (author and blogger of the re-blogged post above) for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour. Viv’s nominator Roz is linked into her post as well and from there you can also track back to others in the chain and read their responses. So here’s my contribution – not sure if I’m going about it the right way but here goes anyway!
Q: where were your born and where do you live now?
I was born in Belfast and still live there with my husband and children. Being connected with both sides of the border, there is a kind of multi-layered quality to living in Northern Ireland. I personally feel enriched by both cultures and have difficulty accepting attitudes that exclude rather then include and celebrate diversity. There’s an interesting slide show and a stimulating piece on Belfast on Sinus Sister blog,  Here’s a view from our back door on the outer rim of South Belfast 

Q Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere?

Most of my working life has been based in Belfast where I trained as a mental health nurse, with a short stint working as an agency nurse in London in the eighties. As a family we spent some time living in Galway in the west of Ireland which was a fascinating experience as I was doing fieldwork research for my PhD. I spent several years as a mature student at Queen’s University studying psychology and social anthropology and have been writing fiction, poetry and non-fiction for a number of years now.
Q Have you highlighted or showcased any particular part of Britain in your books, a town, a city, a county, a monument, well-known place or event?
When I branched into fiction I had a short story published in The University of Ulster literary magazine Reflexion. It was called Clashed and told of a young man on the brink of suicide, living on the outer perimeter of a housing estate in west Belfast beside Black Mountain, who is brought back from the edge by a group of friends who inspire him with tales of the punk rock music scene in London (late seventies). My interests are growing in this relationship between the centre and the periphery, NI and London, indeed the whole of Ireland and the ongoing exchange of ideas, people and labour. This relationship between post-colonial societies and the individual lives who are negotiating the shifting identities to be found therein is a source of inspiration for several projects on which I am currently working.

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish- about British people that I would like to discuss. Many see Brits as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is this correct?
I really don’t like to generalise about cultures and people. There are reserved people everywhere and flamboyant people too, though I do suspect that both British and Irish people treat children with a certain degree of ‘should be seen but not heard’. Needless to say this is a practice I would personally challenge. I love the way our societies are becoming more diversified – we are all enriched by each other in my experience.
Q: Tell us about one of your recent books.
Up to now my work has been published only in journals- academic mental health titles and then recently literary magazines (poems, shorts). Here is a link to my first poem The Front Room published online in Mused.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am completing my first book based on a review of service users’ views and other research on the role of creativity and social support in mental health recovery, for Palgrave UK, to be released later this year. I also plan to complete my first novel about a mental health nurse suffering her own breakdown and the consequences of that for herself, her family and friends. At first I located her in London but changed the setting to Belfast for a number of reasons – they say write about what you know, plus Will Self’s book Umbrella was set in London and located in a mental health hospital so I was worried my story might look too familiar.
Q: How do you spend your leisure time?

Reading, painting old furniture and devising quirky uses for it ( I just created two book nooks from old drawers and used the cabinet section to create a standing table for my laptop – sitting is not good for dodgy back!). Cinema and family life, walking when I get the chance and browsing Pinterest.
Q Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?

Global. The issues I try to weave into my work are universal ones like sanity, emotional well being and the complexity of relationships.

Q: Who’s next?
Since I’m not sure how to operate this section of the exercise, I am hoping for volunteers so feel free to join in if you meet the criteria- just link back to the previous bloggers through the chain in Viv’s post I have re-blogged here. Thanks in advance for looking in.

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

A Very British Writer blog tour

I’m quite a reserved sort and it always discombobulates me to be asked to participate in various events. I’m the wallflower, standing at the side hoping no one asks me to dance. But this one intrigued me because on several occasions it has been remarked upon how much I clearly love my country and how it influences my work. So when Roz Morrisnominated me, I stammered my thanks, took a deep breath and started to think about the questions.

http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/a-very-british-blog-tour-post-at-authors-electric/?replytocom=17531#respond

YOu can see the previous post here: http://authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-very-british-blog-tour.html

Q: where were your born and where do you live now?

A: I was born in a small village about fifteen miles from Cambridge. I’ve lived all over Britain but about six months ago I moved to a small, quintessentially English market town in Norfolk. My family is originally a mix of Welsh and…

View original post 727 more words

Punk Poetry

Hear the man himself, Terri Hooley, talk about the inspiration for Good Vibrations – a film, a record shop, a recording label and most of all, ‘a way of life’ .

Roger Dormer (Terri in the movie) too and the production team. Then go see the film – its a treat 🙂

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