Winning Freak

“Phhsunnnnk…Plap!” The post has is squeezed through the letter-box and lands on the hall-floor. Today there’s just one envelope – white and marked “Private and Confidential”. There are no obvious signs of bad news. No harp on the front. The return address is not Garda Charge Processing Unit, Thurles. Maybe that white van parked on

Waist Management

The tux doesn’t lie. At some point in the past few months, the torso it was bought to cover has decided it wants to express itself more fully. After struggling with the button for a while, I decide to leave it open, as if trying to evoke the image of one of the Rat Pack

VIP Freely

The man in the high-vis jacket is resolute. He is not for turning. “Ye cannae get in here with that wrist-band. Ye need a Production or a Security pass. I cannae let ye in wi that.” “Ah go on will ya” “No way pal. If ye’ve no’ got the right wristband ye’re no’ gettin in”

Happy Returns

The driver has the radio on in the taxi. “And here’s Arwen Foley with AA Roadwatch…” “Thanks Áine. And to begin with, this morning, we’re getting reports of loose horses in the Jobstown area” Loose horses in Jobstown. No less than the sun setting on Galway Bay or the shine on an olive in the

Rival Without A Cause

They’ve made a list, you’re checking it twice. A final confirmation of who has been naughty and who has ‘done the study’. The CAO* offers are out and students are contemplating accepting or rejecting college courses as diverse as Applied OMG in Trinity and Interactive Rose Studies in Tralee IT. Of course the CAO offer system

Breaking Snooze

Please don’t wake me, no don’t shake me, Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping (The Beatles I’m Only Sleeping) It’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m lying in a bunkbed in a Victorian-era University building in Edinburgh. No, it’s not a student party thrown by a couple of ‘legends’. In fact I

Frequent Flier

We stood stock-still, terrified they would spot us. But it was too late, to try and hide would have been futile. They walked towards us, an expression of artificially induced cheeriness frozen on their faces. We tensed up, braced for the onslaught, but it never came. Apparently we were not their target and almost as

Queue Hoor

It’s never happened to me before. I’ve always been so careful, always been prepared. While others fumbled and ‘foostered’ and ignored all prior instructions, I was the perfect traveller; the airport expert or ‘airpert’. Like a poor man’s George Clooney in Up In The Air, I prided myself on my smooth navigation of the pitfalls

There’s A First Line For Everything

My fingers were poised above the keyboard, tense and motionless, waiting for orders that never come – like soldiers about to attack a rebel town, unaware that their government has abdicated. The purpose of this first sentence is twofold. Firstly, to try and describe what writer’s block is like and secondly because the line is

Photographic Memories

Home Again, house sitting again. Lookin’ through.. photos, at the back of your drawer The way that you looked, When you were small [The Auteurs, Home Again ] It is said that a picture paints a thousand words; this cut no ice with the editor who made it quite clear she wanted the thousand words


There are many of you for whom the phrase Social Network means nothing. Therefore announcing that I’ve joined a new one would be akin to saying: “Just started learning Uzbek; fancied a change from Kazakh.” Most people have heard of Facebook. If you haven’t, to explain briefly: Facebook is a website which allows you to