We spent the day on the island of Árrain Mhór, which in Gaelic just means ‘Big Island’. And it is fairly big, maintaining a permanent population of a few hundred, enough to justify a regular ferry service from the mainland, anyway. And here is the 3.30pm boat back to Ireland, coming in reasonably on schedule.
Time to cross the border into the Republic of Ireland, getting out of the UK for the first time since late November. Time to get out of the city and into the country — right into it. More of this over the next few days, I sure hope.
In 1689 there was civil war across Britain and Ireland as the Catholic King James II and the Protestant William of Orange vied for the throne. Derry was besieged for months before the forces of William finally prevailed, there and in the later Battle of the Boyne. And that victory has basically defined British politics ever since, and certainly Northern Irish politics.
The annual commemoration of the siege of Derry, the Apprentice Boys’ parade, is not as politically charged as once it was — in 1969 this event effectively set off the whole Troubles — but one might as well still see it as a political demonstration, conducted by a large number of middle-aged white men affecting a military style of dress. It made for good photo opportunities, but I document without sympathising.
The media would like us to think that all is heading for some kind of climate-related disaster, but personally I’m quite enjoying the decent weather this summer, which seems to have extended out to Northern Ireland, at least this week. And she is having a good time in it too.
On 30th January 1972, not more than a hundred yards from the Bed & Breakfast where we are staying in Derry, the British Army killed 14 citizens of its own country, and wounded 14 more. It took decades, but in 2010 it finally came out how the Estalishment massacred these innocent people, as this quote from a radio conversation between a soldier and his officer reveals: “This chap is clearly unarmed, but can I shoot him anyway?” (The answer was yes.)
The Museum of Free Derry now stands more-or-less on the spot where this atrocity took place, and I’m glad it’s there, and doesn’t depend on state funding. The present bunch of ruling morons are as likely to encourage moves towards a united Ireland as they are anything else. Sadly, I’m English, and can’t secede with them.
Hey, I’m on holiday. Still in my own country — just about. But Derry, Northern Ireland, is the westernmost city in the UK and doesn’t really feel like the rest of the place for lots of different reasons. Of which more in tomorrow’s post. The Peace Bridge crosses the River Foyle, which is, essentially, the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland — only not quite, at this point. It’s that uncertainty which defines this place, it seems to me.
Despite the various depredations of different kinds of Authority I am trying to affect a state of relaxation, and this gentleman, by the River Ouse in York, seems to be someone I can aspire to right now. I assume he’s not eaing the ‘ice cream for dogs’ though (see sign).
On we go then, with the next thousand, or four thousand, or whatever will be this blog’s allotted span. The illumination of this web, in some lost corner or other, was the most attractive option for today.
I was looking around today for some kind of shot that represented the milestone I have reached today — four thousand days, which is, now you know, about three weeks short of eleven years. No big round numbers particularly revealed themselves, though I did look. But these trophies will do — I feel I deserve some kind of award, if only from myself. There have been times when I have felt like it’s been going long enough, particularly on those days when I’m staying at home with little to see. But usually, on the horizon, I can see something else ahead which keeps the interest going — like right now, with a holiday to come and then a (work) trip abroad… Let’s not give up just yet then. I would lose that little bit of creativity that I am currently obliged to display each day. And I’m not dead yet, either.
It’s nice when interests coincide. Behind one goal at Atherton Laburnum Rovers’ Crilly Park stadium, there was growing today a whole run of plump, ripe blackberries, of which this was just a small part. Luckily for me I had a collection vessel, which was definitely filled before I settled in to watch the game.
You might have noticed that a nice round number approaches, in terms of the number of days I have been doing this. But that’s for tomorrow.