As the aeroplane took off, leaving the wondrous city of Prague behind, the two passengers either side of me retrieved journals and new notebooks from cabin luggage and began writing furiously. One happened to be my handsome happy man (who was using my pen) and had an idea for a novel based on the 14th, 15th, 16th Century architecture and churches we had soft-stepped into, open-mouthed in wonder. I had taken to praying for my nearest and dearest in each magnificent structure whereas he had eyes only for the art.

The lady in the pretty Aztec dress and South of Ireland lilt to my right bent over her journal, covering it with her hand any time I as much looked out the window. She crunched an apple and seemed to be filling in diary entries or appointments from several months before. I wondered.

Having no use for my pen, my ideas seeming to have dried up this long, long time I began reading my novel ‘In the Name of Love’ by Patrick Smith. Said handsome man looked up from his backwards notebook (leftie) to comment on how fast I was flicking pages. In this time of confusion and felt stagnation I am soaking up words all the faster in order to arm myself.

The first three days of my six day trip to Prague were spent worrying. Worrying about going back, my career non-starter, my decisions, my still living at home, people’s opinions. I think my friends want to shake me I have been in this boat forever.

I lit candles in the Sedlec Bone Church and took a pew before the Child of Prague. I bantered about teaching and other sensible steps I have no urge to take with my travel partner and tried to see what I wanted to be.

A bone and skull pyramid, plague bodies in Bone Church, Kutna Hora.

A bone and skull pyramid, plague bodies in Bone Church, Kutna Hora.

I gave up and tried to count my blessings which are many, I appreciated the cobbles, the huge Cathedrals and rich cemeteries. I enjoyed the holiday canoodles, the mini apartment we shared with a bathroom each, our balcony with a view of red tiled towers and roofs. We had a go at the Czech cuisine of Beef goulash and Fallow deer and potato dumplings galore. We took a train and a tour, we shared a carriage with a Canadian girl and an Australian couple whose travels were far greater than ours. But willed the loud Australian not to probe on ‘what I did.’

I listened to stories and history and gazed at beautiful things, tried and tested and sipped, smiled and laughed and whispered and hoped. I think I might be coming across self obsessed and whiny and that so isn’t my aim. I’m trying to reawaken my blog and get used to writing again, also keep my eyes and my heart open and hope.

Vysehrad Cemetery

Vysehrad Cemetery

I was sad to leave the beautiful sun soaked cultural Czech Republic and I am craving a return already. So as I tuck my trusty bum bag away until my next trip (!) and smile at my trinkets and photos, I take this last unexpected day before returning to the bookshop where I work. I try to get my thoughts in order and my heart in the right place. I ask you to be patient with me. I’m experiencing and living and slightly restless. I will get there or at least find the words use my talents and enjoy the journey.


Books: The C-Word by Lisa Lynch

I finished ‘The C Word’ by Lisa Lynch today. I had been eyeing it up in work for weeks. After the recent BBC adaptation starring Sheridan Smith (which I hope to somehow see) there was some interest in the book shop, and I remembered reading Lisa’s spirited blog posts on battling The Bullshit (breast cancer) on her blog, Alright Tit.

I found it fascinating and Lisa was so honest and human about telling it like it is. She is so jokey and pokes fun at her condition constantly, even in her worst moments. Sometimes this was hard to read, but it showed her determination to make everyone comfortable and not let herself be overwhelmed.


Lisa received a shock breast cancer diagnosis aged 28, and in her short life had achieved everything she could have hoped and had rigidly planned! She put me to shame, to be honest. Happily married, a Masters and an Editor of a magazine aged 25! Her world was shattered but she fought so hard, together with her amazing family and friends and her beloved P.

I was inspired and touched by Lisa and her young husband P’s relationship. With every blow of ‘the bullshit’ they just seemed to get quietly stronger, and all the beautiful Lisa’s worries that he wouldn’t love her anymore after she lost her hair and became bloated with drugs etc were more than unfounded. Relationship goals. As a woman, it’s terrifying to relate to the horror of losing your hair and the trauma of a mastectomy and all the other horrible side effects of chemo therapy that take a toll on your appearance and femininity. I found myself eyeing up my other half and wondering would he still be there if I suddenly looked horrendous.

Another thing: I will never underestimate chemotherapy again. I knew people were sick and lost their hair, but Lisa’s account conveyed an absolute hell, and I definitely have a new found fear for the treatment and respect for those who have battled through. Her suffering and survival will stay with me for a long time.


I’m glad to have read Lisa’s heart breaking, hilarious and honest story, And I think my life is a little better off from catching some of her light. It breaks my heart that the lovely P had to write the foreword, as Lisa passed away on 11 March 2013. I’m glad that she was on this earth and that she decided to share her experiences through her wonderful writing. I highly recommend you read it, and visit Alright Tit for more of her journey. Thank you, Lisa ! :)

Books: Fried Green Tomatoes


Inspired by my good friend ‘Shaista’s Books‘ I wanted to document my reading more, I am liable to forget why I loved some of the fiction I happily consume. I have been aware of the film for a few years and was always interested, so I bought Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe from Gutter Books in Dublin on a lovely trip earlier this year.

For some reason it took me many weeks to read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so I wanted to press it upon loved ones. On my copy, Harper Lee’s comment is emblazoned: ‘ A richly comic, poignant narrative.’ and this rings oh so true.

Moving between the town of Whistle Stop and Birmingham, Alabama during the Depression and Birmingham, and a nursing home in Birmingham Alabama in the 1980s there are echoes of ‘The Help.’

It’s a novel about love. And friendship. It addresses huge themes subtly such as sexism and racism. The characters are strong and larger than life loveable. The main part of the story centres around the small town of Whistle Stop, and namely the cafe that Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamieson run. There are hilarious ‘newsletters’ from Dot Weems the post mistress of the town. And in the 1980s, Evelyn Couch befriends old Mrs Ninny Threadgoode in Rose Terrace Nursing Home, Alabama while her husband visits his grumpy mother. Evelyn and the reader are riveted by the stories of bravery, the ridiculous, true love and of course the murder trial…

Idgie Threadgoode is a deeply flawed character but one who knows the meaning of love, and who goes above and beyond for those around her, especially Ruth.

There are stories of real pain, taken in the stride of many of the main characters. The brilliant writing includes many tiny stories within stories that fill the reader with wonder and leave you drawing your own conclusions. Naughty Bird and Miss Fancy the elephant, so touching. I was telling my other half, my friend and my Mum all about it.

You can almost taste the barbecue and the lemon icebox pie!

I look forward to watching the film now. Something to look forward to, just as Ninny Threadgoode looked forward to Evelyn’s visits and the sweet treats.

It’s a book that does you good! It will stay with me for a long time.


Image from here