Dinner party

There was half an hour for some art this afternoon whilst the youngest daughter took herself off into the wilds of Birkenhead to buy tights.

The art came courtesy of The Williamson Art Gallery.

It is easy to drive past and hardly notice it is there and just as easy to turn right into the car park and spend some lost time walking through its galleries.

On the moment they are showing an exhibition of Liverpool artists centred around a painting called Dinner Party (22 people and me). The painting features a number of well known Liverpool artists from the time including Adrien Henri and Maurice Cockrill – it has centre stand and around it are paintings, sculpture and other art from the people featured in the picture.

if you have an hour to lose in Birkenhead it is well worth the time.

Back at home I stirred at the garden with my big toe and spent an hour or so cooking Vietnamese food. All it was missing was a dinner party to eat it in – and a grape.

Dreams of pints

By rights I should be spending my nights lying awake in bed thinking on the next file that will blow a cold wind in my face and on how to identify killer objective to trump all those other objectives that have been set for myself.

But last night I slept the sleep of the innocent and I dreamt of the pints to be had in Arundel’s Pub.

Putting it together now it is difficult to say where the first pint came from. I was up there in the early afternoon and there was someone new behind the bar and there was music playing somewhere in the background.

That first pint was taken slowly as the dream moved on and I tried to make small talk with whoever it was that had poured it for me on the pumps that drove the black liquid from the barrel to the tap on the bar.

By the time the second pint was in my hand I was back towards the back of the pub and talking to two men from England I had not met before. They lived somewhere in the hills and had been coming to Ahakista for the last twenty years. One of them was wearing a pink jumper and he took umbrage at something I said. He stormed out of the bar to cool himself down and the other man reassured that this was nothing to worry about.

As I took to finishing the second pint I started to realise that before I had made my way up to the pub I had made a promise to be back to cook something for those that had been left behind. As I thought on this I tried to remember if it was lunch I was cooking or was it supper by now.

The worry was taken out my hands as the others that had been left behind walked into the pub and a third pint made its way into my hands.

The third pint was the last one I had before I woke up. And it was at this point that perhaps some of the anxiety I should have having lying awake and thinking on that elusive killer objective came into play.

I had not paid for the two pints I had drunk and the third I was drinking and I was not sure there was anyone behind the bar who had kept in touch with what had gone through my hands. Even if a count had been kept so far there was bound to be more pints drunk over the day and the evening that would follow and by the time those were finished I would have lost count and how would any proper accounting for it all be achieved.

So I woke up worrying about payment for my pints. As I lay in that brief awake state the killer objective came into mind and I thought on a place that sold mackerel and lobster and the pints in-between.


A bit of Seamus Heaney

Sheep's Head Food Company

I found this whilst looking on the web for stories about husbands who may have been slapped by a mackerel.


Man to the hills, woman to the shore. (Irish proverb)

I have crossed the dunes with their whistling bent
Where dry loose sand was riddling round the air
And I’m walking the firm margin. White pocks
Of cockle, blanched roofs of clam and oyster
Hoard the moonlight, woven and unwoven
Off the bay. A pale sud at the far rocks
Comes and goes.

Out there he put me through it.
Under the boards the mackerel slapped to death
Yet we still took them in at every cast,
Stiff flails of cold convulsed with their first breath.
My line plumbed certainly the undertow,
Loaded against me once I went to draw
And flashed and fattened up towards the light.
He was all business in the stern. I called:

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