Friday, January 22, 2010

"How did you find that?"

No. I did not lose anything. This was the question several people who attended last night's dialogue in Coleraine asked me. The answer is, I was very impressed. Kilcranny House and the Coleraine Borough Council hosted a dialogue on the topic of Hate Crime. The guest speaker was Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum, a very articulate and personable man who seemed to respond openly and honestly to all questions and comments. It was very well attended by the local population even though it was a cold rainy, windy night. Kilcranny staff, Conn and Rachel facilitated the dialogue and Lisa and Paul took expert notes. I observed, listened and met and chatted with some local people, continuing to be impressed with the friendliness I encounter every day in Norther Ireland.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friendly Northern Ireland

After almost a week in Northern Ireland, I see the snow and ice has melted away. Kilcranny House is drying out, and I hope to move there in the next couple of days. I have been the recipient of the most generous hospitality. And I have been enjoying the friendly Northern Irish people. Here is an example. A few days ago, I had a coffee at a local shop in Portrush. My next stop was the library, but I couldn't remember which way to go. I asked the young woman who came out just behind me. She said, "Just a minute." Instead of giving me directions, she signalled to the woman who was parked by the curb, her friend, and said "We're going to give you a wee lift." So I held a Pekingnese on my lap and they drove me all of 200 yards to the library.

I took the train the Belfast yesterday and took in the newly renovated Ulster Museum. I struck up a chat with two women headed for Londonderry and a day of shopping. They made sure I made the transfer in Colraine smoothly. At the train station in Belfast, I asked one of the employees the direction to the museum. He walked me to the sidewalk and gave me the directions I needed. As I picked up my coat from the coat check after my day at the museum, the young man working there asked if I had enjoyed my visit and we had a little chat. Everyone goes the extra distance to be more than courteous.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starting with an update

I am going to make an effort to blog so that family and friends can know a little about what is happening with me. Right now, I want to just share news. Maybe later I will try write entertaining anecdotes.

As you know if you are following the news, the British Isles are experiencing an unusually cold, snowy, icy winter. Those conditions mean when I arrived in Belfast last Friday, the long lane to Kilcranny House was iced over. Also, the freezing temperatures over the holidays, left the house with some frozen pipes and a boiler on the fritz.

Many kind people, friends of Kilcranny, are making sure I am well cared for. Some of these are member of the management committe. Others are people who have other connections to the Kilcranny network. And Lisa, a current volunteer, also checks in with me and keeps me informed.

After spending two nights in Colraine with Gillian, I am now in Portrush, with Smita. I am enjoying good, long walks in the morning, today's along the windy shoreline in Portrush including the beach that attracts a crowd in the summer. Only the seagulls greeted me this morning.

I don't set out until nearly 8:30 when it is daylight. Short days now. It will begin to get dark around 4:30.

I am taking each day as it comes. No one can make promises or even good predictions about when we can get safely to the house and have heat and running water.