RathlinHostelBlog 3: Everyone doesn’t want to leave.

Week 5

Hristina and I meet in nearby Ballintoy to coo at Bendhu House, eat at harbour, shriek at divers in rocky waters.

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2015-08-28 14.43.44There’s a pub there with a Game of Thrones room, apt, as they shoot at the harbour twenty minutes walk.

Back on the island, 520 people come in for the Rathlin Run. Special Guest Star: Rathlin chum Moira Morton arrives. Sean and Patsy take us for a look around West Lighthouse.

On the way back, I’m inspired for a horror short and home, we’re made Sunday dinner and treated to many stories. Throughout the week, I’m talking to four islander writers, hatching plans for a writer’s retreat. Beer and burgers for a fiver!

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Writing: End of month deadlines: Sloppily prepped, I do submit an article on writing I am pleased with, five poems and a piece on behalf of Richard Barr, storyteller supremo. 2nd draft my horror piece and continue with the space opera.

Special Guest Stars #2: Donna Traynor and BBC Newsline. I appear in cafe background, but will it make the edit?

Answer: Usual ole nuisance associated with film crews. They might not show up, they show up late, they don’t want to shoot in the cafe, they do want to shoot in the cafe, they’re setting up for ages, or are they filming, I’ve already drank two cups, the marshmallows, the hot chocolate and I can’t order another because they’re still here, directing everything. Annoyed. Filming or not? Apropos of nothing, I drink from an empty cup because this is amusing to me. This ends up on five seconds of the broadcast.

There’s been a problem with the volunteer due to show up on Saturday. Will she? I might stay on. To be continued.

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Health Update

Doctor’s yesterday. Blood pressure weirdly perfect, cholesterol okay-ish. My record shows I’ve been pre-diabetes for a year or so. No immediate risk, he says. Doc looks elderly, full in faculties, intelligent, great social manner. I tell him I want to take this very seriously and though it’s usually people with diabetes, he’s happy with my request to attend a diabetes education class. I need this stuff drilled into my system. Sometimes I think it might be better if he yelled, ‘You’ve got to buck up your ideas’, then slapped me on the cheek like an SS Officer. Anyway, I’m on a wee level-altering med until I can get off my arse and do something about it.

update, doc recommended me a few useful web spots.

  • Couch to 5k, an NHS backed initiative (with plan) to get box-set nesters to make it past the front door. Don’t run? In a month, you’ll run 5k. I’ve been trying this out and it’s got cred. Webpage and apps are here. 
  • Parkrun, for when that 5k is together. Saturday morning runs at the local park. A real community event. Sounds good. Website here, or google your local.

Speaking of my arse, I could be quite good at blogging, if I dare say. Since becoming a writer, (chasing the money), blogging is like a leftie butcher coming home to a brown splattered plate of liver and bone. I don’t have time to deliver you original comics, photos, travel-blogs weekly, so you have to make to with the free scraps chucked as I scamper from tree to tree. Hopefully that’ll be good enough for you lot. And if you’ve helped through my several help-me-i’m-skint please in the past, email and ask for something back. No really. I do some free-loading but I don’t want to rip the bum out of it. If you feel the same way, fecking buy something, okay?

Was gonna call this post, Bleeding and Blogging, don’t want to start a stampede.

It’s been an interesting year, filled with perhaps more holidays than the rest of my life sewn together. (Clarification: writers don’t actually get days off)

Stuff that has me interested lately:

Unmissable, so you’ve probably already read, Frankie Boyle’s Conference Roundup.

Babylon 5 Audio Guide: American trio covering B5 episode by episode in much, too much detail. (Intro to B5 at the A-V Club)

The Wife Vs Everything Else: Offshoot of the best Doctor Who and Blakes 7 blogs, Wife In Space and Wife and Blake. It’s a funders-only trawl through great and appalling 70s TV armed with wit and fear. May be released eventually, meantime I think you can get it through the Jon Pertwee kickstarter.

Buffy – The Animated Series: Can you believe no-one has yet commissioned this? Are 90% of commissioners idiots? Yes they are.

John Robbins’ eclectic new collection of comic strips, A Hand Of Fingers.

Warren Ellis on the attention economy– ” Some of that attention would stick, your reputational reach would increase, and the game would play on.”

The Wire RPG from College Humour

Proper Manuscript Format by William Shunn (every day for the rest of my life)

John Lanchester’s Capital (great stuff), and I see, coming as a BBC series next year.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: probably one of the best American comedy series ever. Only available in the UK over Netflix and FX, seasons 1-2 have recently come up on Region 2 dvd.

Next time, I’ll blog about Rathlin Island Hostel. Yeah, I’ll do that.

RathlinHostelblog 2: A kitchen of seals

Week 3

Sean and I kick it off by getting quite polaxed. Jasus, it’s half three! Pretty Barbara has a staggeringly good technical drawing of HMS Drake. 26 beds to change at the weekend!

Special Guest Appearance #2: Mum and Dad find Rathlin breathtaking but get hit on Day 2 by crappiest weather in ages. Oh well, they’ll be back.

Writing: Slack week. Abandoned re-write of Pixels, (shit I can’t shine it seems), diary, postcards. Reading Joyce’s Ulysees and Asimov’s Youth, really short dose of ace.

Sightings: Guillemots, Oyster Catchers2015-08-18 20.21.33 2015-08-23 14.17.08

Week 4

Special Guest Star: John AKA Jackfirecat! From Oxford! To See me! And the island! John stops to film every moth, we watch the seals with beer (72!), we get more drunk than gentlemen over 40 should and visit Rue Point/Pertwee Lighthouse. We brave the Lamas Fair and insert yellowman into strawberries. No really sir, a younger boy told us to do it. It’s quite good.

Bonding with Hristina from Zurich: toasties, pubbing, stargazing. Meanwhile, I book a holiday to Spain with islander Susie (of Watershed), and play ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ on my lips to the amusement of all in the pub.

Writing: Space opera

Sightings: Stonechat, 2xUFOs, turn out to be ships with very tall lights, and this double-rainbow

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RathlinHostelblog 1: Camera-Eye Returning

Well, it’s been an amazing month on Rathlin, my baseline depression default setting raised to: Oh I’m a bit sad, everything around me is beautiful. Oh, I’m not sad. Cruel world, get a dose of this infection.

Week 1
Arrival, and I lock myself in the caravan to finish an 8,000 word supernatural war story. Emerging at midnight, ‘AndyLuke’ greeted at the bar. Hello website visitors! Tough transition making leap from holidaying on Rathlin to working here. Epilepsy playing up a bit. Lovely family (Martin, Katia, Luciano & Sofia) from Holywood help take the sting out and I’m settling to know more locals; therapeutic bunch.
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Oh, and I get a mohican.

mohican 2015

Week 2
Best Guinness ever, Rathlin Red ale great, Martin shaves my head, for it was becoming weed-like. Meet a localauthor, who speaks on writing as eloquently as the best.

Rathlin 1

Surprise guest appearance #1: Sarah and the previous assistant, Marianne. Hard drinking. I almost burn the hostel down but am saved from Hell by a quick-witted scout leader.

Massive bonding w/ my bosses Sean and Patsy, and two Germans, Pia and Sarah, who share my nonsensical imagination and we watch the meteor shower til 6am and I’m probably a tiny bit in love. But they never call. Everyone leaves but it’s okay.
Writing: a romance, a western, and a short called ‘The Call’, which I’ve mentioned previously on here. It had been in the works since 2009.

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Meanwhile, on Rathlin Island…

This was to be a weekly, yet so busy since I took up my post on Rathlin, along with how I’m now a writer of fiction, as my actual, legal day job. It’s been full-on laundry, pub, writing, pub, pub. For now though, you can find out what i’ve been up to through other places on the internet, starting with Jackfirecat’s livejournal, which tells of some of beautiful scenes he and I discovered.

Also, you may be interested to dkiscover…

My facebook feed
August reviews for Rathlin Hostel on Trip Advisor

I return to Belfast on Saturday, hopefully a Rathlinblog will be writ that week.

The Daniel O’ Donnell Podcast – Episode 3

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Two scatter-brained friends on the roads of County Donegal review the sights they’ve seen, and verbalise excrement as the sun shines out of their asses. In this episode, the daring duo visit Carey’s Viking House aka The Daniel O’ Donnell Hotel and sing the praises of Árainn Mhór Island. Announcing our Daniel O’ Donnell slash and viking fiction competitions. Poached eggs are on the menu and trousers must be worn over the knee!

Download (21:00)(right click and save)

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I swam with seals, this month

They just showed up, one, then another. I thought the third the same. Moira Morton and I were out in Mill Bay, a five minute walk from Rathlin’s harbour. Then there was a fourth, swimming to shore behind me. One popped up in front. That one and I decided we were too close to one another, maybe ten feet away, and took a bit of fright. I let my head bob on the waves, meeting eye level and we all smiled at one another. Yes, it was like whack-a-mole, but without the whacking. Sarah stayed on the shore and tried to grab some footage.

UPDATE: She took some beautiful photos, but not much with videos. Here’s a 6second blink-and-miss it of me swimming, Moira floating, a seal bobbing and a girl with a Tablet device in the water??

My snaps,

Rathlin July 1 Rathlin July 2

Later in McCuaig’s, a woman told me she’d been bitten on the leg. ‘They get very protective of their cubs’, she said. I spent a week out there. Day before leave, we took a trip with Damien McFaul’s ‘Miss B Haven’, which fits about 8-10, starting at 6. Damien offers a £10 trip to the stacks, Jenga chaos like pillars were birds roam with Jurassic Park style. A good spot to see puffins at the right time. He also does a £25 trip, seems expensive, but no. It’s two hours, right around the island and breath-takingly beautiful.

At Rue Point lighthouse, Rathlin East, we met a colony of twenty or so seals. Damien cut the engines. They were spread out, and we drifted in between them. Very friendly, no alarms. A few were but six feet from us.

Sean Duffield, editor of the acclaimed War: High Cost of Living graphic anthology, visits in September. We’ll be spending five days at the Rathlin hostel. It’s situated two minutes walk from the coast, close enough for an excellent view. The hostel is run by Sean and Fergus, and Sean’s wife Patsy. Built a few years ago, its open all year round. Tidy, comfortable and homely, still a bit of an awkward secret. In an unexpected turn of events, I got some drink in me and asked Sean and Patsy to consider me for the job of hostel assistant. Once they sobered up, they accepted. That’s where I’ll be spending August, my first month as a self-employed freelance author.


The Guardian picks up on Absence: a comic about epilepsy

‘Flesh Mob’ epic opens The Orb’s Tense Situations anthology

“I think it’s terrific. Really impressive. A really nice easy flow to its movements.” – David Hughes on Sea Legs, available for free on WithPaintedWords.com