Saturday, 16 September 2017

Love is enough

Last weekend, the European Heritage Open Days saw me touring the back roads of East Antrim in the Micra. My first objective was Pogue's Entry in Antrim itself. The tiny cottage preserved here was the home of the barefoot child Alex who grew up to be Dr Alexander Irvine, student at Oxford and Yale, marine, minister, missionary and author.

He's most famous here for his novel, "My Lady of the Chimney Corner". Disgracefully, I hadn't read it. I was able to remedy my lack in this online reader - a nice facsimile of an early edition.

The parallels between his family and my own (and so many ordinary families from the North of this era) are enough to make it fascinating. Famine, true love, poverty, faith and education are recurring themes. He presents the dialogue in what feels now a rather patronising attempt at a literal reproduction of an Antrim accent - but it's still a touching story. It has a sense of authenticity, resonant descriptions of ordinary things and the sort of phrases that lodge in the truthful parts of your mind.

The soda bread was fantastic too.

"We live at the bottom of the world where every hope has a headstone."

"How cud a machine make a boot, Anna?"

"There were few whole pieces on the dresser."

"Love is enough, Jamie."

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