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Karen Bies

2018-06-27 14:25 — Dublin, Ireland

Belmullet #1 McDonnells

She had been cleaning the house, but then the builder and the painter came once more, so now it is dusty again and it smells like paint. Her hand pats the new counter bar in the kitchen. Arlene is pleased with the redecoration. The house, owned by the cultural center Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet, is being used sometimes for one night, by an artist who is performing there. But for the first time it will be inhabited for a long time. By me. Two months I can stay here writing on my book. The luxury of a house by the sea, the ocean even. Having all the time of the world. What else could I want? Two things: a bed and a bucket. I'm as sick as a parrot.  

First by plane to Dublin, then the train journey of four hours to Ballina. On the way, green meadows with sheep and cows. Power lines criss-cross connecting farms to each other. A landscape like in Belgium, but fresher and more boring. In the train a Father is giving out religious charms. I talk to a man who is writing in a notebook. He tells me he working on his first book and he treats me to blackberries. 

So far, it is very good. But then the bus trip, through mountains and valleys and from one Irish village after another, with a driver saying he wants to hear the football match between Mayo and Tipperary, that was the last straw. I'm sick when I get off the bus in front of McDonnells pub, where I will meet Arlene. A man is outside having a smoke and says ‘Keep calm lov’ and take a beer’. Trying not to throw up the currant buns from Aldegea and the blackberries from Dublin on the pavements of Belmullet, it seems to me not a good first impression for a writer a residence. 

Arlene is caring like a mother. She pulls the fridge open. 'Look, I've put some ham in it, and eggs and sausages and a few rolls. You must be hungry.’  I say ‘Thank you very much.’ 

When she's gone, I'm in the bathroom on time. Then the shower doesn’t get warm and I cannot lock the front door. I go to bed and think of what Arlene said also: 'Do not worry. Criminals have never heard of Belmullet.'