Spring in Ireland 

Book: The Long Gaze Back, An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson

It is April and it is raining in Ireland. I am reading a short story set in the early 1900s, and the weather in April is the exact same! 

The man says of his wife, …but experience is wasted upon her. This is also the same thing my husband says of me. He laments often that I do not remember any of the past requests and previously given instructions. 

I am finding it hard to read this book as my head is still reeling with stories of tea and India. But I am making an effort to read, for there are only two more months left for the summer holidays to start. And then I would not read much, I think.

I love the Irish ways! In the story, there is a train chugging along, stopping at windswept stations, and gathering market people at leisure. I am reminded of journeys in the Eastern part of India, where sluggish trains painstakingly move up their route, stopping for all and sundry.

When an impatient English voice demands to know when the train might start moving again, the insolent answer is, ‘Well now, that’s a mystery!’

A bit later in the story the man runs out of his carriage to purchase a salmon at one of the stations! (Salmon is also a particular obsession in our house. And not just by means of eating it, mind. Some of us here watch the movie, Salmon Fishing in Yemen on repeat. It is a nice movie with parallels between fishing and faith, interesting to watch if you like either of these.)

Oh my! My family once journeyed on a train which stopped willy nilly like this. My mother even bought fish and vegetables at the market near one of the stations, and cooked them on the stove on board. 

There is a heartwarming story of an old friend from Chile coming to visit, by E M Reapy, right at the end of the book. I decided to read the book from the last, in reverse order.

I am guessing the stories in the book are arranged older to newer. And in the older stories, I am thinking the authors set their stories in England as commonly as in Ireland.

If you don’t know your roots, then you can’t understand where you are coming from.

It is thoroughly entertaining to read modern Irish stories, and find the intermingling of other world cultures into the narratives.

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