When Una and Ana-Marie and Simon and I decided to go to the Open Day at the Irish Writers’ Centre, we knew we’d have a wizard time. Simon said we were just a dog called Timmy short of an Enid Blyton-style adventure. Not that we had a mystery to solve or a secret passage to discover, but, oh! the lure of the open road and the exciting things that were sure to follow. We knew there’d be lashings of tea and coffee (if not so much ginger beer) awaiting us.
We stopped at the charming cafe in the Hugh Lane art gallery next door and Ana-Marie, naughty girl that she is, put salt in her coffee. Not deliberately, you understand. Ana-Marie is certainly old enough to know the difference between sugar and salt, but perhaps mummy forgot to teach her that lesson. So, with a mouth full of salt and no ginger beer to wash it away, we went next door to the Writers’ Centre.
The staff were very happy to see us. “You’re the Kells Writers’ Group!” they cried. “Hurrah!” We pointed out we were just a small number of the members, but agreed that we were represented enough to allow the Hurrah! to stand.
After more tea and coffee (Ana-Marie decided to pass this time), we went upstairs to the very top floor without the aid of lifts, oxygen masks, or flasks of brandy — sorry, ginger beer — to attend a class on poetry writing given by the charming and talented Yvonne Cullen. We had a wizard time learning to take our pulse and write a verse with the same rhythm. My pulse beat in iambic pentameter which means, obviously, I am a poet at heart.
Simon was particularly pleased with the class and decided he’d stop writing his stories in which people are murdered in quite non-Blytonesque horrible fashion, and instead write poems… in which people are murdered in horrible fashion.
Una and I celebrated the class by quoting Leonard Cohen to one another. Gosh, did we laugh to share Lenny’s cheery and upbeat verses!
Next up came the novel fair information session with Anthony Glavin, a former judge of the competition. Way back when the novel fair was inaugurated, I was one of the winners. How splendid to see so many other people hoping for their own chance to be discovered.
The last session was a Presentation on Professional Development offering information on the services and resources that the Irish Writers’ Centre can offer professional writers. This was a very grown up session covering topics like mentorship and facilitation and taxes. We all listened carefully and asked lots of good questions as befits well-behaved students.
At last, our lovely day at the Centre came to an end and we agreed we’d learned lots, met some splendid people, and had a wizard time, though Simon needed a stiff whisky (and ginger beer) to help him recover from the drive through Dublin. Ana-Marie promised him a special treat in his tuck box for being such a good chap. Simon said he hoped it wasn’t another dead mouse. Oh, how we laughed.
We managed to untangle our route out of Dublin. The streets are properly mangled, what with the new tram lines being laid and bus routes being disrupted. Una said it will all look jolly pretty when it’s done and Ana-Marie said, “I don’t give a shit, I want to go home.”
“Language!” exclaimed Simon.
“Piss off!” said Ana-Marie, and she tossed his tuck box right out the window.