Nothing to do and all day to do it

imageYou’d think having no work for the summer would be conducive to writing. But unstructured days lead to unstructured thoughts, and the weeks go by, sweet and slow. The laptop stays closed; the camera uncharged.

A few trips, of course. The midlands, the west of Ireland. And a return to Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands.

I love islands; left my comfortable life in America to return to the one I was born on. I’ve been happy ever since.

But Ireland, small as it is, seems big at times, and the impulse to retreat asserts itself.  Sometimes that retreat is to an island off the west coast. Wild and rugged, it hurls itself at visitors like an Atlantic storm. A weekend visit can leave me exhausted, exposed. Exhilarated.

This year’s trip is long overdue.

Meanwhile, I managed to spend some time on a different island, in a different country. My visit to Jersey was a gentler affair:  lazy days and cocktails, mostly.

No writing, definitely.

My friend Roy blogs about the island over at Back on the Rock. Roy writes about the island’s history, explores its parishes, and posts photos and slide shows of this lovely corner of the world. He does a much better job of conveying the island’s beauty than I ever could, and his blog is well worth a visit.

Jersey, along with the other Channel Islands, was occupied by Germany during the Second World War. If you’re interested in history and searching for an enjoyable read, have a look at The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. It’s a lovely, skilful novel that’s charming and funny, poignant and sad. It’s hard not to be captivated by it.

Like island life,  really.

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12 thoughts on “Nothing to do and all day to do it

  1. Ah thank you Aileen, I’m delighted you enjoyed your Jersey trip. Of course your photography leaves mine in the shade. I’ve read that the Guernsey book takes a few liberties with the facts but there’s no denying how popular it has been.

    • Hi Roy, I always enjoy my trips to Jersey! It’s a fantastic place – beautiful and friendly. I didn’t bring a camera this time – just my phone, so wasn’t sure how the photos would turn out. Pretty happy with the results! I imagine there were a few liberties taken with the book. It’s always difficult to get the balance right between storytelling and accuracy. But overall I think the writer(s) do a good job. (Worth reading the afterward too, to see how the final edition of the novel came about. A story in itself!)

  2. Hi Aileen, a lovely soothing post.
    Please assure me that your header pic is of the view over Kilmurrin on the Copper Coast. If it isn’t, I’ll have to go see this identical twin of a place I adore.

    • Hi Jean, thanks for stopping by. The photo was taken on the Copper Coast a few years ago, so I’ll take your word that it’s Kilmurrin. Well spotted! That whole area is stunning – why is it not celebrated as much as the Wild Atlantic Way?

      • Hi Aileen, I know the area so well it just had to be it. I agree it is every bit as stunning as the WAW. We are now part of Ireland’s Ancient East so the coastal aspects have been cast aside a bit. I must say, I think we should be part of the WAW.

  3. So nice to meet you (and your blog) thanks to Roy. I love learning about Jersey via Roy’s posts. I grew up in NEW Jersey, and know that I would love the island of Jersey. The photos are spectacular. I read the Guernsey book quite a while ago and loved every word. It is beautifully written.

    • Hi Pamela, glad you stopped by! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m back in Jersey for another few days! I’ll have to go back to my real life eventually, but for now I’m chilling out, watching the tide come in from my bedroom window and listening to the gulls calling outside. Bliss!

    • Thanks Zambian Lady! It’s easy to take good photos when the scenery is so lovely. Sadly, my long lazy days are coming to an end. September just around the corner. Back to work time!

  4. I’m glad you reminded me of the Potato Peel book. I think I listened to it on my commute but I miss a lot listening and not reading the text. I think I’ll put it on my reading list. I went through yet another big box of old cards and letters my mom had saved. That inspired me again to write something based on some of the letters. I like the way this book used that idea of correspondence, and that the protagonist wanted to write something important, not just something to make cash from on a topic that doesn’t interest her. I always enjoy your posts.

    • Hi Kay, I remember you talking about a project based on those letters. It’s a great idea – you seem to have a real treasure trove on your hands. The Potato Peel book is definitely worth a read – even if you’ve already heard it. It’s written entirely in the form of letters, not always easy to do. But the writer pulls it off with style. Maybe it’ll be just the inspiration you need for your own project? Thanks for reading the blog. It’s been on the back burner for a bit for various reasons, but I’m hoping to get back to it more regularly soon. Don’t know how you keep so many projects on the go!

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