STORMS AT SEA AND RADIO 4

Because I live on a hill I have a great view but it also means it’s continuously windy and when it’s stormy, like it was last night, the whole house tends to rattle. I like the sound of the wind, there is something otherworldly about it. Sometimes its speaks to me of far away places, at other times it seems like all the voices of people gone before us and somehow I find this comforting.

I suppose I would not find it so comforting if I was out on the side of a hill, or worse in a boat. From here I can see the lights of fishing boats far out on the sea.  Last night as I lay in bed I could only hope that there was no-one out there, neither boats nor the brave crew of the Waterford SAR chopper, the much cherished Rescue 117.

This is the month for storms, for lives lost at sea.  It is 5 years since the Pere Charles of Dunmore East went down with the loss of 5 lives. The same night, January 12th, two were lost from the Honey Dew 2 off Ardmore. No bodies were found.

When the Pere Charles went down I remember my neighbour telling me that back in the day if a boat went down whole communities would be out for days on all the shores within range searching for bodies washed up. It doesn’t happen now. Maybe our rescue services are better. Or maybe we have lost sight of each other.

Today there are few boats on the water saving a passenger ferry or two. I can see this on the marvellous AIS the marine traffic website which shows the positions of vessels in the worlds oceans in real time. Looking at it again the ferry The Isle of Inishfree out of Rosslare has disappeared, a glitch I hope. It can’t be a pleasant crossing.

Last night I couldn’t sleep, a combination of a the creaking joints of the house and the fact I have just spent a week in bed so I found myself up at 1am taping closed a loose panel in the bathroom with gaffer tape and listening to Al Pacino being interviewed on Radio 4.

BBC Radio 4 is something else I find comforting maybe because I spent the first years of my life in the UK. Whatever the content the presenters sound like they are all sitting in wingback chairs dressed in tweeds or floral dresses and smiling kindly from a world where nothing ever goes wrong. Ah childhood.

Finally I fell asleep to the sound of tiles moving around on the roof and the not dissimilar sound of Pacinos voice explaining his obsession with Oscar Wildes Salome.

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