Never mind all this going to Italy from the armchair (and I am so looking forward to that reading holiday through August,) when I really should have been concentrating more on the fact that today, thanks to the Irish Tourist Board, I am flying to Dublin again, this time to be in the city for Bloomsday on June 16th, tomorrow.
Excited?? Hell yes I should say so.
I've been revisiting Team Ulysses and my copy of the book in readiness, and to my surprise it is still as fresh and vibrant in my mind as it was last year, so I am really looking forward to seeing how Dublin marks this day of all days and I think it will be pretty amazing.
My copy of the book now full of postcards and pictures from my last trip, and this visit I have a little more time so I'm hoping to get to Sandymount and I will be doing one of the organised James Joyce walks too. I've been invited to a quiz night, themed questions on Dublin 1904, so I may not exactly be an asset to the team that gets lumbered with me. I'm also looking forward to a session at The Flying Book Club entitled 'Feel the Fear and Read it Anyway!' ...a guide through reading Ulysses. I'm still unlikely to be an asset but at least, thanks to Team Ulysses, I'll know what the talk is about. As on every trip I try to catch up with some of you too so I am hoping to meet Brenda in or near the wool shop she very kindly told me about after my last visit.
To get in the Dublin mood I've also been dipping into W.B.Yeats & George Yeats The Letters and if the book didn't weigh as much as my entire packed bag I'd be taking it with me. The twenty-two years of correspondence between Mr & Mrs in a beauteous new edition from OUP. From homes in Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares Dobbs kept 'Willie's irons hot in Dublin' while he travelled, wrote, networked, earned money on lecture tours and wrote home to ask for things like a spare vest or some money in the bank account. The little details that I love to find in letters, the everyday in amongst the creative genius.
If my technology holds up you won't miss out ...if it fails then I'll catch up when I get home.
I have travel reading sorted too. I have almost finished James Cain's Mildred Pierce on my Kindle and have skimmed but not read an article this weekend, about Kate Winslett's recent role in the TV dramatisation of the book (and heaven knows how we get to see it on Sky Atlantic on June 25th... America I think you are getting it first on HBO??) so I'm keen to tie up all the loose ends on that and will write more soon.
Plus I will be sharing more about some of the authors I hope to be meeting in the dovegreyreader tent at the Port Eliot Festival in the coming weeks, but suffice to say this week I am concentrating very hard on the writing of Gillian Slovo, with her memoir Every Secret Thing and her novel Black Orchids. Both so good that I will have to break my 'travel light' rule and take the books with me. Fortunately I have read Ice Road or that would have severely tested the baggage strategy.
But how sad is this, all these years that Plymouth has had an airport, sixty to be exact and I have never used it until today because they never seem to have flights to where I want to go, so we trek up to Exeter or even further up to Bristol. I can't be the only one because through lack of use Plymouth City Airport is closing down later this year and suddenly I'm going to miss it.
We drive right past the runways on our way into Plymouth, always enjoy seeing a plane taking off in front of us (we don't get out much) and soon it will be gone, and once more Plymouth becomes that isolated outpost that's a little to far west for shops like Habitat or Ikea to consider. But at least I'm going to get today's aerial view of the city we've lived in or near since 1976 and on my way to Dublin and Bloomsday 2011.