9:10 pm: A Chinese Restaurant, Kilkenny
I may regret this but I’m so hungry. I’ve ordered sweet and sour chicken – it’s like battered and fried balls of chicken in the usual flouro sauce. It’s Ireland: I had the choice of rice or chips.
Being here, in Kilkenny, is becoming normal. I run into familiar people on the street. I know my way around town really well. After a couple of months on the road, of being someplace new every day, every hour, this is nice – this being of a place and part of a community.
I slept in this morning and woke to find Jim practicing in the loungeroom, for his gig tonight. I booked my bus ticket from Dublin to Belfast but failed to do the same for the train on to Derry because Northern Irish Rail’s website is shit.
Jim and I drove into Kilkenny. While he was looking for parking I spotted Cornelia at the Gourmet Café so I jumped out to see her. She was just off – I had a sandwich and coffee and solved a crossword challenge two blokes were having – by changing ‘interior’ to ‘internal’.
I was stuck in the queue as Jim began playing in the Luminarium but Mali, our friend with the crew there, spotted me and brought me in the back door.
It was a mighty strange gig but Jim enjoyed himself – he should have had an amp as the sound just didn’t carry. He played mandolin and guitar. Cornelia was there for a time. And a lot of children. Unrestrained small children.
Mali said, “The Irish have so many children.” Jim played Say Your Prayers and I sang along, tunelessly, as I do. It turns out one of my favourite songs he plays is Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. I’d heard him do it many times before but hadn’t realised it was a cover. It’s really calming and lovely.
Walking back to the Gourmet we passed a group of kids tossing a hurling ball around in the castle grounds, among them a Sudanese teenager as agile and fluid with his hurly as any of his paler skinned mates. It was beautiful.
I helped out around town this afternoon and caught part of The Gloaming’s show at the Cathedral. Amazing music played to a packed house.