The Sharkey family are off on their biennial foreign jolly tomorrow. We've chosen Trieste, because (a) the Joyces lived there, (b) the coffee's supposed to be good and (c) Ryanair were doing flights for tuppence return. Literally.
The last time we went abroad was to Barcelona, February 2004. I thought then that I was out of the depressive illness that had had me in its jaws for more than a year. But I was a year away from relief, and there were dangerous times ahead. Looking back, I can begin to understand it all - the reach of events, their power to shake a weakling tree until it hangs and twists in any old wind. In my case there was my son's birth, then my father's death months later, August 2003. To a person long disposed to depression and self-abasement, these twin markers down the road of his life were baleful and shocking.
Where I am now, just a bit further down the track, looking around, I can honestly say, for the first time in many a while, I like it here.
In the morning, I'm leaving on a jet-plane. But I know when I'll be back again - Saturday. See you then (unless I find a place to post in Trieste...)