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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

Meet Peat Bog

Who says a rolling stone gathers no moss?  A tumbling human certainly does!  Well, twigs and leaves and bugs, anyway.  Out with the dogs the other day, I twisted my ankle and fell.  Fortunately I ducked and rolled, so only the ankle is hurt - sprained, I'm afraid.  But there's only room for one gimp in this house so I've had to just pretend it didn't happen and get on with it!  I must have looked quite precious coming home covered in fauna.  Quite literally dragged through a hedge backwards.  Naturally the dogs thought it was a wonderful new game and jumped enthusiastically all over me, whilst I emulated my father with a string of curse words that would make a sailor blush.

Before that happened I went on a shopping trip to the big city, hey!  (Pronounced over here as the 'beg setty').  Belfast-bound I decided to buy a couple of new outfits now that I'm down another size.  Things have changed so much since I lived there.  They actually have a covered parking lot!  And public toilets.  That work.  I chose two big stores to visit, the English based Marks and Spencers, and the Irish Dunnes Stores.  There were plenty of choices for the teenagers and the pensioners, (senior citizens), but nothing for anyone in between.  I finally found a couple of lovely voile shirts in the teenagers' section, determined to find something, 

I grew up about two hundred yards from where that shopping complex is.  Back then it was a quiet area with a school, hotel, and modest grocery store.  The school's still there, but the hotel's been bombed and leveled... a furniture discount store stands there, now.  What used to be a field where we spent many summers is now built up with cardboard-looking houses.  Our street was on a hill overlooking the valley of Belfast, but with all the new building you couldn't see anything now.  I remember when the IRA blew up that hotel.  A few years ago I was visiting a couple of friends in Belfast and they asked me where I'd like to go for a drink.  I said, "The Drumkeen Hotel - I haven't been in it since it was rebuilt."  Without a word they drove me there and I found nothing but leveled ground.  The IRA had bombed it again and the owners didn't bother to rebuild it.  Who can blame them?

Father is doing much, much better, physically and mentally.  I've been here for a month, can you believe it?  So that's a month since his surgery.  He can walk without his crutches and I take him out with the dogs for a short walk every afternoon.  (He doesn't wear a collar, though!)

My best friend, Scotty, comes to stay next Monday.  We've been friends for 14 years, now.  We met in Portland when I was acting in the Lakewood Community Theater production of Relatively Speaking by (Alan Ayckbourn?) - Scott was the light and sound engineer.  We discovered we had a love of Star Trek in common and quickly became friends.  He's gay and that means I have the best of both worlds... a man's perspective and a girlfriend all wrapped into one!  This will be the first time he's seen Northern Ireland in the summertime.  Usually it's the depths of winter and barren and freezing.  I know we're going to have a total blast at Worldcon in Scotland.  I really need a vacation after this nursing lark, and after Worldcon we're going up to see my brother and sister-in-law in Inverness.  That's Steve and Moya who visited here earlier this month. 

To cheer myself up I had a beauty wrap and massage at the local day spa.  It's very different from what I'm used to in Portland, but it was wonderful.  The girl who 'did' me was prone to the Northern Irish manic monologue, but kept quiet during the massage.  Used to a seaweed wrap I was startled when she produced a peat bog mixture and slapped it over my body.  For once I had the ebony skin I've always wanted!  She then gave a totally killer massage and I was putty in her hands.  Afterward we got into a conversation about angels and shared incidents in our lives where during crises anonymous people had turned up and helped us, then disappeared without a trace.  Then the girl perched herself on the treatment table, gently pushing my legs to the side and produced a pack of cards.  I first thought they were Tarot, but they were angel cards.  She had me pick three and then gave me a reading.  Apparently good things are ahead for me.  <grin>  How sweet of her, though!


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