Francis MacManus short story podcasts

Several people have asked me to post the link to the podcast of my shortlisted Francis MacManus story, The Books, they cry. Before I do, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their support and interest – it helps make all this writing worthwhile.

The thought that someone may listen to the story and find something in it that resonates, delights, or inspires. The idea that it may give someone a few minutes of pleasure or food for thought – it’s a wonderful feeling. One I can’t describe.

For me, the experience was an exciting one. It allowed me to distance myself from the words and hear them as a story, rather than something I’d written. It gave me the chance to hear how the story could be read aloud, and I got the opportunity to pick up on how another reader might visualise the events and characters.

Finally, listening to my story confirmed my suspicion that the two stories I was hoping to submit to other competitions this week aren’t ready. They need to sit for a while and mature. For however long it takes.

The podcasts to all the shortlisted Francis MacManus stories are available here: please, listen to some of the other stories as well as my own – there’s some beautiful, funny and engaging work waiting to be discovered. Happy listening!

Bees do have a smell, you know…

Summer is upon us – clear skies, soaring temperatures, vegetable plants blossoming (or bolting, if you’re unlucky like we have been with our spinach) and the mackerel are starting to come into shore.

What I love most about summer is the bustle. The days are long and there’s so much to do when you’re living rurally, there’s a certain magic to the season, an extra bit of pep. My favourite quote about summer sums it up pretty nicely:

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Inevitable, this extra bustle requires extra effort on my part, so I’m reducing my blog posts to once a fortnight until the hay, animals and vegetables are happy and well. Hopefully, you won’t mind! And just in case, here are a few summery photos to put a smile on your face…

summertime in rural west cork

Taking hay to the island by punt

grow your own cabbage - it's delicious!

Early cabbage – survived the caterpillars (just)

water safety - wear your life jacket!

Always time for fishing if the conditions are right (life jacket not optional)

Shrimp pots, west cork

Make sure your shrimp pots are weighted enough!

Fishing boat, photo taken from the sea

Nice to see the big fishing boats in

Franklyn at sea

And everyone loves a seadog!

red and black moths, west cork

Look out for these gorgeous creatures – a bit extra summer colour