The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, August 19, 2006

beware the old self pity

Woke troubled by niggling regrets.
That old gag.
I'm in the wrong place. It's all over. What's the point. Etc etc.
Particularly etc etc.
Afternooned with the Lildebeest in Newbridge.
I was hatching a coffee while she read The Sun. A shadow fell across our table.
"Do you mind if I join you?" said a hardy looking chap in sunglasses.
I looked at him warily enough. Then recognition dawned.
"Ronnie Taylor," sez I. "As I live and breathe."
Ron was an old school mate. Along with Mugs Martin he'd been my best pal. We were the three musketeers. I was the pacifist one. Interestingly both himself and Mugs now hold high ranking positions in various armies of the west. Ron is a bit more secretive about his. Because it's British Special Forces.
That just slipped out.
But they've both got careers.
And what have I got?
Ah pass the violins...
Anyhoo, down sat my old friend.
The Mammy began to chat to him amiably enough. I was still wallowing in self pity and not up to much chat even with an old friend. So the Mammy held the fort. Their conversation was fascinating in a way. She was asking him all sorts of questions. And Ron was lying to her like it was going out of fashion.
"Where are you living now?" sez the Mammy.
"Southampton," sez Ron.
I stifled a guffaw.
I wanted to say: "More like Holy Loch Top Secret Submarine Base in Scotland," but I held my whisht.
Presently Ron made his excuses and left.
The Mammy leaned across the table.
"Did you see him lying about Southampton?" she exclaimed. "I'd say he's never even been there. He was just squirming more and more at everything I asked him. And he no more knew anything about Southampton than I do."
I explained to her Ron's position, and that Brit intelligence recommends to their Irish members not to advertise their real addresses.
The Mammy was moderately fascinated.
"I wonder was he in Iraq," she mused.
"He'll swear he wasn't," I told her bleakly. "Which means he definitely was."
Back in Kilcullen we strolled down main street.
Frank Mitchell the dog warden let a shout at me as we passed.
"I hear you're seeing things again," sez he cheerfully. "Can you not tell the difference between a few kiddies balloons and UFO's?"
I asked him to wait a minute while I ducked over to the car, retrieved one of my DVD's of the aliens, and proffered it up.
"Have a look at that Frank," sez I, "and then come back and talk to me about the balloons."
"Am I going to have to pay for this?" he demanded.
"No," I told him, "at the moment I can barely even give the damn things away."
Lil and me wandered on.
From the flower shop John Joe Dowling gave us a cheery wave. The Mammy disappeared inside to order flowers for my sister in law Jackie's wedding anniversary. At Eilis Philips' hairdressing salon, the proprietor emerged for a brief discussion with the Mammy about life in general. I waited moodily for them to finish. Eilis said: "How are the aliens James?" The direness of my mood was getting harder to maintain.
A little further on, outside the vegetable shop, Pat Wixtead grabbed my arm.
"James," she said. "You don't know me but I know you. My niece wants your phone number. She's after seeing something she thinks might be your lights in the sky."
"When did she see it?" I asked.
"Last Tuesday," sez Pat.
I was rather enthused for a moment. That would make a third confirmed sighting.
As we walked on I turned to the Mammy.
"Meeting those four," sez I, "is the best reminder I could get of what living here is all about. Sometimes I forget just how good it is here."
The lady known as Lil agreed.
"I probably haven't been at my best today," I told her cautiously.
"No you haven't," she shot back.
"Okay," sez I. "For the next month I'm not going to complain about anything you ask me to do. For a full month whatever you want done I'll look after it."
"Alright," said the Liller.
"So, what do you think?" sez I.
"I think it's going to be a good month," quoth she.

Friday, August 18, 2006

apologia pro atheismus mea

me and the ghost of charlie darwin
on a day of rain and wild wind
staring from the windows of mount carmel
at the gulls riding high in ecstasy

now sez i to charlie darwin
look at that creature rejoice
riding high on rain and wild wind
and tell me there's no majesty in existence

sez he to me
there isn't

Thursday, August 17, 2006

sancti innocentes

Wandering down main street Kilcullen on a warm August afternoon.
The Mammy is with me on her way to robbing the post office.
Collecting her old age pension, she calls it.
It comes to the same thing really.
Outside Berney's pharmacy I detach myself from her arm.
"Hang on a minute," sez I. "There's something I've been meaning to do."
At this point gentle travellers of the internet, I should tell you that my cousin John has recently become manager at Berney's pharmacy. A friend of mine known as Colers, has just been appointed dispensing chemist at the same pharmacy.
They've been due a royal visit from the mighty Heelers for some time.
The shop is fairly crowded when I enter.
Legend has it that since the 1960's you can walk into any pharmacy in the English speaking world, ask for "something for the weekend," and be discretely handed a package containing condoms.
I think it's about time we put this one to the test.
Colers is behind the counter.
"Colers," I cry warmly, shouldering my way forward. "I need something for the weekend."
I stand there expectantly.
Colers appears a tad nonplussed.
"You'll have to be more specific," sez he.
I grin broadly.
"Give me half a dozen condoms," I proclaim in a voice that could raise the dead.
Heads turn.
"On second thoughts make that a dozen," I bellow. "I'm feeling lucky."
This is my exit line.
I do not hang around to have my bluff called.
Rejoining the Lildebeest in the street, I find her counting her ill gotten gains.
"Come on," sez I. "Let's go for a coffee."
I have the aspect and gait of one who is tremendously pleased with himself.
Truly I am a man of simple pleasures.

A BIT IRISH (by Medbh Gillard and James Healy)

"It's far from condoms you were reared, young lad..."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

we win

Thank you to all those who contacted the Indian embassy in Dublin about the recently imposed restrictions on access to blogs.
The restrictions were in response to the terrorist murders on the trains in Mumbai.
The restrictions included a blanket ban on access to the blogger service.
Our mutual friend Chamki, a native of Mumbai, now reports that this access has been restored.
Well done one and all.
Sometimes the good guys win.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

enigma variations

Just to recap...
On Friday 23 June at 2.20am myself and my father filmed a series of white lights in the sky to the east of the town of Kilcullen. The lights were stationary. They appeared in various permutations. The most we saw was eight.
Many people in the towns of Naas, Athy and Kilcullen reported seeing the lights.
On Tuesday 25 July at 10.45pm my father received a phonecall from businesswoman Nessa Dunlea. She said she had seen lights minutes earlier as she drove home, that seemed similar to what I had reported in the newspaper. Myself and my father went to the window but saw nothing.
At 11pm after Nessa rang off, myself and my father again saw the lights from our house. They were located in the same patch of sky as the previous sighting. I thought they were brighter. We did not manage to film them. I went into the field at the back of our house and took one picture which shows a red light. I was more excited by this second sighting in July than by the June sighting even though my experience of the second sighting only lasted five minutes. This was because I had never expected to see them again. The most I saw the second time was four.
On Wednesday 26 July at 11.45pm, a day after the second sighting, myself and my father witnessed a light phenomena, again in the same patch of sky. This was different from the previous sightings but also quite distinctive. There were no orbs of light. Only a block of continuous luminosity seemingly stretching for miles.
At the time my father was convinced this sighting was related to the previous phenomena we had witnessed.
Subsequently my father concluded that the luminosity was not a proper sighting, and was explainable as a weather phenomenon.
I have not concluded this. I consider the luminosity to be a potential third sighting. I filmed it on video.

For completeness I will mention two other incidents. Soon after the first sighting a framed photograph fell off the piano at home and smashed on the ground as I passed it.
Just a week ago I was showing the DVD version of the first sighting to friends in Dublin. (Giovanna and Mareen the sexy German.) While we watched it a collection of books and cooking utensils fell off a shelf in the adjoining kitchen. This shelf was in full view. None of us were near it. We were all sitting down.
I do not believe the falling items have anything to do with the lights phenomena or the supernatural. I mention them only to keep the record complete.

Yesterday Sunday 13 August I received an email from a senior military man in the Irish army. He said he believed he had an explanation for the lights. His explanation was that the lights were parachute flares used by the Irish army during manoevres. He suggested the distance between us and the flares might explain the apparent motionless state of the lights.
This afternoon Monday 14 August I phoned Brigadier Berrigan. I asked him had he heard the theory that the lights were flares. He said he had. I asked him did he think it was possible. He refused to answer. I said: "I know over the course of your military career you've seen every parachute flare known to man. I know you already have an opinion whether our lights could be military flares. I just want to hear you say it."
Brigadier Berrigan refused to comment further on the lights.

the lights of july

the lights of june

the photo that launched a thousand theories

...helicopters? balloons?
...the northern lights? parachute flares?

Monday, August 14, 2006

heelers heals the western schism

Coffee with Lu Yi in the downstairs cafe on Grafton Street.
My friend is a daughter of communist China.
Thoroughly modern though in the western sense.
Today she is wearing a figure hugging blouse, a short skirt and black boots. This rather simple but striking style means our language exchange will last three hours instead of the scheduled one hour.
I have a weakness for aesthetics.
The day is bright and breezy with traces of rain. The cafe is full.
Somewhere over the course of a very pleasant morning, Lu Yi begins to ask me about religion.
She tells me she does not believe in any religion and considers Jesus a fictional character in a story.
"No," sez I. "He's real. He is alive now."
Lu Yi smiles.
"Where is he then?" quoth she.
I am delighted. Firstly by her honesty. Secondly that I don't feel threatened by her question. I answer it with a personal anecdote.
"Once I was with a lady who was dying in hospital," quoth me. "I felt abandoned by God. I said out loud: Where are you Jesus? At that moment I felt him looking at the lady through my eyes. Actually there. Looking and seeing through me. It was the most incredible thing I've ever experienced."
My daughter of China seemed not overly impressed.
"Did the lady get better?" she asked with a most perceptive directness.
"No," I told her. "She died."
"Okay," said Lu Yi. "Why didn't God answer your prayers?"
"I'm his servant," I told her. "He's not my servant."
We were silent for a few moments. It wasn't awkward. It was a good silence.
"There's something I've been wondering," Lu Yi said presently. "What is the difference between Catholic and Protestant?"
I thought for a bit.
"I can think of a few key differences," I told her. "The Protestants tend to know the Bible better than we do. Traditionally they did anyway. It's something they taught us really. Protestants also tend to be a bit less interested in having authority figures in their churches. I suppose a big difference is that we recognise the Pope as a kind of boss. Then there's a big difference in the idea in Catholicism that the bread we eat during worship truly becomes Jesus."
My oriental companion put a hand on my arm to restrain me.
"You believe the bread is Jesus?" she said with some bemusement.
"It becomes Jesus," I explained. "But only if you really believe it. We call it communion. In Catholicism it means an actual oneness with God."
"And if I buy bread in the shop," sez she. "And if I take it home. And if I really believe..."
I shook my head.
"No," I said. "There is a ceremony commemorating the last meal of Jesus. This ceremony is part of communion. No. Only during this ceremony, and only if those taking part believe, only then does the bread change. But your idea of buying bread and bringing it home is not far off from the Catholic point of view. There is a tradition in our faith that anyone anywhere can simply ask God for communion, and it will happen, without bread or ceremony, or anything else."
"Protestants don't believe this?" asked Lu Yi.
"Most don't believe about the bread," I answered. Then a thought struck me. "But that's not really such a huge difference between us either, because a great many Catholics do not believe in communion themselves. It is the final and most difficult part of our faith. But now that I think of it, well, it's not really what divides us from the Protestants."
She looked at me with her cool assessive stare.
"What is it then?" she said. "You've mentioned a different way of looking at the Bible. You've mentioned the Pope. You've mentioned communion. But I can tell you don't think those are the real reasons. What is the real reason?"
I looked but no longer saw Lu Yi.
"I think we just stopped liking each other," I said softly. "I don't think the theological arguments are really what divided us in the first place, and I don't think they kept us apart."
Time ran into treacle.
In the crowded cafe I was alone.
"None of it matters," I murmured. "We just need to become friends again."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A BIT IRISH (by Medbh Gillard and James Healy)

"Grrr, Ireland's greatest living poet having to bring out the bin, mutter, mutter, mutter."