It’s an army based on blood connection,
armed to the teeth with love and affection:
F is for family.
The older I get, the more I have come to realise that – unless they’re psychopaths, of course – you separate from your family at your peril. All the bad things that happened to me over the years seemed to happen when I was out on my own, orbiting the family like a rogue planet. And in the last few years, as all of our parents have been faltering, this huge cavalry of cousins has come riding over the hill and saved each other's skins on many occasions. And I feel connected again. It’s a blessing and a source of great strength.
I realise, too, that in losing that generation, you also lose the stories and the connections and the reasons behind them... It all goes into the void, too. So - speak to your elders, ask them to tell you their stories. I'm always reminded of the wonderful poem 'People' by the Russian poet Yevtushenko, which contains the lines: 'In any man who dies there dies with him / his first snow and kiss and fight. / It goes with him.... /... The secret worlds are not regenerated.'
Pictured above are my grandmother and grandfather, Robert and Margaret Dickson with some of their family on the Windyhill Road, between Limavady and Coleraine, sometime in the late 40s, early 50s.
Copies of the new album Ink are available from the STORE page at this website.
The album will be officially launched at the Lyric Theatre on Sunday evening, April 23rd, in a concert that will feature special guests Ciaran Lavery, Eilidh Patterson and John McCullough. Click HERE to be directed to the ticket sales page at the Lyric Theatre website.