The radio announces the death notices. “Mass and funeral afterwards.”
Five women wait in silence, two on phones and the others sitting quietly.
It is too close and intense to draw people in this space.
A mother and her son enter and come to sit close behind me. It is very hard to draw without bringing attention to myself.
“We don’t know how much longer,” the radio song plays.
Peripheral vision… shoes and legs, a dark wooden coffin like table in the middle of the space.
Suspense and waiting, only the radio breaking the silence.
“I’ve got a feeling I am going to be okay” says a voice from its speaker.
The mother stands and looks out of the window.
“Okay, alright, okay”, okay, alright, okay the song continues.
A tall man enters. The waiting room is filling up.
Lady Gregory 20/03/23 6.45pm
There is a gap between activities, not enough time to go home and then come out again.
Enough time to fit in a swim if hunger and tiredness didn’t get the better of me.
Instead, I sit at a small wooden table in the corner of the dining area.
While I eat the table opposite me is occupied by a large group engaged in interesting and lively conversation. They look like they have all come from a course together.
They leave the scene and not long after two women come to sit at the table.
Their conversation is engaged, and they seem as if they don’t know each other that well. I am assuming that they too have been attending the same course.
The woman with the curly hair and glasses has a German accent and a loud voice, the other with her back to me is more quietly spoken and it is more difficult to hear her words.
“When I came here, I felt such a pull, this is Ireland. Really where I feel my life is right now.
A waiter with a loud voice, a Northern Irish accent, and a sweaty face.
“Just tea yeah? We have berry, peppermint, chamomile, green tea.”
They choose chamomile and green.
“That’s really what it feels like right, a bottle of champagne.”
What kind of workshop have they been doing I wonder!
The sound of the waiter’s voice, the thrum of music, the clatter of china.
Plates and footsteps, movement.
A red halo of light beneath my eyes, the light shining on my glass’s frames.
Chairs are being moved.
“musical chairs” says the waiter.
“Is that chair okay for you?”
“Please leave it for me yeah” says the woman with her back to me.
The waiter pays no attention to me, I am invisible in the corner.
The German woman continues,
“Something I have been thinking about, I have space that I can retreat to” ……. “So, it’s very tiny. Very, very slowly I am working my way out of that.”
It’s getting darker outside, the waiters talk to each other, but I cannot make out their words.
The imitated sound of a doorbell, ding – dong, a “thankyou”
A different waiter returns with a tray with tea. “Did you order tea yeah?”
Their conversation continues. “Just a variant from the heart”
I’m born in Hessermarhoo, now I’m closer to Frankfurt, I have two sisters and brothers.”
Car lights shine in the window.
The woman with the curly hair and glasses, “They found a partner, made a life.”
No, not a typical German and getting less typical by the moment.”
The women laugh.
“I’m on the verge of.” … “Strange people, online courses, worldwide,”
Tinkling glasses, clattering cutlery, “Just coffee?”
“self-discovery, humour” ….
A child’s voice, a beep of the till, clatters, chatters.
Only the two ladies visible opposite me. All else a soundscape.
A man enters and sits down facing the bar with a pint of Guinness.
“Just be an individual.” Says the German woman.
“Give people the choice, ………. that is something I find very sad about Germany. You have to do this, and you have to do that, don’t break the rules…………. limit your creative choices.”
“I came from a very remote area; I didn’t want to be judged. Running around the water at night. To be invisible in the crowd instead of being seen in a remote area.”
More voices. “Daddy, I like the place.”
“Oh, that’s great”.
“Soup of the day, chicken goujons, pasta, chicken or salad” The Dad’s voice reads out the menu.
Another little girl’s voice.” I want sausages on it’s own!”
The German “There was a lot of woods and greenery around me.”
Music, ice bucket.
Dad’s voice “You fell back you really hurt your hand”.
Ice bucket, laughter.
Dad: “You got a fright”
Mum: “Do you want sausages?”
“I don’t want mash, I want sausages!”
“Dad, do you know what I’m going to do?”
My attention shifts to the two women at the table across from me.
“Because it’s so true if we don’t have our safe space. “It took me a while to realise not everyone is feeling the way I do.”
Dad’s voice: “Ok so, let’s have the chips” good girl.
The sounds of a happy family, relaxed chatter, and warm laughter.
“Hey, don’t be throwing things when we are in a restaurant” he says kindly.
“Can I order for two kids one with sausages and chips and one with mash?”
Childs voice: “I don’t want chips.”
Mum’s voice: “Can I order a large wings? …...
“How hot is hot?”
Beep, beep, beep.
“I don’t like it.”
“Daddy, Darcy did this”
“Looking from the perspective of strong good energy. My moon is in Aeries which equally starts at the equinox.
Mum: “Hey, don’t do that!”
“This is the perfect workshop, that was my hope in all this.”
“On the one hand time changes” ……………… “a clock to measure it or something.”
The German woman’s words are an appropriate end point to this moment of waiting.
The whole process has been so absorbing that I find myself rushing out the door in order not to be late!
The chatter of voices.
I sit at a small table tucked into a corner; the light is dim.
Four ladies sit at the table next to me animated in conversation.
“Some of the lads are going on their own.”
“Some people don’t like travel.”
A door bangs.
Trainers walking back and forth.
A waiter with a beard and ponytail, perfect eyebrows, and a serious face.
The ladies are deep in their conversation.
“She lives across the road from me….”
The grind of the coffee machine
The door slams
“Vera would ring me on Friday, the usual.”
The hiss of milk
A woman in a red jumper passes the counter, “Thanks a million, see you later.”
The man at the small table across from me who left his paint spattered hat on the table gets up to leave.
“I sent her a text one day, Margaret would you tell your husband to……..
……………………………………………..when they go back in September.”
Six artificial miniature trees line the counter shelf beside me neatly displayed in small woven baskets.
Men’s voices, out of sight
“Do you want a glass of water?”
No thanks, I’ve drunk two pints already today.”
11.15 am Sunday 12/03/23
A bike ride to Garylands, A short wait for Chris.
A pigeons egg, a lost set of keys and my first celandine of the year.
Waiting for soup, Coole Park Cafe. A sociable morning.
Fragments of conversation, The chatter of voices.
“Some of them are….”
Voices behind me….
“Mum has a habit of when she watches a series, watches the last episode first. I do it too.”
Limerick market Saturday 11/03/23 3.00pm
Waiting to meet my daughter after work. An uncertain amount of time, suspended.
Pouring with rain.
There is so much that catches my eyes and ears here but I feel self-conscious standing around with so much activity going on.
My phone is the tool of choice in this busy context. Activity everywhere, stall holders packing up for the day.
I stand near the entrance, recording the sounds of the moment.
Gort Tyres 11.50am
Six legs visible underneath a white Hyundai, synchronized teamwork, the middle pair taking the lead, they do a little shimmy.
The sounds of electric tools. A small pair of legs in my rear-view mirror. Car on an angle, leaning sideways.
North Sea lubricants and luminous gloves, a young man with a serious face.
Metallic sounds moving up and down the scale, vibrations and echoing indecipherable voices.
Metallic clunk and vibration of steel, percussive spanner, hiss of air. I am level again.
He returns with a spanner, focused, purposeful.
9.10 A café in Oranmore.
Waiting for my daughter.
I face the till counter, a large space, there are few occupied tables, and the waitresses move swiftly. Funky music plays like the title sequence to an 80s TV show. All the staff seem to be on familiar terms with the customers. Bright lights, loud music, and nothing that sparks curiosity or wonder in me.
Leaving the café and still waiting I wander down a side road towards the castle.
It is a bright morning.
The chatter of sparrows and the trill of a small bird.
The constant hum of commuter traffic and the heavier sound of machinery nearby.
A clear sky and a man in a blue jacket. A large blue rectangular container.
A crisp light.
Oranmore castle, sitting on the end of the quay.
Low tide, the smell of seaweed, dead calm.
A father and his young son enjoy the shore.
The sound of ducks,
A lorry’s horn.
Cars on the horizon.
A splash, a ripple, a call.
Sun saturated seaweed, icy fingers.
An open view.
Waiting for Mum. Physio appointment Ballyvaughan.
I take a stroll along the shore by the quay while waiting for Mum.
The only other person is a lady and her dog.
The sound of small aero plane overhead and birdsong. The fragments of a white porcelain cup scattered amongst the rocks catch my attention. I gather them up and enjoy re arranging them into a new pattern leaving it behind for someone else to discover.
As I return, I notice a stack of lobster pots repurposed from old plastic containers. These have been left standing for some considerable time. Inside each contains a new miniature micro- environment, some with moss, new plant life, gravel, and rubbish.
The concept behind this project is focused on negative space. In drawing this is the space that surrounds an object, it is an active space and an essential part of a composition.