Category Archives: It’s all about me

Blood Drive

I’m in the car. Alone. I’m driving towards the local hospital.

I look down. There’s blood on the passenger seat beside me.

My blood.

I take a deep breath and keep driving, for what seems like forever. Other cars pass me, filled with normal people doing normal things, like listening to the radio, or picking their nose.

I’m not doing either of those.

At last I reach the end of the motorway, and there it is, my final destination. I turn left at the roundabout, past the sign that says “St Colmcille’s Hospital”, past the front entrance, and past the Accident and Emergency Department.

They cannot help me, not today.

At the very end of the hospital driveway I park, badly, because that’s all I can manage, in front of a sign that reads “Mortuary”.

I climb from the car and, with blood on my hands, go through the door next to the sign.

Could it BE any more Friday the Thirteenth?






Ok, so this morning I went to my doctor for a routine check-up and she took blood samples (that’s the kind of thing that happens when you’ve had stuff happen with your heart). She was concerned that they wouldn’t get to the hospital before the weekend and, since I don’t work on Friday, I offered to deliver them to the laboratory there, a room which is located, as it happens, beside the mortuary.



And the bad parking? Oh, I’ve never been able to park properly.


Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Hast Thou Been

I’ve not written anything for over two years now.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and apparently it flies when you aren’t.

Through 2013 and 2014 my posts were getting less and less frequent, but I was still trying. Then 2015 came along. My role at work changed, mostly because had I asked for it to. They asked me would I be interested in working for our UK Finance Department, and I said yes. This meant that my boss was now in Edinburgh, and I had to travel regularly to visit both her and our office in Lichfield.

I had 30 flights during that year. Very glamorous, very exciting, very look-at-me-I’m-a-proper-high-powered-business-executive-at-last.

Or not.

Each of these involving getting up at 3.20 a.m. to catch the 4 o’clock Aircoach, to get me to Dublin airport in time for a 6.30 flight on a tiny propeller-powered plane to Edinburgh or Birmingham. Each two-to-three day trip involved me eating dinner in Burger King in Edinburgh or McDonalds in Lichfield every evening, because I’m not the kind of person who sits alone in a restaurant. I am, however, the kind of person who sits alone in a bar, so that’s what I would do, buying a different newspaper each evening and marvelling at the blatant bias, in both directions, of the UK press.

It might all have been great if I’d owned the business, or if I’d been in sales and felt that I was achieving something, or if I really wanted to be a proper-high-powered-business-executive, but I was just an office worker with a really long commute. Add to that the fact that there were problems adapting the way I’d been doing things in our Irish office to the way they were being done in the UK, and I quickly realised that I’d made a mistake.

Well, I would have quickly realised if I’d any sense, but this is Tinman talking, so I just thought things were a bit challenging.

Then, on January 18th, 2016, I had to fly to Edinburgh, where our auditors were waiting to begin our annual audit. At 3.20 a.m. I sat up in bed, then lay back down again. I didn’t go to work for another eight weeks.

The office were great. I met with the CFO and the HR manager while I was off and we agreed that I would come back three-days-a-week, and that I would do only the payroll, the only part of my job that I believed to be really important.

So that’s what I’ve been at for the past year. I’m happier at work (I was astonished at the number of people who commented on how rested I looked, and how much colour I had in my face, when I came back, so I must have looked really shite during those last few months) and I’m slowly getting used to having four days a week off. (During my first month back I felt guilty at how little time I was spending at work, and kept thinking “how are they letting me away with this?” and then the first payday came along and  I thought “oh, that’s how, they’re paying me sod-all”).

I’ve spent the extra time off going to the gym, and reading an awful lot, concentrating on books that I’ve always wanted to read but never got round to (I got 130 pages into Ulysses, which is 80 pages more than my previous record) and every now and again I’ve sat in front of my laptop, determined to write something, and have spent two hours instead reading stuff about the Kardashians.

But slowly I’ve got back in to it, half-writing stories, or writing half-stories, never finishing anything in a way that I’m happy with, but getting the urge back.

So I’m giving it another go, not trying for every day, but just trying to get back to doing the thing that I love doing best.






Wherever It May Take Me

It’s 6.30 on a Sunday evening.

Most people are relaxing before work tomorrow, splodged in front of the TV watching something mentally untaxing, usually involving judges telling somebody that they are useless at something.

Not me, because I’m starting to write again.

So I have the TV off, and am sitting in front of the computer, looking up stuff about camels.

Blogging takes me to strange places.

Baring My Head

HeadSpace 3 (cover art by Michelle Granville)

HeadSpace 3 (cover art by Michelle Granville)

HeadSpace Magazine is a writing and art magazine based around the theme of mental health. It is published online, and also has print copies which it distributes free of charge to hospitals and support groups across Ireland and the UK. You can read more about the magazine and its aims here.

Issue No 3 is being launched tomorrow night at White Lady Art on Wellington Quay in Dublin. It features art, poems, fiction and memoir, and much to my astonishment it includes a piece I submitted about my stress-induced bout of depression in 2001 and about an incident which I regard as the start of my recovery.

Even more to my astonishment I have agreed to read this piece out at the launch. At least that proves that I am nuts.

Actually, I’m quite looking forward to the event, and I hope that the magazine gets all the publicity and attention that it deserves.

Out There

Paper Swans Issue 2

The people who run the Paper Swans website are, as they say themselves, dedicated to the support and promotion of emerging writers.

Their second iPamphlet of poetry and flash fiction was published this morning via their website and via iTunes (how cool is that) and I have two stories in it.

I’m not telling you this to show off (God, even I don’t believe that sentence) but to highlight the work they do, and also to bring them to the attention of you all, since many of you are far better writers than I am and should consider submitting work for future issues.

In the meantime, my stories are in a publication that is available via iTunes, which also features stuff by Mozart, the Beatles and Jedward.

I’m just saying.

Home Improvement

Regular readers (by which I mean people who often visit this blog, not people who have a monthly subscription to National Geographic) will have noticed that the layout has changed a number of times over the last few weeks. Like many homeowners (and this is my home, at least spiritually) feel the need to re-decorate every now and then, if only to hide the wine stains on the carpet and paint over the crayon drawings on the walls. It can be tedious explaining why, after drinking so much wine that you dropped your glass, you decided to try to draw Wonder Woman on your wall.

The advantage of re-decorating a blog is that you simply have to select a theme from among the hundreds available, and if you decide after a few days that you don’t like it you simply opt for another one. House re-decoration requires more thought, because if you find that the paint colour referred to on the tin as “Summer Sky” is in fact a leaden grey, then you are stuck with the feeling that you are living inside a submarine for the next five years.

Anyway, I’ve settled on this one. It’s brigh and has all the of the features, such as a list of all of your comments, that I like. It also has a “Follow” button (no pressure, I’m just saying) and it informs me that I have 825 followers. What number do I need to officially qualify as a cult leader?

And the photo at the top of the blog? Sorry, I haven’t figured out yet how to change it.

It’s a picture, by the way, of the en-suite of the guest bedroom in the left wing of the Tinhouse.

It’s A Fact

I did homework last night, for my creative writing course. To illustrate the difference between fact and fiction we had to write one paragraph containing three true facts and one made-up one, and then another with one true fact and three fictional ones. We then had to see if we could tell the facts from the fiction in other students.

Obviously this blog is not going to be very interesting if I simply regurgitate my homework every week for the next eight weeks, but this is the first time I’ve had to do any since 1975, so I’m making an exception here. The one true fact in the second paragraph will actually be known by anyone who’s been reading this blog for a long time, while the three true ones in the first can be determined by, well, anyone with Wikipedia…. 

One Fiction and Three Facts

Fact is indeed stranger than fiction, and people are stranger than both. For example, Admiral Nelson suffered really badly from seasickness, Ozzy Osbourne wrote the lyrics to Cliff Richard’s “Power To All Our Friends”, Lee Harvey Oswald accidently shot himself in 1957, and Beethoven used to pour iced water over his head to stimulate his brain while composing.


One Fact and Three Fictions

I am stranger than even them. At school I once sneezed so hard that I blew out one of my front teeth. I once won Man Of The Match, while playing in goal, in a soccer game in which my team were beaten 14-1. My family once moved home while I was on holiday. I have no eyebrow over my left eye, and never had.