My sister Úna as a child, with John's hat and a fish and Rory, the dog
The final proofs of my novel You are gone back to the publisher as of half an hour ago. I'm quietly delighted. I spent all day yesterday with them, roaming around my homeplace in Mill Lane in Palmerstown in west Dublin, which is where the novel is set. I laughed and I cried re-reading the book and all I can hope for, I guess, is that my readers do the same.
While working on the proofs yesterday I got a phonecall to say my uncle John had died. John is my Ma's brother and, like both of my parents, he was born and bred in Mill Lane. He was self-taught at all the things he was good at and interested in: fishing, boating, shooting, fixing vintage cars, drawing, collecting. John had a mischievous streak but he was basically a kind person, old-fashioned in his ways. With his hobbies and interests, he made my childhood down by the river in Mill Lane richer and I thank him for that. John was always very interested in my writing, urging me to try to get stories on BBC radio, which he loved to listen to. I think he would have gotten a kick out of the novel being set in our homeplace. He had a peaceful death, in the company of his brother and sisters. Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.