Hardware and Frogs

At various times in my life I have been a full-time freelance journalist. The assignments for national newspapers have been many and varied and I have met many fascinating, and some famous, people. I have also learned rather more about hardware than I expected. I once had a column called ‘Hardware Retailer of the Month’ in a trade magazine. The regular cheque was, after all, very handy.

Assignments for a local newspaper tended to be about what is known as ‘human interest’. One woman had a pet snake who also guarded her valuables, and I also met a girl who adored frogs – she saved hundreds of them and they bred in her pond. A charming elderly lady who ran a large farm which nestled in the middle of rows of houses called her cows after characters in Gilbert and Sullivan operas. I also interviewed a man who decided not to have electricity in his house, and another who bred many exotic butterflies and moths in his front room.

It’s no wonder that some of the characters in my novels are journalists. It’s a profession that encourages you to explore life’s variety. And writing for a local paper has its own special intimate, and quirky, appeal. After all the fact that a bunch of newts have joined the other numerous amphibians in someone’s back garden is hardly going to make the national headlines.

Perhaps it should occasionally, it would certainly lighten things up.

(Shared with the kind permission of RTE Radio)

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