30th April 2016

0430aCanvassing is harder work than cycling, according to my calf muscles this evening.  Not every house has a drive this steep, but in Enniskillen, we’re rarely on entirely flat ground.  Fortunately the reception from potential Green voters is enough to keep our spirits high.

We were fortunate this afternoon to be joined by Micheál and Eamonn Callaghan from across the border in Monaghan.  Micheál was the Green Party candidate for Cavan-Monaghan in the recent general election in the Irish Republic, and Geoff and I travelled down in February to help them canvass in Castleblaney, as recounted here. Our weather this afternoon started off woeful in comparison, but it gradually improved, until by five o’clock I was forced to abandon my trademark green coat.

0430This evening my feet were just about capable of taking me five minutes down the hill to the Horseshoe & Saddlers, whose wine list and vegetarian menu comprised the perfect recuperation.  It turned out that I wasn’t the only Fermanagh & South Tyrone candidate to think so, for within fifteen minutes Rosemary Barton of the UUP arrived, also weary after a day’s pounding the roads of Lisbellaw.  It’s not the first time that we have shared the pub with the Ulster Unionists: last year, during the final stages of the Westminster election, while we were enjoying our pub quiz upstairs, Tom Elliott was sitting in the bar.  It was good to see Rosemary, whom I haven’t met since last year, as Alastair Patterson has been representing the UUP at local hustings, and a welcome reminder that, for our political differences, we have much in common.

8th April 2016

A good time was had by all (except poor Rory stuck on the 261 bus for over seven hours) at our Table Quiz at Horseshoe & Saddlers. Many thanks to Norman and all the staff, Geoff our quizzical quizmaster, and everyone who came along.  I, as the marker, was so busy that I forgot to take any photographs – sorry.

1st May

Just back from our local Green Party fundraising quiz at the Horseshoe & Saddlers – great fun and lots of support from brilliant friends, family, friends of family, family of friends, and their friends in turn.  Here’s the winning team, analysing their victory (well, all but Andrew, who is perusing the blurb from my first novel which he has just won in the raffle).  Many thanks to all, especially Geoff and Fiona.


29th April



Off the election pages, and onto the real news ones today!  The four of us in the photo are all members of the Fermanagh & South Tyrone Green Party.  Here’s the full article, from the Fermanagh Herald.



Today was the deadline for informing the electoral office of our counting agents; that is the people who are authorised to come along to the count.  It seems to have taken all day, and was rather stressful, so my account of Monday’s fracking hustings will have to wait a little longer, I’m afraid.

Meanwhile I’ve been collecting prizes for our fundraising pub quiz on Friday – do come along if you’re in the neighbourhood!

1st March

A few photographs from last night’s celebrations:

Fermanagh Green Party members Karen and Janie.
Young Greens Claire, Rory, Aidan and Michasia.
Young Greens Claire, Rory, Aidan and Michasia.
Fermanagh and Tyrone frack-free campaigners
Fermanagh and Tyrone frack-free campaigners
Fermanagh farmer John with Greens John and Fiona
Fermanagh farmer John with Greens John and Fiona
Lots of great conversations. In the centre of the photo are GPNI chair Jenny Muir and West Tyrone Parliamentary candidate Ciaran McClean.

And today:

Martin with climate scientist Ian Totterdell of the Hadley Centre.
Martin with our friend from college days, climate scientist Ian Totterdell of the Hadley Centre.
And lunch at our local, the Horseshoe & Saddlers.
And lunch at our local, the Horseshoe & Saddlers.

14th February

0214No energy left to say very much today, except that the long journey to Bangor and back for a Green Party NI meeting was well worth while, I’ve got some interesting books from the charity shops of Botanic Avenue, including Simon Jenkins’ Thatcher & Sons which quotes her as saying “Once you have been a [Parliamentary] candidate, everything else palls”, and that M and I had an excellent dinner and bottle of wine at Horseshoe & Saddlers back in Enniskillen.

27th October

1027Still slightly buzzing after last night’s fantastic screening of the fracking documentary film Unearthed, followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director Jolynn Minnaar.   It says a great deal about her passion, commitment and stamina that she’s travelling with the film to venues large and small (last night’s was in Cleenish Parish Hall in rural Bellanaleck) and answering questions late into the night with apparently inexhaustible energy, intelligence and good humour.  I won’t say much about the film itself, as I don’t want to spoil it before you all get the chance to see it, but it is professional, moving and wise.  Crucially, she identifies the two key means by which the public are misled about fracking: non-disclosure agreements which gag its victims and deliberate ambiguities over the meaning of the term ‘hydraulic fracturing’.  Furthermore, she makes the essential connections, as does Naomi Klein (and Green Party policy) between fracking, climate change, democratic failures and the absence of investment, research and action on sustainable forms of energy creation. As she says, we are at a crossroads, which is a daunting, but also an exciting place to be, giving us the opportunity to change the world not only for ourselves, but for all the generations to come.  I asked a couple of questions, mainly about how we could help the frack-free struggles in South Africa and Botswana, and we spoke briefly at the end of the evening about the ways in which creative and political action can complement one another in this vital campaign.


Today has been a chance to catch up on everything else that needed doing, including getting the washing machine fixed, and enjoying a great lunch at the Horseshoe & Saddlers in Enniskillen, where we have our local Green Party meetings.  Tomorrow I’m back in (local) medialand, being interviewed and photographed by the Impartial Reporter.  At least I’ll have something clean to wear….