A Belfast Triptich by Oonah V Joslin

Renowned Hospitality

“Ogh aye. Come on, on away in. I know what it’s like myself. Just put them bags down anywhere, sure. Would you’s like a wee cuppa tea while you’re here? Naw, prabably nat!

"Still yous’ll sit down?"

“You’re very kind."

“Think nathin’ of it! Haven’t I walked the whole cut here myself and had tae lave me bags at the battam in case I wet myself? It’s inhuman, so it is."

On the stair wall was Sacred Heart of Jesus.
My sister afterwards remarked,

“Thon wee woman never even asked if we wanted a catholic pee or a protestant one!"

Sunday Dinner

“Do you know how to make gravy, Oonah?"


“Mine’s aye lumpy."

Mrs. Mac. had had three sherries and was on a large glass of red wine.

“Well, if you know where things is..."

She took the bottle with her. He was late in.
“Who are you?" asked the policeman, placing his gun on the kitchen table.

“A friend of Isobel’s. You must be her brother, Keith?"

“For my sins."

“Is that you Keith?" Mrs. Mac. reappeared.

“Yous two’ve met, then?" she said. “Aye."

She raised her glass to eye level. “Well! Yo ho ho an’ a battle a rom!"


The coffee bar was full. Every table taken. Tea, coffee, cakes and religion was all that was on offer but half way up the Shankhill on a Saturday night, that was the high life.

“So," he says. “So, you’re nat bad lukkin for a protestant."

A black cross hung on a leather thong around his neck. He was sitting that close, I could feel a knife in his pocket. “And you’re a student, so you are? What’re you studying?"

“French," I say.

“We’re from the Falls, so we are. There’s fuck all to do there, you know? Fancy a date?"


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