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We were going to drive up the Antrim coast today, which would have been pleasant, but John wasn’t feeling up to driving and I started feeling sicker and sicker. I ended up curled up on the couch for most of the day, with a brief foray into town. We were going to see a movie with Bek’s friend T, but it was sold out, so we had coffee, then some chips, then a real Irish pub experience at Aunty Annie’s (a venue I’d heard a lot about – it’s the gang’s favourite hang I think). We came back to the house so I could nap and they could drink cocktails and play Wii. I surfaced briefly to lose at bowling. Feeling very ordinary indeed…probably not much of a surprise given that I hadn’t been 100% before coming on holidays, and I’ve been much more active than I normally am on any given day.

One thing we saw today that was interesting was when we went to pick T up. She lives in a normal looking street, and at the end of the street is a mural, featuring a pair of balaclava-ed men pointing machine guns at the viewer. It’s both banal in its setting and horrifying in its content. T said that on the 12th of July, during the marches, there is usually a bonfire in her street, which is more annoying than anything because it ruins the asphalt and takes the council months to fix (a process that gets repeated every year). “One thing that’s handy, though, is if you want to get rid of anything you just leave it out in the street and someone will chuck it on the bonfire.” I commented it was the Irish version of a council cleanup, which she thought amusing.

But then, as mum said, while she’s worrying about me wandering around in a city renowned for violence and unrest, some man gets murdered in a pub down the road from where we live and work in Sydney. Nowhere’s safe, really. There’s just an illusion of safety.