The day started strangely for those who believe in omens and the like . I was listening to Jude and Malachi O’Doherty talking on the radio  about the Scappaticci programme on television the night previously  , hair still damp from my morning shower. I was sipping down my customary pot of Punjana when there was a whirring kerfuffle in the kitchen which wakened me sharply from my reverie. I’d left the kitchen  door open to take in some of that rare sunshine and June air and a young starling had flown into the room  and was panicking as it attempted to flee for the open blue  but was stymied by the glazier’s skill. As it crashed against the window pane , I hoped it wouldn’t kill itself in panic.Luckily I was able to quickly get a hand towel from the  shower room and without too much ado wrapped the frightened youngster loosely before releasing it  to the freedom of the skies. It was dispatched as easily as I’d hived that second swarm of honeybees a couple of days ago . Now, that’s unusual and it’s an odd start to the day.

There are many superstitions about wild birds flying into the house , much as magpies were “One for sorrow , two for  joy, three for a girl and four for a boy” but  I’m not one for any of that.The wife , though…that’s another matter entirely. “That’s supposed to be bad luck isn’t it?”.” Yep” , I replied ,”just as  it ‘s good luck if the same wee beggar shits on your head”. They really have all the bases covered , these wee feathered avians. Good and bad luck is their gift, it seems.Apparently in days of yore , death closely followed the presence of a bird in the home , so all you budgie- lovers better watch your step.Of course all the wife was really worried about was the state the wee fellow had left her windows in . She did a quick inspection , wondering why the window -cleaner was so late this month, anyway.I ‘d already checked for guano and stray feathers before she’d entered the room in any case.

So what was the television programme all about , then? Well…not a whole lot really .These things never are .What we all want is some grand expose that will go to the heart of the corrupt governments of the past , but  what we always get is re-hashed puffery ,the bones of which  we all already know anyway. No great revelations .No political or military  Jimmy Savile’s  exposed for their chicanery;just the same old stuff that you might know because there was some talk about it years ago in the local versions of the Sunday red-tops…and even then you’re probably thinking that most of it is made up to fill some space for the Sunday grazers.The likes of Jimmy Savile are expendable.

I’m always reminded that years ago an old acquaintance, just getting into journalism,  did a big “expose” for the “Sunday World ” or “Sunday Life” about prostitution in Newry or some such place . He’d never been near Newry in his life but he blagged out the requisite number of words to satisfy an editor  and a willing girlfriend dressed up for the photos, looking suitably sluttish with , of course a black redacting strip across her eyes to preserve anonymity. I’m sceptical enough , but that little squib  put the tin hat on it for me .Take everything you read or see with a pinch of salt.

I really mostly don’t actually expect anything to come of these  political and security revelations . Remember the DUP’s Red Sky Scandal? What happened ?…Nothing.We all know it was a crock  but that’s about all we’ll ever get . If our own wee Norneverland politicians  have immunity from acts of chicanery you’d hardly expect a  UK government with all that power in its hands to tell us anything that will reflect poorly on the established order of things ….now would you? This leaking bateau is not for sinking.

The politicians in Norneverland are struggling just like that wee starling in my kitchen.They’re in a cage of their own making , of course, held in perpetual stasis by the community’s fears. Is there some new way we can release them. A hand towel will not suffice , methinks.


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