I've just been away for a long weekend in Northern Ireland. I went to see my bigger daughter, who's doing a PhD at Queen's, and she took me, and a group of family friends, on a grand (as they say in Belfast) trip around her city and its outside world.
Belfast was pretty good for a mind-whale. There are legends and there's history. The Titanic, the murals, Giants' Causeway, a dodgy rope bridge (not very dodgy at all, actually), trying to follow the boat race on an iPhone as we drove back across Ireland, hunting for chitons under rocks on the beach, watching the birds that nest on sheer cliffs, hoping to see puffins (but not - never mind, I've already written about puffins). Then there were all the anecdotes from the other members of our party. From one, I learned how virologists trap samples of whale sneeze to test whether they can get flu. They can. But I'm not going to tell you how to trap a whale sneeze as I really *must* use that in a book!
Whales ahoy! (Oh, perhaps I should go to Wales...)
Anne Rooney also blogs as Stroppy Author
Latest book - The Colours of the Day in Daughters of Time, edited by Mary Hoffman, Templar, March 2014