I have not yet opened my eyes but already know the weather is good due to the morning chorus of the birds outside my window. I slowly peel myself from the bed and make my way downstairs. Mum is in the kitchen on a rant about farmers and the government as Killarney National Park is still on fire.
I have not wolfed down my breakfast and the lads are at the door wanting a kick about. I quickly get dressed and dash outside. There is warmth in the sun and we play until we hear the jingle of the ice-cream van. I run inside to plead with mum. She is listening to her favourite podcast doing laundry he is speaking about a car made by Henry Ford in the 1940s that is completely environmentally friendly made from hemp. Why have we continued to destroy our planet for all these years so? She gives in on the ice-cream front even though it’s before lunch and says we might bring a picnic and do lunch beside the river later . We are lying on the grass slurping our cones when a crow flies down and lands on the soccer ball .The ball begins to roll and the crow stumbles off it .We get a proper belly laugh from that. The crow caws loudly as if disgusted with us before flying away.
Mum calls me shortly after and we head for a picnic by the river. We have brought the Toby wagon to fill with kindling from the ash wood we have to go through to get to the river. My brother is pretending to be a T-Rex which has people smiling and laughing I wonder at what age do you stop getting away with that sort of thing .I don’t think they would smile or laugh if I was pretending to be one.
As we approach the river I spot a red squirrel scamper up a Scots pine. There are wild flowers beginning to show themselves .We settle ourselves on an old tree branch and some rocks .After lunch we fill our jerseys and tops with pinecones and race them down the river. Mum and Odie screech with delight. Odie and I dam a little side stream before mum says we best start making our way back there is a dark dirty cloud heading our way. We quickly gather some kindling from the forest floor. Odie says his legs have stopped working so I tell him to lie on top of the kindling and I will ferry him home on top of the Toby wagon. We wander back over the viaduct home there is talk of dad making fish and chips for dinner. Odie roars look a rainbow lets follow it and find the gold .His legs must be working again I comment . Bob Marley Three Little Birds is blaring from one of the apartments close by. Life is good.
“This story, with its unusually sophisticated sensibility, impresses the reader as properly literary in a way one would not expect in the work of such a young writer. The voice is fantastic. The stunning first paragraph moves seamlessly from the secure position of a child, waking to pleasant weather, to the family (“Mum is in the kitchen on a rant”), to the nation (“Killarney National Park is still on fire”). As with the introductory paragraph, the shape of the story as a whole is elegant, owing to the connection between the opening allusion to “the morning chorus of the birds outside my window,” and the final detail, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” blaring from a nearby apartment.
— Prof. Margot Backus, University of Houston, USA