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Wednesday, 20 May 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #33 – 20 May 1890

Around 20 May, 1890, Anton Chekhov travelled from Moscow to Tomsk, a place he deplored.  His journey was not always a comfortable one, as he indicated in a letter:

“I’ve been hungry as a horse all the way.  I filled my belly with bread in order to stop thinking of turbot, asparagus and suchlike.  I even dreamt of buckwheat kasha.  I dreamt of it for hours on end.  I bought some sausage for the journey in Tyumen, if you can call it a sausage.  When you bit into it, the smell was just like going into a stable at the precise moment the coachmen are removing their foot bindings; when I started chewing it, my teeth felt as if they had caught hold of a dog’s tail smeared with tar. Ugh!  I made two attempts to eat it and then threw it away.” 

Anton Chekhov

Source: A Journey to the End of the Russian Empire

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