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'I was never in love again after Nuala,' admits Nell

Robbed of her eyesight by a stroke, Nell McCafferty waits out lockdown without books - but with her memories, writes Donal Lynch

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CRUEL TWIST: Nell McCafferty has lost the second love of her life — reading — after she was left blind after a stroke. Picture: Mark Condren

CRUEL TWIST: Nell McCafferty has lost the second love of her life — reading — after she was left blind after a stroke. Picture: Mark Condren

CRUEL TWIST: Nell McCafferty has lost the second love of her life — reading — after she was left blind after a stroke. Picture: Mark Condren

There is a beautiful Bogside phrase Nell McCafferty's late mother used to describe inconsolable grief: "Wild sad". It comes to mind when Nell tells me she's just lost the second great love of her life: reading. A stroke took almost all her sight last year and now she waits out the long weeks of lockdown without a book.

It is a life, she says, that is at times "excruciatingly lonely and silent".

She tries to talk to Alexa but it doesn't understand her Derry lilt. She gets the home helps to read her the paper and she teaches them English at the same time.