242.

It's off to ‘The Ole Country,’ that’s Ireland to you and I, for a long weekend, Friday to Monday. A couple of friends were to join me Saturday morning, leaving me to kick about on my tod awhile.
My hire-car was the kind that cuts out its engine when stopped at lights or a junction, most disconcerting, have I stalled again for the umpteenth time? Someone’s going to beep me now whilst I change back to neutral, put on the handbrake, turn the key and take the handbrake off again, but no, I simply took my foot off the brake and the engine fired up again! Can’t be good for the battery, I thought to myself.
Talking of cars, I was away camping a few months ago and needed to borrow a friend’s car to drive into the local village; it was a very shiny Porsche convertible. Time was, I’d have loved racing down a country lane in a fast car, but at my age...I don't think so! I felt a right twit, even worse, I felt like I was ‘Jeremy Clarkson,’ as I drove sheepishly through the village streets.  
It was my 4th trip abroad this year (a friend has done twenty-four so far); I’m making up for being a lazy arse the last few years. I know travel broadens the mind because, whenever I arrive at my destination I ask myself why I do it more often, I’ve no excuse, I've few commitments.
Ireland is a bloody expensive place, though not as expensive as Dublin. And like Scotland, its beautiful greenery can be credited partly to the drizzling rain, as much as its ability to resist a pathological urge to build on anything resembling a square foot of dirt.
In all fairness, it did only rain the once we were there…enough rain to make up for the two days it didn’t.
Cork is the second city of Ireland, with a vibrant student population and a busker on every street corner (and a church), confirming its reputation as a musical place. People here seem to sing at the drop of a hat, a scarf, a glove even.
I occupied myself visiting the neighbourhood bars in search of the ‘Craic’ i.e. a good old sing along, for later that evening. I had difficulty finding a good eatery and ended up at an Indian restaurant. Believe me, I did try to find an Irish restaurant serving local fare; my curry was disappointingly mediocre.
I discovered 3 pubs that had live music. In each of them, it started like this; first, a few musicians and singer would gather in a corner starting a kindling of a session, these are joined by a steady trickle of other musician’s arriving with their instruments (guitar, ukulele, harmonica, whistle, bodhran) fanning the flame even more. 
The potent mixture of alcohol and music seduce, it takes hold as the rest of the bar become involved, it’s organic, amusing, a great thing to behold. Come the end of the evening, the room has turned into a roaring fire of a Craic, as people dancing about it.
The evening my friends arrived, I took them along to a bar where, slyly, they mentioned I was a musician, 5 minutes later the landlord stood in front of me brandishing two guitars, ‘Here, dat one's for you and dis one's for me, what'll yea be drinking now?’ The following night it was the same, the more I sang the more the drinks kept coming; I think we left about 2am, I can’t quite remember?
Next year’s itinerary (all planets being aligned) looks like this…
Amsterdam: revisit the breathtakingly beautiful tulip and hyacinth fields; I planted over 400 tulip and daffodil bulbs in my garden last week.San Francisco: stopping off via New Orleans on my way home for a few days.France (Pons): via Bordeaux to stay with friends.France (Cassis): a small-unspoilt seaside town, to loaf around the quayside bars and restaurants, eating flappingly fresh seafood all weekend. Spain (Alcantara): a winter sunshine fix and to visit friends.Spain (Bunol): ‘La Tomatina’ to participate in the annual carnage tomato fight.Oh, and there’s a slim chance I may join up with friends for a week, as they ride across America doing Route 66.
I think that’s quite enough for 2018, don’t you?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <br> <object> <embed> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.
Your Ad Here