Brexit is on everyone’s lips in Ireland. When people hear my English accent they quickly want to know what I think of the whole sorry mess, and how it will impact this country. The Northern Ireland border is much on their minds. It links directly to concern about the Good Friday agreement and to the unification of Ireland.

More importantly, in my view, I can see how Ireland is not just the same as the UK — in a different location. They make speak English, but this country’s preoccupations are quite different from the UK’s. Currently, Ireland is talking about the border issue, abortion, about the housing shortage, and hurling, a game like hockey off the ground.

Caught speeding

I got a speeding fine for doing 70 on a road that’s a motorway in all but name. 70 mph, that is. My car and I are apparently geared to the speed limit in Britain. But this is Ireland, and the limit was 100 kph. That’s only 62 mph.

So yesterday I drove at 100 kph (62 mph) and was passed by most of the other cars, some racing by at about 90 mph. So it seems I was just unlucky to get caught by the camera,

Took up gardening

The house I live in now has never before been owner-occupied. Only tenants. The gardens, front and back, have therefore never had flowers — just patches of grass laced with weeds and moss.

Recently I decided to take up gardening, so I dug a flower bed in the back garden for sweetpeas, and a second one in the front, along the edge of the driveway and planted three rows of flowers: Alyssum along the edges for their honeysuckle-like scent, red salvia alternating with pink and brown begonias, and orange marigolds. Finally, I added a  bed for roses and fuschias.

Considering what terrible soil I had to begin with, the results have been quite astonishing! I put it down to the tomato feed I poured every second watering. Too early to claim green fingers, though.

No free lunch

It’s a truism, but you get what you paid for.

On Facebook there’s been a flood of offers of free watches. You just pay the postage. The photos of the watches are really seductive, so I ordered one. I paid the €13 or so for postage and packing, and waited a couple of weeks.

The watch arrived today. And guess what? It’s not worth the money! Superficially attractive, it’s lightweight, with dials that do not work and a fake bezel. You wouldn’t give it to one of your children. But I think I’ll give it to the next homeless person I see in Dublin.

And Finally…

Went to a Toastmasters meeting in Dublin, last evening. At the start of the meeting, they announced a change to the programme — one of the scheduled speakers could not make it, so there would be only three ‘prepared speeches’.

I scribbled a note to the Toastmaster, offering to fill the slot with an impromptu speech, and was accepted. The speech went well and I received plenty of positive feedback from the audience. But the award for Best Speech went to someone else, to everyone’s surprise.

That’s often the way in Toastmasters.