This time last year, my sister and I were in a very snowy, very icy Ireland. I remember it well, as we’d gone out there for some memorial ceremonies related to the Irish War of Independence, which our great-grandfather had fought in (after originally fighting for the British in WWI). I have been researching this period of history for a while, as I would like one day to write a book based on the period. I am also massively in love with Ireland as a place, so I never turn down the opportunity to go there if I’m able. We had a great time and it was fairly emotional. Our hosts, John and Margaret had arranged for us to speak to people in the village where our Irish ancestors had lived and had also cleaned up the family grave for us.
The visit was remarkable for another reason- it was the weekend that Ireland had had to ask the IMF for a bail-out. We heard TDs talking about how the problem would be solved, heard people saying how the people who had fought for independence from the British would be turning in their graves at the thought that Ireland could no longer provide for itself.
We almost got snowed in at the house we were staying at, until John drove us, very skilfully, down tiny rural roads, just in time for the baggage check. When I expressed anxiety that we were going to miss the plane, the security man was typically laid back. “You’ll be fine!” he said, cheerfully, as he went through my bag. We got to the gate about thirty seconds before it opened. When we got back to the UK, it became apparent that the snow had followed us over. I didn’t work at all that week because of bad conditions.
Now I look at the world a mere fifty-two weeks later. We’re having unseasonably warm weather for November (which, I’d like to add, I’m not in favour of. I want to be bundled up in knitwear constantly from Hallowe’en to my birthday in March. Any less than this and I’m short changed.)
The problems faced by Ireland at the end of last year have rippled into bigger countries, making more of a stir, with constant fear of recession, of a massive financial meltdown. Ireland has become almost insignificant on the daily news bulletins that concern themselves with such matters. Last year, they were a massive problem.
And whilst I will be working some days this week, I won’t be working a full week due to the public sector strikes on Wednesday (although that is a post for another day, perhaps.)
It’s amazing how what seem to be little changes seem enormous when you really think about them, isn’t it?