Fleeing February

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There’s no eloquent way to say it:

This winter has sucked.

We’ve slogged through record-breaking, frigid temperatures; snow; sleet; freezing rain… and the many fabulous byproducts of these conditions — flooding, power outages, frozen pipes, frozen water troughs, frozen tractor parts, frozen gator engine, frozen truck battery….

…. and the worst mud I’ve ever seen in these-here parts.

There’s no solution except to flee the scene. Which I plan to execute in a matter of hours.

Unfortunately, my escape plan involves a locale that’s equally rain-sodden and buried in muck:

Ireland.

Irish winters are categorically gloomy and wet but this particular year, the UK (and its Irish neighbor) are experiencing the worst winter in 250 years. Rain, gale winds, massive flooding and freezing temps.

Frankly, I don’t care. It may be mucky, but it’s someone else’s muck.

And this trip is a bit of a homecoming.

Kilcolgan

Home sweet home

Several years ago, I spent three winters in the west of Ireland — all told, about six months — with my friend, Karen. We fox hunted, thrust ourselves in village life, tore around the countryside, hosted crazy parties, cracked up cars and racked up all sorts of trouble. In 15 years we’ve grown up, and mellowed with responsibility. But we’re looking forward to a reunion. And I can’t wait to see the village, to park by a peat fire, to fill the coal bins, and smell the damp of the weir.

Me and Whiskey.2

Hunting “Whiskey,” back in the day

 

Karen has warned me that things have changed. The village shops have been replaced by big-box supermarkets. The “crack” [ie, conversations in the pubs] (editor’s correction: spelled “craic”) is drowned out by TVs and cellphones. And the two-laned Limerick road, once cluttered with cows and farmers on bicycles, has been replaced by a high-speed motorway.

But I have to believe that Kilcolgan and the other villages that fringe the West still cling to some remoteness….

…I assume this, based on the items I’ve been requested to bring. They include: Heinz relish, Advil, B&N baked beans, Victoria Secret’s underwear, riding boots and Thomas’ English Muffins. (Haven’t these people heard of Amazon?).

No matter. Years ago, these folks helped me steal — and export — a wrought-iron road sign. It was quite the heist.

A can of beans is a small price to pay.

the sign

 

Reports from Ireland posted when possible….

Post script: As I posted this, my flight was canceled — I assume, due to the many snags related to the recent winter snowstorm. New reservation, in the works…