It’s a small world after all

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Here I am in Dublin, my home town and a traditional place of refuge when I feel that life in North Grenville is getting a bit too hectic and stressful. But what I am finding is that the world has shrunk and there is no escape from the day-to-day issues and concerns. Did you know that climate change is happening all over the world, and not just in Canada? It’s true!

People here in Ireland are also complaining that the rain is falling more than it ever did, and floods and heavy winds are getting more common as the years pass. Now, Ireland has depended on rainfall to maintain its famous forty shades of green (made famous by Johnny Cash in the early 1960’s when he helped create Irish Tourism). But enough is enough. You might want a good quantity of rain to make sure tourists have something beautiful to photograph (aside, of course, from the Irish people themselves, who are naturally a tourist attraction in their own right).

But what you don’t want is tourists stuck in their hotel rooms because the road out of town has been washed away. You certainly don’t want them stuck in their huge tourist buses filling the roads as they try and take pictures out of windows covered in condensation.

In fact, while climate change may be stalking the world, Ireland’s climate is still extremely temperate, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. Newspaper headlines were warning of “arctic conditions”, because the overnight temperature was going to drop to -3! Crisis! People were warned in urgent terms to cover their outdoor plants and shrubs because there was a real danger of frost overnight. I was called urgently to the window this morning to see the frost on the rooftops. I had to hurry to see the sight before it disappeared with the rising sun. Given what was hitting North Grenville on that same Friday, I realised that climate change means different things to different people, and I found myself repeating in my head: “You don’t have to shovel rain”.

But it’s also the specific issues that you can’t seem to escape, even here. Last night, on the main Irish chat show, there was Sean Spicer, one-time Trump Press Secretary, explaining that, as an Irish-American Catholic, he had to forgive Trump all his sins and continue lying in public on the President’s behalf. Surreal. He seemed surprised that the audience didn’t seem sympathetic to his position. You could almost hear him thinking: “But they have to love me, I’m Irish-American and a Catholic!” Ah, poor Sean, times have changed in Ireland, and even the American President can no longer be assured of an uncritical welcome.

That same night, there was news on the television that Trump had decided not to visit the UK after all. He was expected to open the new US Embassy in London, but he claims that he didn’t approve of the deal that gave the US the new site, claimed he would have been able to get a better site at a better price. Of course he could, and his decision had nothing to do with the fact that any visit by him would result in large-scale protests on the streets of London, etc.

Canada made it into the news too! Naturally, it was all explained over a series of pictures of Justin Trudeau, who seems to have replaced John F. Kennedy as Ireland’s favourite world leader. Naturally, this story also included Trump (what major story doesn’t these days?) The news was that Justin had suddenly announced a state of war with the Trump regime: Canada was taking the US to a world trade court, complaining of American unfair trade actions, not only against Canada, but all over the world. Canada: protector of world trade against the demon Trump. Makes for an interesting story, and sudden reversal of Canada’s apparently cosy relationship with the United States of Trump. We’ll be endorsing Oprah for President in no time at all.

Time to finish my pint and head out into the darkening skies of Dublin to walk by the centuries old buildings and get back in time to watch the football. It’s a hard life.

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