Bordering on the Ridiculous

So, we’ve safely arrived in Newcastle (County Down) for Christmas, which means I’m statutorily obliged to quote Percy French.

mourn mountains

“Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea”

But before we settle into our normal programme of quality control of the cafes and ice cream parlours (it is indeed December, and your point is? Morelli’s is still open), we first paid a lightning visit to some of my Dublin relatives. We thought we’d also take the opportunity on the way back to make the acquaintance in real life of Twitter celebrity, The Irish Border.

This is easier said than done. Clearly too busy tweeting to be actually present on the ground, we crossed where it should have been three times in less than a mile, with no sign of it on the ground.

It’s one thing to talk about a ‘frictionless border’ in the abstract. It’s another to realise that you can come off the dual carriageway on a slip road and cross an international border, only to recross it when coming off the roundabout – and cross it again up the road with no clue that you have done so beyond an unexpected cluster of fireworks sellers and petrol stations suggesting there might be some arbitrage opportunities to be exploited somewhere not entirely clear where in the vicinity.

I’d hoped to get a photo of the change, but we blinked and missed it, so this was the best I could do. Seriously, they make more fuss of the border between England and Scotland.

welcome to Newry, Mourne and Down

I was going to make some solemn point about the amazing changes that have taken place since the Good Friday agreement and the dangers of a return to check points and so on, but having seen what it’s currently like on the ground, all I can say is that if we think we can put a functioning border of any description between the Republic and the North, then we’re deluding ourselves. No wonder our Dublin relatives can’t seem to tear their eyes away from the impending disaster.

What an almighty cockup this all is. And a Merry Christmas to you all …

5 Responses to Bordering on the Ridiculous

  1. cyclopaul says:

    Last time we crossed the border, we didn’t notice until about 5 miles or more pertinently 8km as the only way we noticed were from the different road signs.

  2. Charles says:

    Merry christmas to you too, I envy you your sourdough success, mine is more hit and miss. In odd garden news my asparagus has started to shoot.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @cyclopaul – it was the warning that the speed limits were in mph/kmh that tipped us off
    @Charles – stuff is flowering here, ridiculously

  4. I’ve hit the like button just as an acknowledgement of having read it. So brilliantly and succinctly put. Wishing for all of us a happy and peaceful new year. Only time will tell us what it will bring. Hoping for the best, bracing all the same.

  5. […] this is probably the first time I’ve ever crossed a state line on foot although I have walked across an international border that’s getting more contentious by the minute while the other half has walked across an […]

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