Nollaig briste

Ireland's all doom and gloom. It's been a Christmas of stabbings, murders and other, accidental, deaths. The forecast ain't good either, with everyone bracing themselves for more pay cuts and increased taxes if not actual job losses. A blind fool can't help but notice all the closed shops, boarded up businesses. The country's fucked and no amount of Christmas cheer can hide it.
Not that it stops people trying. The Irish are a resilient bunch. Pubs remain sanctuaries, albeit quieter sanctuaries than before.
"What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death?"
As if Christmas wasn't bad enough. The best thing about Christmas is that it's a year to the next one. You can't have it any further away without moving to one of the outer planets.
Just don't expect Ireland's public transport to bring you there.
It comes to a standstill over Christmas, not just the 25th but St. Stephen's Day too. There's nothin' runnin'. Their overpriced, infrequent trains become priceless and very unfrequent indeed.
Maybe it explains why Santa didn't turn up at Mass in Ballykelly this year. He'd been there all the previous years I was, so I was full sure he'd be there again. Sure it's the only reason to go to the damned church - to help him celebrate his birthday.
The nip still got a ton of nice stuff. Jumpers, jackets, things I'd wear if only they were a little bigger. Or I a little smaller.
He enjoyed it but every day is Christmas for him. Once he gets his grub, his sleep, his arse wiped -  everything else is just turkey.
Less turkey, more puddin' I say.
"That's a weird horse."
"The one that looks like a cow?"
They're gone now, back to Berlin, leaving me to wallow in Ireland's pity for a couple more days. Time to meet pals who thought they'd forgotten me and partake in the national pastime, as we shake our heads and wonder how it all went so wrong.


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