Ramblings in Ireland
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At least it was meant to be a memoir. Or a diary of a walking holiday my husband Bertrand and I had in Ireland. I tried to tell that story but I tend to go off at tangents. Something in a story reminds me of another story and there I go.
This book does have descriptions of the walks that we went on although they didn’t always take us where we wanted to go. My stories are not always direct either. This isn’t a walking guide but the walks are all real. We did them, and so could you, although I wouldn’t use this book to do so.
Walking around Ireland was a great opportunity for Bertrand and I to get to know each other again. It has been a long time since we managed to get away, just we two. It amazed me just how much of each other’s childhood and growing up there was to explore.
Though I was born in England I’ve lived in France for years. I am used to the cultural differences. The trip to Ireland was a chance for Bertrand to discover for himself the joys of another culture, another way of life. He loved the Irish people, the food, the countryside — and most importantly, the Guinness.
There is a lovely French expression “il ne perd pas le nord.” Literally this means “he doesn’t lose the north.” It means someone who knows exactly what they want and where they are going. They are focused on their target and don’t lose track of it.
That doesn’t describe me at all.
I can’t read maps. They always seem to be printed the wrong way up. I can turn them the right way but then the names of places are sideways or upside down. I never know which way is north. Bertrand does, and he knows how to read a compass. Makes you wonder why he trusts me to navigate. Maybe he likes getting lost.
It annoys my daughter when we are talking about something and get stuck on a word. Bertrand gets out his French encyclopaedia and I get out the English one. Then we look it up and discuss its usage and history, which seems to her to take ages. She has to bring us back to the story, which was more interesting than the word. Sometimes she doesn’t wait, but shrugs and leaves us with our encyclopaedias.
I can get bogged down with grammar too. I can spend hours researching when to use “many” instead of “a lot of” in positive phrases or how many tenses you can use to make conditional sentences. Luckily my job allows me to correct other people’s vocabulary and grammar, otherwise I would lose all my friends! As so many professionals do, I spend my working day telling people how to perform to a standard I rarely achieve for myself outside the office. It’s almost like word blindness; I simply don’t see my own mistakes.
Life feels quite a lot like that, really.