We went up country to get a part for one of our smallholding machines the other day. A 398 miles (can't work in Kilometres at my age) round trip via good roads, bad roads, country lanes and toll motorways. The road surfaces on the toll motorways are excellent. The roads signs in the Republic of Ireland are in Kilometres and the motorways are more like dual carriage ways with only 2 lanes. There also pretty quiet. They remind me of old new reel clippage of when the M1 opened in England in the sixties.
Any road. We walked round Tullow while they made us a new cable and I spotted this butchers with a fantastic USP. The animals in the window were a delight to see and somebody had obviously gone to a lot of trouble putting on such a display. I noticed 2 German supermarkets had moved into town recently and quite a few of the local shops in the high street were closed or seemed to be closing down. I suppose like so much of rural businesses in Ireland they are dying or on their last legs. When will the recession ever end?
We often go in the cut price supermarkets ourselves and I think that price seems to be more important than loyalty or perhaps even quality. Day to day living in the UK and Ireland is far too expensive compared to countries like Poland and Portugal which I have visited twice each in the last few years. You can get a pint (large glass)of lager in the Algarve for 2 Euros. You can pay five Euros or more in Ireland. How much is a pint of beer in Egnland these days?
On the way home we travelled via Wexford and found ourselves at a toll booth. We paid the 3 Euros forty toll and a lovely English lady said:
"Thank you very much. Good bye and God bless and have a safe journey home."
On the return to West Cork we stopped outside Cork at a petrol station. There were 2 Police vehicles with 'armed response unit' painted on the cars liveries. We thought:
"Hey up. It's a siege or a stick up!"
The good wife filled up the pick up with 20 Euros of diesel and went to pay the cashier. I looked up to the cafe/restaraunt windows over the petrol station. The boys in blue looked to being having:
"A nice cup of tea."
We stopped in Ballineen at the Lantern chip shop. We bought our selves a large portion of chips (two forks) for 3 Euros twenty between us. I am sure they gave us five pounds of chips. Not bad hey. A day out and a slap up meal for two.