I'm just back from a rapid trip to Mayo, having gone down to stock up on some proper firewood (ash, whitethorn and the like) and, yes, a few bags of turf while I was at it. Coming back with the car stuffed to the gills with fuel and, bearing in mind all the emissions I must have generated on the 282.5 miles round-trip (down last night, back this morning), I feel like I have a carbon footprint the size of a yeti. At this rate, I'll have Bronwen Maher and her tree-hugging chums on my case. In my defence, the wood was all thinnings that had to be cut anyway and, honestly Guard, I do my bit of composting, recycling and tomato growing and the like. But . . . I know, I know, the few sods are what clinches it. I hope Santie has some carbon credits in his bag for me.
I went down via Athlone last night, with the sort-of motorway now stretching all the way to Kilbeggan and, from the little I could see of the earthworks further on, it looks as if it'll be motorway all the way to the other side of Athlone soon enough. That will mean that Knockroghery will be the first town you hit on the way to Mayo coming from Dublin - no doubt Brendan Shine will want to commemorate this little nugget with a verse or two.
Coming back this morning, I decided to take the alternative N5 route, which was a bad idea as it was littered with roadworks. Nobody might have shouted stop on the John Healy Road, but they sure did around the airport, in Tulsk, in Ballinalack and in various other places too. And what is it with these medieval roads in Roscommon? (And, indeed, medieval drivers - fuck me, if you get stuck behind someone with an RN reg, you've had it). It's not just their county team that's in need of an overhaul, I can tell you.
The Off The Ball lads on NewsTalk made for good company on the way down in the dark last night (the podcast of the interview they had on last night's programme with David Feherty is worth a listen) but when that got a bit dull, I switched to the CD and the excellent Amy McDonald, whose tuneful offerings were, I found, best enjoyed with the sound turned waaaaaaaaaaaaay up. I usually do night-time cross-country treks with the wife and childers (and, sadly, no turf) on board and so don't normally have this kind of latitude in terms of volume or, come to think of it, artist. Suffice to say that my little Dublings wouldn't have slept soundly given the volume at which last night's musical selection was playing.
Now, where are those shaggin' firelighters?