And so, we find ourselves disembarking on the wrong side of the Irish Sea. John's fascination with the regionalised registrations takes a new twist as John and I try to work out every possible pair of letters showing each region. This novelty lasted me, oooh, about 20 minutes before John saw a new one.
"What's WW" he asks. Less than enthusiastically, I reply "Woo woo. Now, shut up about registration plates. Or this is going to be a very long journey."
"Oooh look, a Brit" he then says, spotting a UK registration.
"Is that surprising on the main road to the port that takes you to Britain?"
He gets the hint.
We head up the nice smooth tarmac towards Wexford, and all is good. No pot holes, then we turn off at a roundabout that would normally take you to Dublin, and the budget hasn't reached that far yet. Instantly, the road feels like a ploughed field. I can hear the mud flaps of the considerably lower Chemo scraping off the road as we hit one bump after another. In fact, at one point we took a large jump up and over something.
"Was that a speedbump?" asks John.
"No. One word. Ireland." came the reply.
"Ooooooh, 'k" he said with understanding tones.
Just outside a small town called New Ross, we were following a train of cars. They were all driving at 40kph (25mph in real money) following a horse trailer. The road split into two, and they all stayed in the crawler lane, so I decided that I'd take advantage and overtake them all in one hit. 80mph should do it, so I belted up the hill, and was just pulling over when I see a Garda, standing with his hairdryer.
He waves at me, so being the nice chap I am, I wave back. I then carry on, but at a more legal speed, and after 5 minutes or so I spot him accelerating up behind me. He pulls me over, and shows me his hairdryer, which is proudly boasting 132kph. He explains the limit was 100kph. I just feign ignorance.
"Driven in Ireland before?" he asks.
"No," I says, failing to mention the previous visits and TDT's motorised roller skate.
"Well you won't be much longer if you carry on like that. Do you have far to go?
"Ennis" I reply.
"Ennis? Blemmeh. That'll take you a while." he comments.
"Not at 132kph" I says.
*frown* he says.
He takes my details from my licence. He asks how I pronounce my address.
"Wales." I replied.
He then says they'll be forwarding a fine of €80 in the post, but if I don't pay it they won't follow it up. In other words, don't do it again.
The skies are slowly darkening now. It's nearly 8 o clock and we're chugging through the counties. We see the Bulmers/Magners factory, and John has to persuade me not to stop. It starts to rain heavily, real lumpy Welsh rain, the like of which Snowdonia sees every day. The roads are now quiet, and dimly lit. Pot holes are harder to avoid but the water now in them is cushioning the blow as I drive through them. The whole time I'm looking more and more wired, and TDT's texting me "where are you? How long?"
Eventually, I drive into the centre of Limerick, and the realisation I know where I am and how long it'll be until I'm at hers rings home. We're heading up the fairly quick dual carriageway and the rain's still coming down. The car's warning me it's cold, flashing ice warnings. And then, the final death knell as the rain turns to sleet for 30 seconds, before becoming full blown huge white streaks of snow.
What. The. Fuck?
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind driving in snow. When I can see road markings or the road's lit. The problem is, the last time some of the roads around here saw painting, was by iron age man drawing his hunting exploits. Cat's eyes are present, but again are very dim, and the main beam can't be used because of the snow. I find myself crawling along at 30mph on a road that allows 50, before finally getting to TDTs shortly before 10. Some 12 hours after I left home. And to cap it all, I have to the same in a couple of weeks, but this time in reverse.
Preferably without the copper and snow.
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