Summer is grinding towards its inevitable autumnal end and still nobody has thought to stage a World Cup, European Championships or Olympics. For shame. We should set up a tribunal, or at least an Oireachtas committee, to investigate. You can have your Wimbledons, Irish Opens and endless series of Lions’ friendly matches, but nothing beats the Big Three. A summer without one is like a summer without a Seanad debate on aggressive seagulls. It leaves us feeling cheated and empty inside.
For a moment it really seemed like we cared. Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement united us in disbelief. People in newly registered jeeps shook their heads solemnly as they sat marooned in suburban traffic. They knew it was serious because journalists and governments who had spent decades ignoring the issue all told them it was. People stopped just short of changing their Facebook profiles to photos of sad polar bears.
Two Mondays ago, as I rummaged in the kitchen for something that could be passed off as dinner, a man lost his life 100 yards from my front door. He was crossing the road on foot when a vehicle struck him. I do not know the precise details of how his life came to end. The fact that man and vehicle collided at a pedestrian crossing suggests that one of them broke a light but I don’t know which.
We don’t have terribly high expectations for British politics these days. Ever since our nearest neighbour opted to jump from the EU life boat wearing nothing but Union Jack speedos and a quivering upper lip, nothing they do comes as a surprise. There is, however, one achievement for which the British political system deserves credit. Despite a fractured and bitter political environment, British politics remains relatively unaffected by that old Irish curse: the split.
Will this endless cycle of consultative decision-making ever end? In the league table of fevers, ‘election’ sits a lot closer to ‘scarlet’ than ‘Saturday night’, yet we appear to have found ourselves trapped on an election merry-go-round spinning out of control.
All over Ireland, thousands of people are facing into months of anxiety and trauma.
These are people for whom summer is marred by feelings of regret, despair and self-loathing. They are society’s hidden victims: people in their 30s and 40s who have accidentally bought tickets to music festivals.
This time two years ago I stayed in a B&B in Co. Mayo that I will always remember for two reasons: firstly, the framed picture on the wall gifted to the owners without explanation by the US Air Force Special Operations Unit; and secondly because it was the venue for my last ever burger.
If you find the nightly news a bit too depressing these days, why not pop down to the cinema and watch the new Star Wars film, Rogue One?
The latest instalment of the blockbuster series sees a well-funded rebel army, fuelled by religious dogma and a willingness for self-sacrifice, take on an authoritarian regime that is slowly losing its grip on a vast and multi-ethnic territory.
Where do these script writers get their ideas?
The horse leaps into the air, obediently following the young woman’s command to jump the fence. Every so often the dull thud of his hoofs hitting the ground coincides with an air strike. Nobody aside from me seems to notice when it does, but, then again, nobody else seems to be paying any attention to the air strikes at all, least of all the horse.
Gaza feels normal, and that’s the strangest thing about it. People are going about their days – buying clothes, playing football on the beach, eating ice-cream with friends. Car horns honk relentlessly. At the Faisal Equestrian Centre young girls in jodhpurs ride horses while their parents sip coffee.
In the distance is the war. Mortars, rockets and missiles fly overhead; from Gaza into Israel, from Israel into Gaza. Below, the people get on with their lives.