It’s one of those annoying Government buzzwords so let’s claim it back with a Rainy Days and Songdays Green Lighting megamix around the world. Our favourite songs with ‘green’ in the title and the countries where they transport us.
The old rogue Burns was pure rock’n’roll and could pen a lyric and a tune which is probably why he is held in such high regard by the greatest singer-songwriters of the latter half of the 20th century.
With Bob Dylan, no less, crediting the Scot as his greatest inspiration.
Every nation sacrificed its most promising generation in No Man’s Land but for those from the furthest outposts of Empire… well, it just seems to be all the more pointless to modern sensibilities.
Eric Bogle, a Scots-born Australian, explores the pyschological cost to one survivor ‘young Willie McBride’. And it was all the more poignant after I’d seen the statue of the Scots soldier in northern France.
That was the year that was – it’s 12 months now since I left my beloved Ireland for my first love Scotland.
I had though little intention of spending all my time in Scotia.
And instead had a long list of destinations to fill out the year.
So to mark the anniversary I’ll share the year that never was.
Off to a flier in Czech Hoptown
The Chinese lady with the mask on in the airport in Prague Airport seemed a curio at the time, a reminder of the latest virus that only affects Asia.
A few weeks later the fun and intimacy of the Czech Republic were but a warm embrace I clung onto as I entered lockdown in Scotland for the first time.
As I came out of isolation I engaged with my Czech friends again over the new-fangled Zoom app we were all compelled to use and toasted each other in time-honoured fashion Na Zdravie.
I was heartened to see them lay out a table for a feast along the Charles Bridge in the early summer and wished that I was back there again in Prague or in the Czech Republic’s Hoptown, Zatec.
I know this though that the Czechs will get through this because they have the best beer in the world, Pilsener Urquell.
Trump steals my Keys
Suitcase packed, bandana on, I was all set for my fly-drive around the Florida Keys when Donald Trump (remember him) closed the country to visitors while encouraging Americans to gather… at his rallies.
And so Hemingway’s six-toed cats, key line pie, Florida sunsets and easy living will just have to wait.
Of course the beauty of it is that Papa’s pussies won’t have had any idea that anything was even different about the past year.
Exile me in St Helena
And another on the back-burner is Napoleon’s island. No, not his birthplace, Corsica, or the one the British sent him to initially, Elba, but the one where he ended his days, St Helena.
St Helena, 1200 mile west of southwestern Africa is one of the most remote inhabitable islands in the world and is an ecological dream.
All of which makes you think that exile was a pretty good option back in the day. And if I end up needing to self-isolate anywhere then I’ll be back in touch.
Vegas or bust
Now I’ve always felt bad about leaving Cami from Utah at the bar at Harrah’s Las Vegas a few years ago and knowing she goes down there every weekend knew that she’d be there when I revisited in June.
The American Travel Fair was scheduled for Neon City and I was all booked and ready, my chips at the ready to make my million.
But alas I had to leave Cami waiting again and to get my fix of Vegas I had to make do with watching the world’s greatest band The Killers perform from the ceiling of Caesars Palace on YouTube.
The fair, IPW is slated for the Fall, and I’ll be expecting an Access All Areas ticket, Brandon.
And maybe even reprising my Mr Brightside from the Rising Star Karaoke Bar, CityWalk at Universal Orlando a few years ago.
And I now want to promote the splendours of Conrad Dublin, a hotel I’ve enjoyed on a function level but yet to laid down by head there.
Apart, of course, from when my head would hit the table through too much vino.
Among the goodies on offer in what they are packaging as Dream Away are the Picnic Package, the Literary Tour and Dublin City by Horsedrawn Carriage.
And seeing you’ve been locked away at home for months then why not treat the whole family to a night in the Conrad Family Room.
The interconnecting family room is €350 for the night for two adults and two children. See www.conraddublin.com.
To the lighthouse
So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were struck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sky – Virginia Woolf
Lighthouses can be by contrast snug or solaces from people.
And Hook Lighthouse in Co. Wexford in the Republic of Ireland on June 29 is reopening its doors with the latter in mind.
Hook Lighthouse, the Lightkeepers Cafe and the outdoor dining option, the Seahorse, will all open seven days per week.
With last access to the grounds at 4pm and dining closes at 5pm.
Pre-book a free pass online at www.hookheritage.ie or take a guided tour by phoning (051) 397 055.