A couple of blissful days in lovely Listowel. Painting, pubs and new spuds. New spuds? Yes, indeed. The term for the newest of potatoes, buttery and soft. The cream of the crop. And you can buy them at random places in the countryside. Another reason to love Ireland.
There are some things done really well here. We could learn a thing or two from the Irish. In the recent past, a law was passed banning stores from giving out plastic bags (you can buy one, but you can't get them for free) and folks bring bags wherever they go. No more Harris Teeter or Publix bags floating around parking lots, tangled in tree branches, clogging up streams.
The roadways are pristine. Street cleaners are busy round the clock. Perhaps part of the reason the scenery is so lovely is how well cared-for it is. And cigarette butts are "binned", not ground out on the sidewalk.
You've heard tales of the wild driving here in Ireland - narrow roads with stone walls, fast drivers barreling around corners...it's all true! But there's a difference - no one is on the phone. All attention is on the road. Not a fender bender in sight. The penalties for phone use while driving are stiff, and no one wants to risk points on their license. Hmmmm, I think we could use a bit of that in the U.S.A. (says the girl recently struck by a distracted driver!)
The other evening we met a chap named Oliver. He was full of stories, and the one which most resonated with me was his tour of America in the 1970's. A $99 Greyhound bus pass to anywhere in the U.S.A., open ticketed for three months. This gent saw more of our country that summer than I've seen in my entire life. And he has the stories to accompany his memories of that trip. A lesson for me in the importance of exploring my own backyard.
But it's paint o'clock now, so off we go to make magic...