I got to my house this evening (well actually to the pub, I felt that I needed it) after two hours and forty minutes on the bus. I work nineteen miles away. It’s like being back in the days when a man carrying a red flag had to walk in front of your vehicle, except we wouldn’t have been able to keep up with any man walking in front of ours.
This is because the N11 motorway is flooded.
Now let me assure you people (you lucky, lucky people) who do not live in the County Wicklow area of Ireland that the word “motorway” means exactly the same thing here as it does where you are – a big, many-laned, flat stretch of roadway with grass verges and trees at the sides – nothing in any direction, in fact, against which water could build up. Flooding a motorway in just one spot is a substantial achievement, like parting the Red Sea but in reverse.
I should have got the train home instead, but the line is flooded between two particular stops. This happens regularly ever since they replaced the traditional loose stones along that stretch with concrete in some sort of noise-deadening exercise, which I suppose I have to admit is a success since there are far fewer trains making noise on the line than there were before.
That particular part of the line between Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire was known as the Atmospheric railway and was built in 1843. In 1843 trains ran along it. In 2013 you can’t guarantee that they will on any wet day. That’s progress, Irish Rail style.
In fairness to them, it’s raining. In Ireland. In March. Who’da thought.
If today’s traffic chaos was because of bush fires, or tectonic plate activity, or the eruption of a volcano that we didn’t know we had, then you’d feel sympathy for the haplessness of the people who control our roads and our railways. With rain, not so much.
In fairness to them again, though (I have to be fair, otherwise this might sound like a rant), it has been raining heavily. Not for days, or even weeks, but, well, since yesterday.
This will all be over by tomorrow. The waters will subside, everything will go back to normal, and absolutely nothing will be done to stop it happening again. That’s the way we do things here.
So here I am, home (in the pub) hours later than I should have been. Am I angry? Yes. Am I cold, wet and miserable?
Because I left the house this morning wearing a coat and carrying an umbrella.
See, I live in Ireland. I thought it might rain.