Ireland was neat, aside from the lack of sleep and perhaps partially because it was colder than usual, something that led to a lot of painful and comic falls on the sidewalk and to a lot of fretting about early morning departures in a city where taxi drivers told us they didn't know how to drive in the snow. We spent our first day sitting in a bagel shop, under-slept after our four am flight, shocked at how expensive Cork, a small, pretty city where Christmas music played from speakers in the street, a town without chain stores that felt like a 1940s film set, seemed to be. I was there for a debating tournament, and so didn't see much of the town, though I can recommend the University College campus for beauty, a grey stone castle set amongst gardens, a less tourist-filled version of a Cambridge college. I met lots of lovely friendly Irish people, most of whom managed to debate very impressively after eleven ciders. We ate fish and chips in a shop where everybody seemed to know each other, where everybody we'd met in Ireland seemed coincidentally to be, we drank mulled wine between debates and were told about a festival where they put a goat on the top of a hill, give him a paper crown, call him the King and celebrate his coronation by drinking for two days.
And now I'm back in Cambridge and it’s icy and cold, really my favourite weather, and I need to keep reminding myself that I need to do work, which is hard with Christmas trees and tinsel everywhere.