outwait outrun outwit


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In my neighborhood, a guttural scream occasionally pierces the calm of the evening. Previously I thought this was a sheep in a nearby field. But it turns out the source is someone playing ping pong in the old market building. And there they go again.

Last night we had a sumptuous 7-course dinner in a swish restaurant for my sweetheart’s birthday. My father-in-law dropped us off, in a small village on the border. Usually twenty minutes long, the journey had been slow, on icy roads flanked by piles of snow, dark or ruined houses, and shuttered premises. We had pre-dinner drinks; mine was Hennessy, neat—the publican’s favorite, and the national drink of my father’s homeland.

The restaurant, which is also a cookery school and an inn, employs 61 people. If anyone’s employed in the village, they’re either at the local prison or the restaurant. I thought of Brexit. What it might mean for the village. The young have no future here, said the publican.

Remember: between here and where I live, all the roads were blown by the British government during the Troubles. To that village, we took roads built only in the last decade or so, now all white and piled high with snow. A sleepy landscape, full of seething shadows. I shiver with the memory.


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