“Well, OK, it’s a change”, said Lucy as we walked across another field in another country. I detected an element of sarcasm in her voice – which is not easy to do when you are talking to a dog – which was completely undeserved. “Can you see any frozen lakes?”, I asked. She didn’t seem to want to reply, so I did on her behalf. “No! Can you see any snow covered mountains? No! Can you see a sign saying the nearest pub is a three day walk away? Precisely, no!. It’s a change”
My dog and I had embarked on a challenge to see if we could go around the world in just eighty word changes to our what3word geolocation code. So far we had bounced around like a hyperactive pinball in a global machine: simple word changes had so far taken us to the USA, Libya, Honduras, and the frozen lakes of Alaska. Changing the word “anywhere” for “change” had rescued us from an Arctic wilderness and landed us in the northern suburbs of Dublin, Ireland. “There’s a park over the wall, the airport is only a couple of miles down the road, there is a Hilton Hotel within walking distance, and there’s a pub just the other side of this housing estate” I listed these advantages like they were the result of intelligent design rather than pot luck.
“What’s that funny smell?”, Lucy enquired. She’s good with smells. She is a dog, after all. “I’ve no idea”, I said, yanking on her lead as we walked through a somewhat shabby park and entered an even more shabby housing estate. And so we entered Darndale, a community to the north of Dublin City, a place where someone has once written graffiti on a wall “Welcome To Darndale – Twinned With Beirut!”. It turned out that the place had such a reputation for crime, poverty and social division, that a long-running TV documentary series had been made about it – “Darndale, the Edge of Town”. OK, it was a little rough around the edges, and it had seen more than its fair share of drug crime and murder, but a fortnight ago we had been on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula in Honduras, the murder capital of the world. Darndale was a Kindergarten by comparison.
Who’d have thought, I mused as I waited to buy a souvenir postcard at a shop, that when we embarked on this trip around the world we would finish up comparing levels of violence and anti-social behaviour? What happened to the wonderful world of the Louis Armstrong song? Why aren’t I visiting the Lemonade Springs next to the Big Rock Candy Mountain? I shared my musings with Lucy as we continued our walk down Belcamp Grove towards the Priorswood Road. She just ignored me, which she has a habit of doing when she is in need of food and drink, so I headed for the nearest pub.
So we were sat on the terrace outside the Priorswood Inn with a pint of Guinness, a couple of bowls of chips from Daisy’s Grill, and a bowl of water. We’d played a couple of games of Virtual Bingo, but our luck was out. “Our luck’s out”, I said to Lucy. It’s easier talking to your dog after you’ve had a pint or two of Guinness. “OK, I’ve got a question”, said Lucy. It’s easier hearing your dog talk after you’ve had a pint or two of Guinness. “Drink!”, I said. “Fair enough”, said Lucy, “but I have a feeling that you will wish that you had listened to my question”. And so it was decided: ///sake.drink.change here we come.