Land of growing girths and rising seas: A break to the Netherlands made better by no-water house plants

Cormac MacConnell was chatting with interesting VIPs during his break in the Netherlands, but seems to have been even more impressed by their new no-water house plant for a future of rising seas, the amaryllis.

Dear Santa Claus,

I’m aware you and your team are working overtime at the moment and dealing with different time zones across the globe which you brighten up with peace and goodwill.

So you may not be able to read this Irish yarn until we attack another New Year, with renewed hope that it will be more peaceful and balanced than the difficult enough one for which we are itching to

recycle the wall calendars.

Anyway, I’m offering these morsels of my pure truths, for what they are worth down the new road.

I will surprise even regular readers, never mind your good self, with the absolute truths that, during the earlier days of this Christmas, I had a friendly conversation with a national police commissioner, who was unfairly sacked recently from his prestigious position, but bears no malice towards the bosses who dumped him for political reasons. (Where have we heard that kind of yarn before?)

In the same hour, I also shared an enjoyable meeting with a direct descendant of Alexander Nobel, the Jew who brought as much peace and goodwill to the world as even yourself. That lovely Nobel gentleman, upon hearing I was running low on cigarettes, scurried out into the night to bring me back the gift of ample supplies for the days ahead. Heartwarming stuff on a cold night.

Yes, I was spending a few December days and nights in my wife Annet’s homeland, in the Netherlands.

In my late night conversations with a Nobel and a

dismissed police commissioner, and others, I did my best to convert those occasions into what somebody said was the Bletherlands rather than the Netherlands.

It was all great craic, which made me feel totally at home.

I noted some surprising differences between the two cultures. On the streets and in the bars and restaurants, for example, I was surprised at the number of folk, mainly Orientals, whose faces were largely concealed by linen face masks.

I felt there might be some religious significance.

I was wrong. Those wearing the face masks were suffering from flu and colds, and were taking laudable steps to

ensure their coughs and sneezes did not infect others around them.

Fair play to them for that. The custom should become universal, for sure.

It would surely ease some of the overcrowding problems in our hospitals at the moment.

Santa, I am reluctant to offer any advice to such a universal legend as your good self, and you are probably well informed on this front

already, but a major concern amongst those who act as your human agents down the chimneys of Holland on Christmas Eve, is obesity.

Chimneys in the Netherlands are getting smaller. Your agents are getting larger by the day and hour, and they are very concerned about that.

To my eyes, they eat hugely, and their girths clearly reflect that human reality.

No way will most of them be able to get down those tiny chimneys next year.

I don’t know what you can do on that front, but your agents are extremely worried about it this Christmas.

There is another bulging truth for you and yours to address, when you find the time. Upon returning to Co Clare — where I know the chimneys are larger —I fear the same obesity problem is likely to present itself here too. in the very near future, given all the eating and drinking of the season.

I hope I’m not offending anyone with the bulging truth. In keeping with the season, I wish to seize this opportunity to extend my best wishes to all of you, wherever you are today, and I especially direct an olive branch to anyone I have offended or annoyed in this, or any other media space I occupy.

Mea Maxima Culpa to all.

Can I close for now with a quite striking truth from the Netherlands.

We all know they are more likely to be the worst affected victims of melting icebergs, and general global warming, all of can raisesea levels and put increased pressure on the ring of dykes which protect the Netherlands from being swamped by the North Sea.

I swear they are responding on one front, at least, by developing a beautiful household pot plant which lives, thrives, and flowers magnificently WITHOUT needing water at all.

Its name is a mile long in Latin, but I think this great horticultural development is better known as amaryllis.

No matter what weather threats the New Year visits upon us, such pot plants are quite likely to be decorating our parlour windowsills

before too long, if they aren’t already.

Maybe Irish garden centres should check out these no-water house plants ASAP, for new sales opportunities later, when the water starts rising!

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