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I’ve had a fascination with world geography since I was in short trousers. A part of my brain enjoys being a repository of trivia and useless facts. I find it hard to remember colleagues’ names but have no problem about remembering the highest mountain in Borneo (Mount Kinabalu!). When I stand behind the counter of my small shop I hear lots of accents and different languages. I often ask people where they come from - the answers are sometimes surprising for a variety of reasons.
People from regions of Spain will often answer “Catalonia” or “Basque Country” rather than Spain itself. Some Germans will claim to be from Bavaria and barely acknowledge the present political alignment. One of my favourite replies was from a group of middle aged Americans – “We’re from Flippin, Arkansas”!
I was about to reply that I’m from bloody Galway but they clarified that “Flippin” is a small town in rural Arkansas – “Yeah, we live in Flippin, went to Flippin School and even got Flippin married”
I was able to make their day when I told them that the next village to my home town in Cork is called Effin, that I used to cycle down the Effin Road, go to the Effin shop and pass the Effin Church. In fact, Facebook were so intimidated by Effin that for many years they refused to acknowledge it as a place in case it would cause offence. It would be great if Effin and Flippin become Twin Towns and produced a range of products based on their mutual “almost profanity”.
Effin politicians could travel to meet their Flippin counterparts and maybe construct some Bloomin flower beds to celebrate their connection.
Our friend John Prine could write an anthem like he did for Hawaii!