So . . . who would you suspect of being the biggest beer drinkers in the world? As of 2005, at least. Turns out to be the Czechs, at 161 litres each per year. Which is a full 27% more than the Irish at no. 2. Followed by Germany, Austria, Belgium and the UK. Australia comes in at 9 and the USA at 11. Spain ranked 12th. but the other major wine producers, France and Italy, don't appear at all in the list of 25 countries. Intriguingly, while the Czechs drink 161 litres each, their ex-colleagues in Slovakia only manage 92, less than the Brits even. But for the splicing of Czechoslovakia, the Irish would surely have taken the first place honours.
"Historically", it says here, "what people drank generally depended on what they grew. If your climate is temperate but warm, you grow fruits and make wine. If it's temperate but colder, you grow grain and make beer. If the weather is colder still, you grow grain but tend to make distilled spirits."
Driving from Manchester to Leeds today, my daughter and I came upon the overhead sign - Drive carefully. Pedestrians on the motorway [autopista/freeway]. In the event, there weren't any but I had fun imagining what sort of imbecile would be wandering across roads bearing traffic travelling at high speeds in the pouring rain. Presumably not pilgrims on a new camino inglés to Santiago.
The terrors of Facebook and the like . . . A friend of my daughter's regards it as a disaster if she doesn't accrue at least 5 'Likes' to any comment she posts. As if young women didn't have enough things to worry about without imposing new ones on themselves.
Finally . . . My thanks to everyone who's been kind enough to comment on my return to the grindstone. Especially those who were pleasant about it.