Lockdown Voices Number 27 EUROPE
It’s Europe Day today and who better to focus on than Europe herself.
Europe has given Ireland a voice at the table of the largest trading partnership in the world where a nation of four million is part of the four hundred million Europeans who trade in wine and cheese and every imaginable thing from agriculture to aviation.
A friend of mein from Germany who I met 20 years ago in Portugal said that she always loves my Facebook posts when I wished her a Guten Geburtstag for her birthday and I thought my friendship with Susanne Pöhlsen was worth a post as I always love talking about the European People’s Festival and the fun and friendship formed at these festivals.
Our friendship started out competitively as it was part of a bike race in Portugal for the festival and while it is far from the Olympics or a normal competition, she was part of the German team and I was drafted in at the last minute to be part of the Irish team.
Well 11th hour more than the last second. I was asked 36 hours before the festival if I wanted to represent my town in the European Festival and if I had a passport. It was 1999 and the trip was going to be 3 days by bus and 3 days back after an epic weeklong festival in Cantanhede and no I didn’t have a passport.
I missed my graduation, renewed my passport thanks to a letter from the Town Council saying that I was representing Ireland and needed an urgent passport, and packed my bag and my bike.
There is very little sporting prowess needed in this competition as the European Festival seems to have more emphasis on cohesion and cooperation than competition and somewhere along the way I met Susanne Pöhlsen whose bike had broken down and I stopped to help her out.
Clearly, if I hadn’t, someone else one have, maybe one of her three German teammates as each team comprised of two men and two women but every time I travel to a European Festival, we always look back on the road we have both travelled together and the time I stopped to help my German friend compete in Europe.
Wherever our path takes us, I hope we start a chain reaction where the Irish, Italians, Hungarians, Germans, Spanish, French, Luxembourgers, Belgiums, Finish, Estonians, Polish, Lithuanians, Latvians, Slovenians, Slovanikians take the time to enjoy our journey together and stop to help each other out along the way.
Lockdown Voices Number 27 is dedicated to all the countries that have worked so well together but which will sadly become 26 as the United Kingdom leaves the union to get Brexit done.