I was a retentive student. I would remember being exposed to the political geography of the kingdom across the English Channel from Europe. I was not exposed to that geography.
Yesterday I learned that “Great Britain” consists of England, Scotland and Wales; the “United Kingdom” is made up of those three countries plus Northern Ireland. England can still be called England provided one is referring to… England.
I’m thinking of coining an old Chinese saying: “The path to wisdom runs through confession of ignorance.” It skirts closely a fellow blogger’s statement: “Now I know that I don’t know.” A real Chinese saying (perhaps) is “Wisdom consists in getting things by their right names.”
I taught myself that “Ireland” embraces both Northern Ireland, still in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, a separate country and member of the EU. The two Irelands arose, I believe, in resolution of The Troubles. Their sharing of a border is causing heartburn in the Brexit negotiations.
I make cheeky sport of UK social mores via a cartoonish character named Sir Alistair Chichester. Better late than never to know the precise toponymy of — dare I say it? — the British Isles.
A clever bit from a “Seinfeld” episode comes to mind. Responding to George’s queries, Jerry clarifies that Holland and The Netherlands are the same country. “Then who are the Dutch?” asks George. (Since writing this yesterday I’ve seen evidence of this gag going around. It may be a chestnut by now. Keeping up with Internetwit is like catching lightning in a bottle.)
[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]