Suddenly I found myself in Jos Theys’ farmhouse restaurant near Leuven, Belgium, explaining the recent history of the border in Ireland. It was the end of January and I was attending a supper organised by the Belgian Guild of Agricultural Journalists. The theme of the event was Brexit.

Following a technical presentation about the negotiations, I took the microphone to give an Irish perspective. And I explained how when I was growing up in Ireland in the 1980s we had armed checkpoints on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.