Wrinkly Joe was in town over the weekend because a mutual friend of ours was having a Big Birthday, and we were both invited to the party.
What a good opportunity to take it easy, stay home till a reasonable hour, cook a nice dinner perhaps, settle down and watch the England-France game before heading out to the party in good relaxed order.
That’s what any sensible person would do, isn’t it? Of course it is.
So what do you reckon? Is that what we did?
Ah, come on, now. You must be new here.
I was up early. Much earlier than any civilised human should be on a Saturday, and it wasn’t voluntary. It was because the Teenaged Monsters of Rock had a gig yesterday and started practising at full volume in the room below.
On the other hand, these things have a positive side. You get to smash your fist into a teenager’s face, and — something nearly as good –you get into town early for the Market, where you can buy your freshly-caught fish, your vegetables, your warm, newly-baked bread and maybe a second-hand book, if the whim takes you.
My neighbour, Parkenstein, left his car in town the night before, so I brought him with me. In return, he bought me breakfast, or to be more exact, he bought me a sort of hot-dog made with spiced Italian sausage, for which he paid a stall-holder some outrageous, extortionate fee.
This fellow is more reasonable for his delicious Indian food, and furthermore, he’s from Scunthorpe.
We followed breakfast with a stroll around the market, listening to buskers, talking shit and wandering around. When we were tired of buskers, shit-talk and wandering about, we wandered over to Nancy’s pub where I had a coffee, Parkenstein had a tea and we both read the paper while listening to the old codgers reminiscing. (As old codgers are inclined to do on a nice Saturday morning).
That was when the phone rang.
It was Wrinkly Joe.
I’ll be getting in about two o’clock. Will you be ready?
Ready to go out.
Out? At two o’clock? Are you mad?
All right then. Three.
And that was how we came to develop our plan. It was devastatingly simple: Let’s wander around aimlessly from pub to pub, talking shit.
Pure genius. That’s exactly, what we did.
As we sucked on a delicious creamy Guinness in the White House, Joe turned to me:
Where’ll we go next?
I don’t mind.
Can we go to HMV?
Sure. You want to buy a CD?
And that’s how I ended up spending €40 on movies I had no intention of buying, but I got a great deal. I got Apocalypto for €10, which I thought was great. I’ll watch it with Bullet some night this week.And as if that wasn’t good enough, I got a two-CD box of the Ring, plus Pulp Fiction plus Gladiator, all for another €30. Just to have them on the shelf.
Great. Time for another couple of sociable pints, more guff and before you know it, we’re settling in to the Bank to watch the rugby semi-final, England vs France.
Now here’s a strange thing. At the very same time England were playing France, we had a soccer match between Ireland and Germany – a European Championship qualifier. Guess what game every single person in the very large Bank Bar was watching. Ireland – right?
Eh, no. Ireland wrong. Not a single soul (including us) watched Delaney’s Donkeys grind their way through yet another stroke-inducing zero-zero draw. That’s how low soccer has sunk in this country, but it’s for another day’s rant.
England fought their way to a richly-deserved win over France, securing their place in back-to-back Finals and laying the ground work for what could well be a historic double. Who’d have imagined it after Ireland beat them 43-13 in Croke Park.
And here’s something else you might not have imagined: England’s win was greeted with loud cheering in a Limerick pub. Strange days indeed.
Ten o’clock. It’s ten now. Too early to head for the party. Nothing for it but to visit yet another pub of choice, talk more blather with random assorted blatherers, finally making it to the party at the reasonable hour of midnight, in far better shape than we had any good cause to expect.
And so the evening ended, bumping into people we hadn’t seen since God was a young lad, hugging old friends, eating free burgers, talking shit to strangers and swilling back even more Guinness than we had planned on.