I wouldn’t have been in Monk’s public house in Mitchel Street, Thurles, at that time on a St Patrick’s Day, in the first place, were it not for the wife.
Let me explain. There I was sitting peacefully at home checking the ‘Situations Vacant ‘ column in the Tipperary Star, intent on heading for the Thurles parade, when she swooped like a bird of prey.
Moving quietly in from behind, the ungrateful wretch savagely cracked me on the back of the head with, of all things, the good large metal frying pan I had bought her as a birthday gift.
Now, yelping in excruciating pain, I politely asked,”What was that for?”
With a face on her that was reminiscent of a bulldog chewing a wasp, she replied, “That’s for the piece of paper I found with the name Roseanna written on it, just before I threw your trousers in the wash?.“ Dodging her next swing I quickly explained, “You stupid woman, remember yesterday when I went to the Thurles races, ‘Roseanna’ was the favourite running in the 4.30 Machlochlainn Road Marking’s Kinloch Brea Chase.”
She halted on her downward swipe with the pan, delaying what was designed to deliver that final killer blow and from the corner of her eye, I foolishly believed I had caught a slight glimmer of possibly guilt, mixed with a tinge of remorse, for this, her sudden and unwarranted outburst.
Music Courtesy of Sharon Shannon and Mundy.
Now dissecting every word of my explanation, carefully like a female Sherlock Holmes, she slowly turned and walked off to continue her housework, leaving me with what I now recognise as being a ‘false sense of security.’
I use the word ‘false ‘ deliberately because about thirty minutes later, as I dozed in the comfort of my own favourite arm chair, digesting the corn beef and cabbage that I had eaten earlier, she struck again, this time more violently, with the same ‘birthday present.’
Jumping up half dazed, but with the presence of mind, to put the kitchen table between her and me, I yelled. “You ould bag, What’s that for this time?,” She sneeringly replied, as she swung again “Your favourite horse just rang on the phone.”
Despite severe concussion, but in the interest of instinctive self preservation, I made a quick exit via the open back door and keeping an eye on my rear flank, for fear she should make another sudden sneak attack, I fled in retreat to the sanctuary of the Monk’s pub.
I knew I would be safe there until she cooled down, as the wife has been barred from this fine licensed hostelry since I foolishly hosted her last birthday outing. It was on this annual occasion that she, to my great public embarrassment, seriously assaulted the landlord. It was some casual remark he had made, in her ear shot, during a perfectly civilised conversation on the popular topic ‘equality of the sexes.‘ It was generally agree by all the men who dragged her kicking, biting and screaming off the unfortunate bruised and bleeding landlord, that her sudden attack was totally unwarranted. What the poor man had said, during the course of his deliberation on that topic was a fair point “If God had wanted women to be equal to men, he would have given them brains.”
Now nursing a pounding head ache, I straightened the bunch of shamrock in the pen pocket of my jacket and ordered a slow pint, while surveying the almost deserted ‘snug.’
The only other occupants in the bar were ‘Dirty‘ Maureen, as she is affectionately known locally, sitting cosied up to the landlord’s wife. I have never actually been in Maureen Murphy house, mind you, but I am given to understand from my resent assailant, the missus, that visitors to Maureen’s abode usually wipe their feet when they leave, while normally the reverse would be very much practised here in Thurles, and hence Maureen’s affectionate title .
With that ‘ringing ‘ sound now slowly receding from my ear drums, I tuned in to the women’s conversation and quickly gathered from the tone of their chat, that Maureen and I had a lot in common this St Patrick’s day. She too was also experiencing domestic problems herself, which involved her eldest son ‘Spud.’
I won’t bore you with all the details, but as I listened I had to agreed totally with her statement.
” The educational system in this country has gone to the dogs,” said she. “Imagine six years in primary school and another six years in the Christian Brothers and not one of the teachers diagnosed her Spud suffered from Dyslexia. Can you imagine the shame I felt when the magistrate in Thurles court house publicly diagnosed his problem in front of all my neighbours.” she continued.
Briefly, from what I could gather from her low tones, her Spud, now 22 years old, had been forced, mainly because of the current Irish recession and banking difficulties, to seek funding from some Building Society, for some proposed building development he was obviously planning. I gathered from the low whispers that Spud had entered the Societies offices and producing a hidden sawn-off shotgun from under his coat, passing the frightened teller a hand written note which read “Air in the hands mother sticker this is a f..kup.” Sure I blame it all on too much of these computer games and the American influence on television programmes, giving young people these crazy notions.
Luckily, her son’s free legal aid advisor was familiar with Spud’s health problems and was on hand to plead a strong case, before an understanding judge, who let off Spud with a suspended sentence of five years and fined him €2500, as a fiscal reminder of his unacceptable behaviour. Maureen paid the fine but was now lamenting the fact that she would have to shelve her intended visit to the Saline Celtic Festival in Michigan, this July.
Six pints later, I left the Monks and propelling myself forward for the short walk to the Parade in Liberty Square, I felt like a tank in China’s Tienanmen Square, I could have ‘murdered ‘ a Chinese. No disrespect intended, but I think you will agree, you just can’t beat a Chinese Cheng Du Chicken take-away, with Fried noodles and a double portion of Yangchow Fried Rice, especially after a few creamy pints of Guinness.
Tell me how eventful was your St Patrick’s day. Listen, I have to rush. Sure I’ll tell you later how I got around the wife if you are interested, the next time I meet you.