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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Being a wee pup and spoiling Christmas morning

We all have stories to tell about fond childhood memories of Christmas morning. That sheer joy when you burst open the sitting room door to see toys everywhere and anywhere, your stocking bulging by the fire place, unreal feeling. Well when I was a chap I had chronic bad asthma, So many a time I took a shocking bad asthma attack on Christmas morning with the pure excitement, I’ve often spend half of Christmas morning wedged to the nebulizer before I could even play with my toys. Sitting there in the vest and briefs, red as a tomato and the chest rattling like a useless lawnmower!

Well this one Christmas morning I acted the bollix something shocking, here’s my story..

One year when I was about 6 or 7, like most gossons that age I was in my prime for old Saint Nick, I could not wait for Christmas morning to come around. I use to hounnddd the aul lad every day in December “daaaa, would ya say the elf’s have my toys built by now??”.. “not yet Rory, you have to keep being good right up to Christmas day, or they will stop building yours and move onto the good boys and girls toys, don’t you understand!!?”. “Ok dad!”

Well this one year I had requested the ‘Sega mega drive’ (serious computer altogether!) from the big red giant. Christmas Eve finally came around and I was wired, not only could I not sleep that night but I was actually sitting up in my bed rattling with excitement, not a hope of me sleeping!

As every minute crept by of every hour I’d sneak into my big sisters room pleading with her to come downstairs with me to see if Santa had arrived “Carolllllll, will you come downstairs with me and see if Santa came!!?” “NO Rory, go back to bed.”(It was only later in life I understood why she didn’t want to rush down the stairs in hope of getting a glimpse of Rudolph and the lads).

              It came to 4am and I couldn’t take it anymore, “I’m going for it” I thought to myself. So I crawled through the hall, took each step as quiet as I could and headed down to paradise. As I opened my sitting room door, there were presents everywhere, one side of the room had a pile of presents and a note on top ‘Rory’ and the other side had a note ‘Carol’. I started to rip all mine open like a mad man. Then eventually the moment of truth came, I found my Sega “yeowww ya rooster”.

I had finished opening up all my presents in no time, I then glanced over at my sister’s pile, while thinking to myself “sure she doesn’t care about Santa or her present’s ill open wann, she won’t mind!!” Suddenly, one turned in to every jaysusin present. I then ran upstairs, clearly full of adrenaline, shook the living life out of her in the bed and in about 47 seconds I had told her every last detail of what she had got from Santa, from her ‘dream phone’ (the most wanted present by the lassies at the time, a huge surprise that she wasn’t expecting to get!!) all the way down to the spice girls pencil case, every last detail!!

As you can imagine this didn’t go down to well,

I suppose it was about 4.17am and she let an unmerciful yelp from her bedroom, a kind of yelp that would wake a corpse.. “dadddddyyyy, Rory opened all my presents from Santy and told me what I got” as she balled her eyes out.

I could hear my aul man rattling the house getting out of the scratcher. I ran into my room and hid under the covers. He first calmed my sister down and then ordered me out to the hall to explain myself, “Rory come out here now.. Rory come out, come on” I eventually came out from my bedroom like a mouse peeping out at a lump of cheese on a trap, “Well Rory, what have to you say for yourself!!?” Says the aul lad, (standing in the hall in his finest dressing gown). “Well go on, explain!??”, so I stood there twiddling my fingers and toes and said in a very soft voice “I’m sorry da, but ya see I met Santa downstairs and he said because I was such a good boy this year I could open a few of Carols presents as well as mine, not my fault!!!”.

The father just stood there, as you can imagine he was fairly taken back by this pure genius of a comeback, in fairness he only really had one option and that was to accept this comeback, or else he was going to have to  tell me the truth about the greatest lie in the history of childhood. So no doubt he just stood there and thought to himself “such a comeback, ya little bollix ya !!”

By god I fluked that one!!

Happy Christmas folks, enjoy the day, and go handy on the poor owl turkey!!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Average Joe’s '12 pubs of Christmas'

The 12 pubs of Christmas.. huh!!??.. What an outrageous genius Big Darcy from Clonakilty must of been to come up with this idea, savage excuse altogether to get a gang of your best pals gathered up and hit the biggest town closest to you and go on the pure rip. My memory of the day is carnage from start to finish. Often 10,20 even up to 30 lunatics would head off into town dressed in Christmas jumpers of all sorts. I can guarantee you one thing, the full panel won’t arrive home, not a chance.
How the day of pure and utter craic starts is heading down the local with a gang of your best mates dressed up like absolute cabbages each one of you as mad as the other, in great form.
“Well Damo, you doing the 12 pubs!!?, ..”I am lad, can’t wait, gona be class!”.. “awe stop, messy”
You have the quick one in the local “Large bottle their please” then you’ll hop on the bus into “wreck baggot street!!” or whatever town is unlucky enough to host the gathering.
First pub is quite enough, quick pint then gone, 2nd 3rd and 4th pretty much the same, but... by the 5th lads are getting giddy, it’s around then one of the gargle guzzler’s shouts “herre bhoysss, last one to neck there pint does a shot..” the harmless chap of the group - who barley drinks, but promise’s all year he will do the 12 pubs at Christmas to keep us off his case, this lad always gets stuck with the shot and then by the 7th pub this poor unfortunate wobbles out the door, asks someone for a “spare fag”, then staggers up the road, reefs the phone out of his jeans pocket and rings either one of his best college mates or his close cousin from down the country “Just did the 12 pubs ladd, unrealll craic – course I lasted the 12, sure I’m heading up to coppers now with all the bhoys, some women about the place” .
By now the gang are in the 8th pub, even the “Decent drinkers” are getting googly eyed at this stage, one of the gang who doesn't smoke, hates fags usually, gets cocky and has a smoke outside this pub, inhale’s the john player into him, barley coming up for air, then all of a sudden the nicotine gets a grip of him. He waddles into the jacks, stares in the mirror and says to himself “be the lord jaysus, I amm taaawisted” leaves the toilet, shoulders some lad on the way out “Ya alright Keith?? ”.. “I’m grand, just making a call be back in a minute” and sure of course is no were to be seen for the rest of the night.
By this stage the gang are at the 9th pub, the shits slowly starting to hit the fan now. This is usually the pub were the “mess” of the gang gets caught by the bouncer letting loose into the sink instead of the pisspot.. “Right, OUTTT!!!” So that’s the 9th pub written off.
So as you head to number 10, around now 6 or 7 of the more sensible ones, I’d like to call them the “better drinkers” would say “Lads, Gerry, Marty and Tony are in an awful bundle, I reckon we leave them and leg it to a different pub!!.” GONE.
So then poor aul  Tony,Marty and Gerry are left floating around the chipper, bolloxed drunk. Poor Gerry’s in a bad way spilling his heart out to the two lads “Did I ever tell you that yis are my best mate’s lads, I’m telling you, yis are, I love yas” Then good aul Gerry sticks the head back into the donor kebab for round two.
Then Tony pipe’s up “Lads, towns a kip.. I’m getting a taxi home we have a few in Kelly’s, bita craic.. “ .Marty agrees and eventually with half a kebab on his face so does Gerry.
So while the 3 stooges are half way home in the taxi, the rest of the gang are split up all around temple bar one by one getting fecked out of each pub till one lad says  “foookkkk Dublin…,I’m getting a taxi home..” usually around 2 or 3 agree with him bail into a taxi and hit the road.
It’s now 1am and the 3 or 4 pure die hard drinkers of the gang are out of the game. One by one they find there way back to there hometown after been with women in disabled jacks, after been in rows and after puking all over themselves at the side of burger king.
Everyone of you wake up the next morning and first thing you say to yourself is
“ God Christ i am dying, thankkk fackkk that session only happens once a year” !!
Well folks, that is give er take, “The average Joe's 12 pubs of Christmas”

Friday, 20 December 2013

“A lorry load of porter leads to an overflow of water”

Everyone knows that person who is a “disaster of a chap”, the type of lad who attracts unfortunate situations without even trying - ‘God that lad is an awful clutz’. Well, I’m certainly related to this breed of people. Whatever can go wrong, will and does go wrong when I’m in town. I’m the type of man that if I was to back the whole field in a 4 horse race, on the flat, the 4 horses would somehow manage to fall, or else plough into the railings either side of them, that kind of a chap. A pure “Jinx” one might say.
This short story I’m about to tell you confirms this fact. The Irish must have come up with the auld saying “Murphy’s Law” when they heard I was entering this world!
Back in the summer of 2008, we were getting an extension done to the family home. Plenty of hard graft went into this, as is the case with all extensions. Ours was coming along well, the blocks were laid to perfection, the roof was spot on and the plumber (a good friend of mine) had a lot of his work done; the place was starting to take real shape.

One Thursday night, after playing a championship match with my beloved club, Donaghmore/Ashbourne, we all went back to the clubhouse for “a few pints” – standard enough. Before my aul lad left the club that night the last thing he said to me was “now Rory, you have work tomorrow, I’ll say no more!” Then he headed towards the exit, turned back and says “o and, have u got a key!?” I replied “I do big joeseyyy!” and he headed home.
Like most nights in the club the craic was had, the die hard clubmen at the bar dissecting your every move on the pitch. “Why didn’t you catch that ball?? ... Why didn’t you fist that over the bar?? ... Why didn’t you lay it off to Davey?? Sure jaysus he was straight in front of goal!!” - The usual craic that goes on in every GAA club the length and breadth of the country.

Well after a good stack of fine porter I eventually said enough is enough “Right lads I’m heading home, have work tomorrow”(as if one more pint at 3am would make any difference to the head of me the next morning.) 

As I wandered home in the early hours, with my gear bag in one hand and a rotten Benson and Hedges fag in the other, belting out ballads to myself on the way up to the house, I got to the front door and lo and behold I didn’t have a sniff of a key in my pocket - “bollix”.

I says to myself “If I knock on this door big Joe is going to kill me!” so as I was standing there scratching my head, trying to think a way around not having to wake up the mother and father, I looked over at the window of the extension and says “sure I’ll jump through the window and in through the garage door, be grand”.

You must remember now that I was after playing a champ match so the legs were banjoed, not to mention the 12 pints I inhaled since the game. So let’s just say I wasn’t in the greatest nick to be doing missions through a semi building site.

So with a great deal of struggle I eventually got through the window, but as I was walking along the joists, I wobbled for a second, lost my balance and with the gallon of porter I had on board I had no hope of staying on my feet “hup be da jaysus” I slipped in between the shagging things and hit the ground like a sack of spuds “a me fucking ankle” nearly made shite of myself.

I pulled myself up, limped up to the old garage door, hit the garage door a woeful attempt of a shoulder, burst the door wide open and fell straight onto my hands and knees. I then staggered up off the ground, left the door wide open and straight up to bed with me. The mother does the shopping of a Friday so there was no hope of a few sambos before I hit the cot.

The next morning I woke to my phone going mental vibrating on my bedside locker, “Ahh shut up ta fuck will ya, stupid alarm”. As I was lying in bed in an awful heap, dreading getting up for work, didn’t I hear the auld man flush the toilet, let out a sneaky fart in the hall and head down the stairs for morning tae.

Then all I heard in a mild Offaly accent was “WHATTTT daaa faccckkk!!” The mother ran down straight away in shock, then I just heard “Rory get yourself down here now”... “O no, what did I do now, don’t tell me we’ve been robbed!??” were my thoughts. So I dragged my stiff and hungover frame out of bed, crept down the stairs terrified to what my eyes were about to witness.

O holy mother of sweet divine jaysus. Wasn’t the whole kitchen FLOODED!! I must have burst a pipe when I slipped through the joists the night before, and fecking water had come in through the old garage door that I’d left open out of pure drunkenness. Now I mean the kitchen was a swamp, this was the last thing I needed with a dreadful hangover and having to face a day’s work!

“Awe dear lord da, I’m so sorry. I’ll ring Martin (the plumber) straight away and have this sorted in no time”. He gave me a look that would kill, then he turned to my poor mother, who god love her was flat out tearing pages out of the Meath Chronicle to try soak up some of the water, and says “I need a cigarette”.
He then brushed me out of his way and headed out the back garden to gather his thoughts.

There was absolutely no way I was giving him the opportunity to come back into the house and land me with a well-deserved solid right hook, So before he came back in like a loose bull, I grabbed my coat, slipped on my shoes, gave mammy my apologies and scampered out the door to work.

I’ll tell you that one morning I was never as happy to leave a warm house and head off to work hungover!!

Friday, 13 December 2013

DECEMBER: In the minds of the Irish!!

Us Irish (The drinkers amongst us anyway!), we really are unique. For instance; everything big or small that happens to us in life, we turn to ‘the drink’. Someone gets married, someone dies, you pass an exam, you fail an exam, a loved one leaves Ireland, a loved one returns to Ireland, a win or a loss in a sporting event, a birthday, a christeningAny auld excuse and somebody in the huddle suggests “a sure we’ll go for a few pints” and off we go. What really typifies our mind-set is the shenanigans that occurs in the month of December.  

December, jaysus it’s a mad aul’ month isn’t it!? It really is an amazing time of the year for a lot of reasons. The people you care about arrive home from every corner of the world. From Sydney, Perth, London, Canada, New York and Dubai, to put the feet up, have a hot whiskey and just chat about everything and anything; “Told ya the Dubs would win Sam, Da!” Although let’s be honest we do tend to spend a lot of this time down in the local skulling pints and telling tales of the year gone by, which in fairness is what makes us Irish so unique.  

Now, don't get me wrong, there is the sensible crowd amongst us. Those who avoid the hangovers, the fear and the mistakes; the clever group one might say! Then there is the breed of us who enjoy the pints and craic like there is no tomorrow. We mad eggs would generally spend 2 or 3 days of each week in December on the beer. Now I mean flat to the mat on the beer, some of us could go four days if you’re a proper Shane McGowan, in great form pissed drunk having the time of your life.

We fill our December days soaking up every last bit of craic thinking everything is pure gravy, saying to yourself "Jaysus ya cant bate Christmas, I love the pints, sure this is mighty craic, God your man is sound, your wan is sound, I love life”. Drinking the poor head off yourself, using any auld excuse to go for pints.

“Did ya hear Ciaran’s home from Oz!?”…“You’re messing!!?”… “Nope, the mad man said nothing to no one, just arrived in from Perth this morning, nearly gave poor auld Betty a heart-attack, I’ll tell ya something, he’s in great shape from working on the sites, big brown shiny head on him and all”… “no wayyyyyy, a sure we’ll have to hit town so, haven’t seen Ciaran in years!”

Then there is the days around Christmas when you have absolutely no reason on earth to drink porter, one of the gang will say “ah feck this lads, it’s Christmas, I’m going down to Dicey’s for a scoop, sure I’m off it for good in January!” This craic would last for usually the 3 days till your body hits a wall “nah lads I’m in an awful heap, Die hard 2 is on da box tonight, so I’m staying low, get an auld Domino’s, recharge the batteries for Stephen’s day!”.

Unfortunately though, everything that goes up must come down. You spend the next 3 days fairly feckin depressed sitting on the couch bored senseless scratching you’re arse. Not only that but you’ll be rooting through the box of Celebrations and sure of course the day you’re having there will only be poxy aul squashed bounty’s left in the shagging tin ‘a for jaysus sake Maaa, who ate all the sweets!!?’. Around then your mind will have a chat with you in the lines of  ”I really am a useless whoor, Ireland's facked, I need to sort my life out and cop on, I’ve no money, that drink is no good for me!". What normally gets you through this down time is knowing that Kevin from Killbeggan is in the same boat as yourself - pure raging with the carry-on of himself over the past few days, as is Liam from Letterkenny, Bobby from Ballymun and Big Tim from Tullamore.

Ahh but ya see folks, then there is the one day smack bang in the middle of this hectic schedule when you’re in a solid state of mind with no drink in the system, saying to yourself in an upbeat manner "ahh sure feck it, I'm an ordinary man, I'll drive on with life in the new year and hopefully get a bit of luck down the road, I’ll be grand, sure there’s plenty like me". On that very same day, sometime in the afternoon while you’re half way through watching Ghostbusters you’ll get the famous "goo" for a few pints and a bit of craic with the lads, so you slip on the drinking boots and off out the door with you! “Mon, ya right Bosco, we go for a few pints, sure it’s Christmas!”.

Well, personally I'm happy with this hectic up and down routine for the festive season. So be sure to realise when you do come across the last mangled bounty in the tin of celebrations while you’re flicking through the channels to find nothing but pure scutter on the box and you feel that nothing is going right, that there are plenty more in the same boat.

So all I’ll say is just beat off the demons during the sober days, because the absolute craic you will have with friends and relations during those 2 or 3 days of the week inhaling porter is what Christmas is all about.

Role on the craic, the singsongs, the heart to hearts and the memories!! 
Happy Christmas Everyone!


Friday, 6 December 2013

“Everyone’s a winner at Rory’s Christmas Party Raffle!!?”

A few years back I worked for an insurance company, I won’t tell you which one, but put it this way the owner was a very wealthy man and isn’t so wealthy now, I’ll let you work it out for yourselves . I must say though, he was a decent auld skin anytime I chatted to him.

Now, for years this company had the absolute dogs bollix of Christmas parties: no holds barred stuff - free bar, free hotel room, slap up meal, the works. As the recession kicked in everyone on our island had to tighten their belts, so like all Christmas parties, ours had to be scaled back quite a bit. So this one year instead of a free bar we were promised 5 drink vouchers each, which isn’t so bad. 5 pints of porter would have most men nice ‘n smiley and mad for more!!!

Well the Friday of the Christmas party we were all in great form in the office, tins a roses everywhere, loads of boxes of pringles and good aul Mr. McGowan blasting out “Fairytale of new York” on the radio. Great banter.

So as I sat at my desk literally buzzing for DRINK, I spotted one of the ‘big guns’ in the company drop a load of envelopes on my boss’ desk - “lovely, they must be the drink vouchers” I says to myself as I was getting awful giddy. So as the boss walked around the office handing them out I got mine, opened it up and I’m not joking you they were ‘raffle tickets’ with a dreadfully worn down stamp on the back of them, no fancy printing or a date on them, nothing, they were just raffle tickets, the same raffle tickets you’d buy down below at your local wheel of fortune.
I thought to myself “sure jaysus this has be some sort of a joke, sure anyone could just go to a pound shop, buy a booklet of these and drink themselves into an early grave!” And just like that, the hamster in my head got a 2nd wind and began to pelt full blast on the treadmill, at this stage my poor aul mind was running at a 100MPH. So I rang a mate of mine (another cowboy) to see if his hamster was going full throttle as well and sure jaysus of course it was. So after work, we headed to the pound store got two booklets of tickets and off to the party with us.
We arrived to the hotel a short time later, got the boring crap out of the way: the check in, sussing out the room, throwing the shower bag on the bed etc. Then it was straight down to the bar for a few scoops to wet the tongue. We both agreed we wouldn’t tell a soul about our idea; it was our own little plan. So later that evening, we all got togged out in our formal wear, at this stage the drink vouchers were being accepted at the bar, so we said now was the time to 'tempt our fate'. Being the cowboys we are we gave another lad our tickets (which had no stamp on them) to go ‘test the water’. “Here Johnny, take my tickets there to get us a round in, I’ve a few extra”.
 So off went Johnny up to the bar, ordered 3 fine pints of stout, she took 3 vouchers off him, didn’t bat an eyelid at the back of the voucher to see if there was a stamp on them, she just handed him the pints and moved on to the next thirsty customer. As our little guinea pig was heading back towards us with 3 creamy pints, myself and my buddy looked at each other “We’re made lad, let’s go nuts!!”
So as we floored the pints into us we started to get cocky and confident, each time we were out in the smoking area we would hand out tickets to people “here, I’m good mates with the gaffer, he gave me a few extra vouchers, have a few of mine” as you can imagine this went down very very well with our colleagues, people thought we were the boss, the pimp, the bhoyyss whatever else you wana call us. I myself stood there with a JD in one hand a bummed cigarette in the other and handed out the vouchers to one and all like I was Tony facking Soprano.
Everyone was in serious form, it was one of the best nights I’ve ever. Then, come about 3 a.m., I staggered up to the bar, ordered 2 vodkas with a dash of blackcurrant (it was all my stomach could handle at that stage!) and as I was doing all night I handed the bar lady my 67th drink voucher. She replies “we don’t accept drink vouchers anymore” .. “huh, and why is that” I muttered, in an awful drunken state   “I’ll tell ya why”.. she turned her body 180 degrees and says “just look over there at the till”, so I looked over to the till, struggling to see it mind you, and I’m not joking you there must have been 10,000 tickets all over the shop, in the till, on top of the till, under the till, on the floor, in the booklets, they were facking everywhere.… “Someone was acting the bollix with the drink vouchers, so we only accept cash now” says she. “Jayyyysus the cute whoors huh”.. I says to her. Handed her a tenner and staggered back my table.

I then caught my partner in crimes attention, who was on the dance floor in flying form going mental to “summer of 69”. When he eventually staggered in my direction I says to him “look out at that dance floor pal”. The place was absolutely on wheels, hopping so it was; everyone was in the form of their lives. I picked up my drinks handed my buddy one and I made a toast “you can go to college for 16 years, you can memorise every page of  encyclopaedias but if you don’t think outside the box the odd time and have a bit of devilment in you, you’ll go nowhere in this cruel world. Cheers lad and happy Christmas”