23 a day

I had a strange encounter yesterday when I went in the village shop for my daily nicotine fix. For a while, I thought our ever-helpful ‘shop-girl’ Bridie had overdone it on the home-brewed mountain dew. I casually spoke my normal phrase of “20 Bensons please” but she replied with words which sounded like, “D’ya want 20 or 23?”
I tried not to make her feel embarrassed, so I responded with a politely repeated “20 Bensons please”.
“D’ya want 20 or 23?”
“Er ….. great win for Europe in the Ryder Cup. Now Bridie – 20 Bensons please”.
“Oh, the golf was great. D’ya want 23?”
This awkward conversation went back and forth for some time, until Bridie reached into the hidden ciggie shelf below the counter and produced a box of Bensons which made me feel light-headed. It was all out of proportion as though someone had been tampering with my monitor screen ratio settings. It was a packet of 23 B&H.

It turns out that the tobacco pushers in Ireland have started to produce packets of 23 which are priced at a handy ten euros, instead of the awkward eight-sixty-something for 20. I don’t know what the anti-smoking lobby will make of this when they find out. It is clear to me that the Irish government is happy to raise more revenue by subliminally enticing the nation’s smokers to increase their daily intake by 15%. This recession-busting policy is certainly working already in the pubs. I am definitely drinking 15% more lager since the price was dropped to the more competitive price of 3 euros per pint.

So Danny, if you get a wheezing old Irish fella in your surgery and you ask him the obligatory, “how many cigarettes do you smoke per day?”, then do not be surprised when he answers with the mathematically baffling “Oh, I try to stick to 23 a day”.

It was a tiring day for me too yesterday. A quick teatime tipple just about got me over the line. I fell asleep when gay Marcus started taking an interest in Maria’s breasts [Corrie on telly] – but I woke up in time for the one-year anniversary edition of Midwest Radio’s TV Show. Sounds daft, but it’s true. Channel 191 on Sky at 10pm each Monday. A very popular show, especially with lonesome ex-pats. They play videos by ‘legendary’ bands which you never knew existed. The weekly highlight is always Tom Hennigan’s Culture Corner slot, filmed down at his old farm near Killasser. Last night he had us in the re-constructed schoolhouse single classroom, explaining why he got regularly whacked by the vicious master using an array of gruesome (preserved) weapons. Something to do with only having six spoons in the cutlery drawer for a family of fourteen kids, so Tom only ever got his morning porridge during the second sitting – and a whack from the schoolmaster for being late in class after the barefoot walk from Rubble to Killasser. No cosy school runs in the Mitsubishi 4×4 in them days. Makes the Christian Brothers at John Rigby seem as gentle as a Moorslayer.

Ta-ta

Ged , you are becoming famous amongst my fellow Pilgrims as I read out each of your comments to them . Their next ”pilgrimage” will be to Killybacside at this rate .

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