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All at sea

October 1, 2012

I enjoyed a vegetarian breakfast. I need that concept to be parked for a few moments. Obviously a proper breakfast cannot possibly be proper without sausages, bacon, black pudding and enough cholesterol to help one towards a reading in double figures, or so I thought. Being in the loo (an occupational hazard when one gets to my age and has been subjected to an intensive 3 day course of what Johnny O Sullivan calls “Vitamin G” – Guinness -) that nice lady selected my breakfast from the menu at the charming Nimo’s a stone shack on the port at Galway whilst I was considering the latest exchange rate news.

The vegetarian breakfast brought together such unwelcome bed fellows as a fried egg and spinach. Clearly the egg was a given but spinach? For breakfast? No right thinking man without that nice lady decorator as a wife could accept that. Then I remembered that it was that nice lady decorator to whom I am married and, being a coward at heart, I ate it, and it was fantastic. I can hardly believe I am saying this, I will probably come over all cuddly and pink and start changing babies nappies or something now, but there you have it. I have discovered I am a closet vegetarian. Peachy Butterfield will now be able to give me the vegetarian option (fu*k off) if ever he opens the restaurant of which he has been dreaming.

The shock of this dawning realisation was tempered a little when I thought about it and found some solace in the fact that Guinness is made out of hops and barley, and wine out of grapes, so the signs of rampant vegetarianism were there for all to see, I had just missed them. Thus I decided to celebrate this new found character fault by taking on board a great deal more vegetarian material. mostly in the form of Guinness through the rest of yesterday, just to confirm my new status. Then I consumed some crushed grapes for good measure.

The idea to go to the Weir restaurant was abandoned so I will have to wait until tomorrow to enjoy further the Irish coastline, a picture of which I feature today.

View on the way to Doolin from Galway

On the way to Doolin from Galway

Yesterday was a big day for sport, especially in Ireland. The All Ireland replay of the previously drawn Hurling Final took place between Galway and Kilkenney at Croake Park. If you think hurling is a minority sport, consider this; 82,500 people attended and they could have sold as many tickets again. That is as big as a sold out FA cup final at Wembley for a much smaller country with a fraction of the UK population. We were lucky enough to be in Galway when it happened. Although the result did not go as the locals had planned, the Ryder Cup golf, on every TV in every bar in Galway with the notable exception of our dinner venue, Fat Freddy’s, (chosen rather inevitably by the female contingent) did. There can be no better place to be to experience such a win, unless it was in America, but I guess celebration there may have been a tad less popular.

As a great deal of Guinness and then red wine was consumed during the day there were inevitably a few little tit bits of the sort so beloved by regular readers of this column. I think my favourite of these was John “800 Years Of Repression” O Sullivan asking me if I was in touch with my mangina. It was noisy in the pub and I thought he was making some reference to my new book to be called “The Valbonne Monologues” but I was mistaken. Apparently my answer “I am completely focused on it but have not finished yet” was not what he had expected.

Chris France


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