Monday 29 March 2010

... and in second place... Chapter 5 of ‘Do I Love Ireland? “Balls and No Problem - the Irish attitude to service”, so here are 2 bonus clips!

"Balls and No problem - The Irish attitude to service" came in a close second, with Chapter 8, "Brown envelopes, Bertie and old beef" just behind in third.

This chapter is a strange mix of sporting ball-inspired nonsense and musings on wonderful and terrible service.
Thanks for your votes, my loyal colyoomistas. I hope you enjoy these excerpts.

October 2006.
It was fresh when it was squeezed.

The inside of my mouth feels as if I slept with it stuffed by a Sumo wrestler's used nappy, so alongside my breakfast I decide to treat myself to a freshly-squeezed orange juice, which comes in at a natty €2.95.
The waitress brings my tea, but fails to notice that there is no milk jug on my table. I am loathe to make any unnecessary contact with her, as she has glowered and scowled at me already, so I wait until she goes to the kitchen and then nip over to another table to nick one.
She returns with my toast, as advertised, which turns out not to be toast at all, but slightly heated slices of stale sourdough bread, cut into small pieces, doubtless left over from last night's dinner menu.
Ho hum. Isn't it great to be out for brekkie? I refuse to have the simple pleasure of my treat diminished by getting down over scanty detail.
A few minutes later, staring down at my breakfast, I wonder how so many ingredients listed on the menu can take up so little room on the plate. The only item that seems to occupy a large portion of china is the potato cake, from which is spilling a grease slick that you could probably see from space.
I listen eagerly to the radio news to find out if Greenpeace are sending an emergency team to deal with this local ecological crisis.
No matter. Tra la la, be not grumpy. After all, I am not cooking this food, not washing these dishes, and that is something to be grateful for.
Aha, and here comes my freshly-squeezed orange juice.
Sadly, there is no ignoring the fact that looks completely the wrong colour.
It is not the orange of an orange. It is not the orange of concentrated orange juice. It is not even, god save us, the orange of a reconstituted frozen concentrated orange juice.
In fact, it looks like a urine specimen taken from someone who has been on the red lemonade for far too long.
One sip is gingerly taken and yes, it tastes just as ghastly as it looks. There is neither the merest hint of 'orange' nor 'fresh' about it, but what to do? After all, I do not want to give out to my waitress, who inevitably is not responsible for brewing this vile poison.
To be fair to her, I don't need to say a word. Perchance she is made aware of my discomfort by my non-verbal communication, which consists of a splendid one-man matinée performance, stretching the boundaries of acceptable facial expression.
“Is there a problem?” she asks, and a shiver of fear runs down my spine. Goose pimples rise all over my skin, as I dare to meet her steely impatient eyes.
“Is this really freshly-squeezed?” I offer timidly.
“It was freshly-squeezed last night!” comes the reply, which is so brilliant, original, imaginative and mind-boggling, that I merely nod, and replace my drink on the table.
The thought of that rank old juice sitting in a hot kitchen for hours on end repulses me, but I am not about to climb into the ring for a heavyweight bout with my waitress, because if she cannot see the crassness of her words, I am not going to be the lucky winner to educate her.
In fact, I manage to remain un-grumpy throughout, mostly because I keep running what she said through my mind, over and over in a loop, the cumulative effect of which is to make me smile, then chuckle to myself, then to beam happily and face the day with joy in my heart.


Many years before he became the national Irish football team manager, this colyoom had spotted yer man Trap’s natural talent:

June 2007.
Trap’s a one for the words.

Giovanni Trapattoni, who I strongly suspect might be Italian, is the coach of Austrian soccer champions, Red Bull Salzburg.
Showing a poetic talent that, despite his managerial achievements, suggests he might well have followed the wrong career, Snr. Trapattoni let rip at a bunch of German journalists who were criticising his fitness coach, Fausto Rossi.
“Our training is strong. Is modern. Training wins also. I have 21 trophies. There is blah, blah, blah from you. Fools write who know nothing. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I can understand people paying. No problema! Let whistle, is right. Have lost. But run 90 minutes! I am a professional when it comes to psychology. We train, make fitness. You people always make qua, qua, qua! Shit fools!”
Very well said sir! I speak no Italian and only a little German, but reading that just makes me want to learn both

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