‘Isn’t it wonderful weather?’
‘Go hiontach’ I agreed.
Your man has a habit of stating the obvious. But he was right. For once.
The weather is gorgeous. Big blue sky stretched over us. The sun beaming
‘I wud love a beer.’ He continued. ‘An ice cold lager. From Belgium or
Germany or the Nordic countries. A natural ice cold lager. Without
I looked closely at him.
‘In a big glass.’
We were nearly home after a quick skite up the Black Mountain. His drought started at the Hatchet Field.
‘I have some lager in the shed since Christmas’ I volunteered.
‘Ah’ he said ‘ I thought I saw them when I borrowed your spade’.
‘When did you borrow my spade?’ I asked.
‘Last week’ he replied.
‘To dig holes for the fence poles for my chicken run’.
‘Ah…..when are you getting chickens?’
‘I’m working on it. I have to pick my moment very carefully. Otherwise I’m snookered. I can’t ask until I know I will get a yes’.
‘So did you touch the beer?’
‘Nope. I didn’t touch a thing. Except the spade’.
By now we were at the bottom of the mountain lonnan.
‘I wudn’t mind getting ducks as well’ he reflected as we cut across the
‘Only ducks like water and I don’t think I wud get away with digging a
pool out the back. Getting the chicken run done will be a big enough
challenge to my relationship.’
‘My granny used to keep chickens in the coalhole’ I recalled. ‘but not
ducks. I like duck eggs.’
‘How many beer have you?’ He asked.
‘I ate an ostrich egg once’ I continued ‘ a guy outta the azoo gave me it.
Very strong. Like a big duck egg. I used a pint glass as an egg cup’.
‘I wud have fresh chicken eggs every day if I get chickens. I might even
give you some.’
‘Fear maith thú. That deserves a beer. Here we are now.’
Minutes later we sat out the back, shaded slightly from the warm sun and
contemplated the pitchers of golden lager.
‘Slainte’ Your man raised his glass and saluted me.
‘First today’ he said.
‘That was a great walk.’
I agreed. We sat quietly for an hour enjoying the sun, the birdsong and
the sound of a neighbour preparing a barbeque. And the beer. When the
remnants of the Christmas drink was dispatched your man made ready to go.
‘Thanks for the beer’ he said.
‘Failte’ I replied. ‘Big Mickey gave them to me for you just before
Christmas . It’s lucky I forgot about them or we wudn’t be able to enjoy
Your man wasn’t well pleased.
‘Did Mickey give you anything else for me?’ he snarled.
‘Nawh’ I said. ‘Just the Pils. Sure didn’t we enjoy them?’
‘Aye’ he relented after a minute’s quiet reflection.
‘Good luck with the chickens.’ I said.
‘I‘ll get you your spade back when I’m finished. Slán.’
‘Slán’ I replied ‘Do you think you’ll be able to give a hand in the
‘Aye’ he said ‘ No problem. Give me a shout when you need me. By the way
does that guy who gave you the ostrich egg still work in the azoo?’
‘Nawh’ I said ‘but big Mickey knows a man who knows a man who has
‘Hardly an Easter present’ your man shoke his head.
'I’ll stick to Rhode Island Reds. If you don’t mind. Thanks again for the
beer. Even if it was me own. It rounded off a fine day’.
‘Aye’ I agreed. ‘Now we’ve finished yours I’m going to get stuck into mine.’
Your man stopped on his way out.
‘You cannot be serious’.
‘I’m only jokin’ I laughed.
He looked doubtful.
‘Politicians’ he exclaimed ‘I don’t know whether to believe you or not!’
I eased him through the door.
‘See ya’ he said.
‘Nivver believe an election promise’ I shouted at his departing figure.
Then I made my way back to the shed. Big Mickey was a decent man. May his giving hand never be empty.
A fine day indeed.