Saturday, 14 April 2012

The love of the Irish and great fish

Everyone likes the Irish. Well, apart from other Irishmen. Though even their internecine feuding can sometimes be overcome by some overarching cause, such as their shared animosity towards the English.

I have to say that I only have to hear that brogue to expect to like the speaker. It happened today, in Fishers in Oxford (don’t know it? Make a beeline to the place: an outstanding fish restaurant for mid-market prices). My mother wasn’t well and couldn’t cope with the wholemeal bread on offer, so our Irish waitress popped out to the local supermarket to buy some white for her.

Well worth a visit
It put my wife Danielle in mind of an experience she had two or three years ago, travelling around Ireland with a salesman. They got dangerously low on diesel and popped into the post office in a tiny village.

‘Well, I know just the place for you,’ said the postmistress. She quickly shut up shop and took them out of the village and up rutted back lanes to a farmhouse.

‘Why, of course I can help you out,’ the farmer assured them, taking them to his personal diesel pump. Minutes later they had enough fuel in the tank to get them to the next town and filling station. When it came to payment, the farmer was adamant. ‘To be sure, it would take me longer to work out than the money would be worth,’ and off they went, not just rescued but rescued free of charge.

It’s that kind of story that gives the Irish such a soft spot in all our hearts. Kind. Welcoming. Generous. And barely aggressive at all most of the time.

Why, this year they were even generous enough to let the English not simply beat them but stuff them in the Six Nations rugby championship.

You can hardly be more decent that that, can you?

No comments: