04 November 2010

For you and for me, and the entire human race

Thursday AM, my phone rings. It sits at the side of the bed as I sleep, never switched off, but never ringing. People know better than to phone me on Thursday AM.

Wait, that's not right, I've done this bit before, something's not right.

Its Thursday, 7:45am, and my phone is ringing. I'm up out of bed and answering before I know where I am, or what I'm doing, people know better than to call me at, checks the time again, 7:46am, this is going to be bad.

Its Thursday, 7:46am, and my good friend D. is calling me from Bratislava, which is odd. Its not odd that he is in Bratislava, for that is where he lives (I have visited him there a number of times, its nice), it is odd that he is calling me at 7:46am. Calls at stupid o'clock are normally of the a) 'something bad has happened to someone you know' variety, or b) 'something bad has happened to the person calling' variety. Option a) involves much grief and visits to the hospital, Option b) involves the sending of money, the lending of a new set of clothes and the keys to your car, or the participation in a nefarious government conspiracy that somehow involves the doctor out of ER who used to have a crutch, and mysteriously now does not, all in an attempt to avoid much grief and visits to the hospital.

"Davie," for he calls me that, "Its D. I need you to go out and buy me all the Dubliner cheese you can. And some marmalade. And maybe some porridge".

This, I was not expecting.

"D.", I say, "Where are ye, are they holding you against your will, and what exactly is the porridge for, is this a cholesterol thing?"

"I'm in Bratislava, and its for the women, Davie, its for the women"

"The porridge? The marmalade?"

"The whole lot, Davie, the whole lot."

Now, I am confused. Its 7:48am.

While I stand there in my rather crumpled birthday suit in the middle of the kitchen, trying to figure out what type of emergency is best rectified by lashings of marmalade and porridge (one involving lost Peruvian bears, no doubt), his words slowly filter through to my still semi-conscious brain. The local ex-pat communities in Bratislava aided and abetted by their respective Embassies (so it was a government conspiracy, I thought, one involving multiple governments, but where does the cheese come into all of this?) are hosting a fundraiser for a local women's charity. The fundraiser involves each country setting up a stall selling their nation's produce, only the person supposed to be sending over all the stuff for the Irish stall fell through at the last minute (ah, that's why they want the cheese. I was waaaaay off with what I was thinking. Never mind), and D. was hoping I could go out and do a bit of shopping for him.

"Ah," I thought to myself, "that makes sense."

"No it doesn't, monkey boy" said my lizard hindbrain, which being less evolved than my proper brain isn't as polite as it should be, "it's 7:51am! Who calls someone at 7:51am to ask you to go out shopping?"

Although I was surprised that my lizard hindbrain understood the concept of shopping, it had a point.

Unfortunately while my monkey-boy brain and lizard hindbrain were having this little tete-a-tete somehow my mouth had said, "Um, sure, no problems D." and the call ended.

"Stupid Mouth!" my monkey-boy brain and lizard hindbrain said in unison, exasperated that 200,000 years of human evolution had given neither of them any more control over my mouth than the Greens have over Paul Gogarty.

It was now 7:55am. I went back to bed.

Some indefinite time later I got up for the second time to check my email, and found that the following shopping list had arrived:
10 x Dubliner Irish cheese 200g
10 x Kerrygold Butter 200g
10 x Old Time Irish coarse cut marmalade
20 x Cadbury selection pack snowman
2 x Cadbury Heroes 900g
5 x Cadbury Crunchie treat size 274g
5 x Cadbury Twirl treat size 274g
10 x Flahavans Porridge 1.5kg
Two immediate problems sprung to mind. The first philosophical, the second far more practical. To begin with the majority of items on the list are not actually Irish, most of the Cadbury's are made in the UK (and obviously its a UK brand), and despite its "Old Time Irish" moniker none of the marmalade is actually made here, again it is all from the UK. The cheese, butter and porridge is all Irish, but they are responsible for the second of the most pressing concerns, the fact that 20 kilos of porridge, butter and cheese is just not going to fit comfortably in the basket of my rented DublinBike.

Unfortunately I don't actually figure out that second problem until I am standing in the rain outside the supermarket with 20 kilos of porridge, butter and cheese, staring forlornly at my rented DublinBike.

"Stupid monkey-boy!", my lizard hindbrain says helpfully.

Ignoring the philosophical conundrum as being above my pay-grade on this particular mission, and after trips to four city centre supermarkets, I have the bulk of the order, and now must set about the second part of my task, delivering the goods safely to Bratislava in time for the fundraiser and for this, at least, I know my rented DublinBike will be no good.

Thankfully D. had arranged for the kind people in the Slovakian shop on the Quays to take the delivery over to Bratislava in their van tomorrow, and so off I go in a taxi to bring the emergency marmalade, porridge and cheese and draw to a close this most bizarre of mornings.

Did you know there are two Slovakian shops on the Quays?

These are the things you learn only after your taxi has disappeared over the horizon leaving you standing in the rain with 30 kilos of porridge, butter, marmalade and cheese, much to the amusement of the (wrong) Slovakian shopkeepers pointing out the other (right) Slovakian shop a further 1.1km further down the Quays.

Luckily I spotted a DublinBike station across the road from the (wrong) Slovakian shop.

"How did you guys ever climb out of the trees?" asked my incredulous lizard hindbrain.

A second taxi-ride later I had successfully entrusted my emergency marmalade package to the care of the very nice people in the (right) Slovakian shop. Duty done, friendship upheld, women saved, and the honour of Ireland preserved through the selling of UK-produced goods.

Somehow this counts as a win in my book.


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At 1:21 pm, Anonymous steve said...

your porridge is expandinr

At 2:08 pm, Blogger Unkie Dave said...

yes, it got very wet.

actually it didn't, just more items got added to the box as the day went on. The day started with 20Kg of butter, cheese and porridge, and over the course of the morning I added another 10Kg of marmalade and chocolate.

At 3:33 pm, Blogger Snag Breac said...

I did actually notice recently that Cadbury's Mint Crisps are made in Ireland, and even better they have nettle in them. And spinach. I thought that was quite Irish in a sense...
Thats a completely ridiculous amount of food to be dragging around!


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