As the old joke goes: First prize in tonight's draw is a week's holiday in Cavan. Second prize? Two weeks' holiday in Cavan.
Pah, slag us off if you like, I'm off to sunny Breffniland for the weekend and I'm looking forward to it. I haven't darkened the border of my home county since Christmas, and me and the old sod have some catching up to do. By old sod I mean my place of birth and not my father or anything, by the way.
There's surely a pint of Smithwicks down there with my name on it. Well, there would be if I was called Smithwick McSmithwicks but I'm not. Anyway, I'll be drinking alot of it this weekend and generally holding court and regaling the awestruck locals with my tales of bodice-ripping derring-do and gadding about in the big shmoke.
I like Cavan. It has a reputation for being a backward backwoods backwater where common pastimes include inbreeding, rolling dwarves down steep hills, Satanic masses and the little known sexual practice of smearing one's lover in black molasses before rolling them in hundreds and thousands and licking the whole lot off. But I think it's just eclectic. Indeed, Cavan is a cultural mecca of sorts. Well, ok, agricultural mecca, we do have alot of piggeries and chicken farms but the world of Denny convenience pies would be a lesser place for our absence, so think first before you pass judgement.
Nightlife options are extensive. You can go to the pub or the off-licence, or hop onto a 15-seater minibus to the dishco with about 50 other people, and spend the 20-mile journey with your face mashed into the arse of the person in front of you who had tried to sit on your knee but couldn't because your knees are somewhere behind your ears and it's touch and go as to whether you're getting them back.
Otherwise, the pubs are functional spots in that there'll be a bar with drink behind it, usually someone to pour it, and somewhere out the back a toilet with, occasionally, toilet roll. As the ad on the radio says, what it lacks in excitement it more than makes up for with its complete lack of excitement. And the fact that you'll still get a pint at 1.30am, wa-hey! Plus, something shloppy and greasy in the Chinese chipper afterwards, by which I mean the food as opposed to some wanton hussy of dubious morals, and parentage. Then again, a few Cavan marriages have been founded on the steady rock of a last-chance teriyaki-trembler up the lane outside. We're nothing if not classy.
My Mum will tell me I'm going to the gym too much - "You could turn round twice in your own trousers" is a particular favourite on these visits - and so she will sneak into my bedroom and surreptitiously feed me burgers and chips whilst I sleep, or continually pop up like Mrs. Doyle from behind the settee with trays of sandwiches that would buckle a horse at the knees if he tried to eat them. I think I'll scoff a few Easter eggs to stay on the right side of her.
With Dad, unpleasantries on the weather will be exchanged as a preamble, and then it will be on to matters sport, and the state of Cavan's football misfortunes will be discussed. (Cavan football is such an irrelevance in the rest of the country so it's great to get home and give the doughty topic the airing it deserves with like-minded individuals, i.e. people as bitter and twisted as I am about how shite we are. I don't even blog about it, that's how bad it is).
The full McDanger clan will be out in force for the long weekend and the mobilisation of the entire brood is an impressive sight when we all gather with offspring in tow. We're a productive bunch. Every time I go home I discover a new niece or nephew that looks about three or four years of age, so I guess we either have longer gestation periods than the average human or else we lose a few kids down the back of the sofa for a few years until they get hungry and come out to puzzled looks, whereupon someone remembers that brother McDanger's youngest hasn't been seen since Christmas. 2005.
Oh it'll be fun. I'll be back when I wake up next week.
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