The Irishman who says bollocks


Yesterday I had posted that I was going to go out and try and take some pictures even though by the time I dragged my ass out of bed and took a shower it was well into the evening dark. To my credit, I was all prepared when I marched down the stairs with my camera rigged up for what I wanted to shoot in my backpack and I had my hat and gloves ready.

I stopped by the lower bar where Pete was tending, shook his hand and settled my remaining debt with the bar. They’re very cool about tabs, probably because I’m staying with them, but I never like to have an outstanding debt.

That’s when I met Mr. Patsy. He was an Irish gentleman that I had heard stories from the day before. Every time that someone would mention Patsy the person adjacent would yell Bollocks! in a deep and growly tone.

For those of you not aware of the term bollocks, it is an English expression (and used by many other countries) that means balls. You can use it in so many ways to express so many things. It’s also been one of my favorite words since my brother-in-law introduced me to it years ago. If you wanted to say that the DMV was a headache, one could say “The DMV is a bunch of bollocks.” or let us say that you forgot your hat, “Ah, bollocks! I forgot my hat!” or if someone says something just stupid, you’d be well inclined to simply yell, Bollocks!
In Patsy’s case he used to punctuate sentences, all of them.

What you would end up with is a bunch of inaudible Irish speak with a trailing, grumbly Bollocks! at the end. Patsy would usually stop for just a moment after saying something, or realizing that he wasn’t making a point and yell Bollocks!

The man could also drink pint after pint. He was well capable of keeping up with anyone in the bar. Later Pete would tell me that he knew his way around women and was often quite lucky. I’m not sure exactly how one does that grumbling half obscenities at the female variety…but maybe that’s just something I’m missing.

As everyone was laughing at me desperately trying to understand Patsy I mentioned that I needed to go out and find a good meal. Aside from a few slices of oven pizza and the delicious appetizers from the prior night, I hadn’t eaten anything since my cardboard and cheese sandwich on the airplane. Pete and Jill recommended a good fishmonger around the corner and said they’d go along, after we finished a couple of pints each of bitter, of course.

I was really happy to have the company, as I was still a bit timid about going out. The noise outside my window never stops here. This city does quiet down at times because a lot of people work but don’t live here, but it doesn’t stop the constant noise and city traffic. What ensued was a brilliant meal, great conversation, and some really good insight into European living from Jill and Pete’s perspective.

We ate dinner at the Loch Fyne restaurant. They are a chain, but originated from Scotland where the water is cold and the sea fare is great. I suspect everything we had was pulled out of the ocean within only a few days. We all had a starter which was absolutely delicious. We shared some fresh oysters for the table with a few spicy and savory additions. While I’m not big on oysters I can start to see the appeal when they are fresh. Not something I’d go out of my way to get, but Pete absolutely adores them. There is also a bit of a debate about how you eat oysters, whether or not you crunch them a bit before you let them slide back. I was with Pete on crunching to get a bit more of the taste.

My personal starter was potted shrimp. I had never had it before, but it was amazing. Basically it’s a small glass jar with shrimp pate and butter on top. It comes with little slices of bread to put it on. Fantastic. I followed this up with a North Atlantic haddock fish and chips served traditionally with mushy peas. A couple of bottles of white wine for the table and some bread added in made a delicious meal.

Pete, Jill and I made comparisons between American and UK culture and talked about travel, the best parts of France to visit and how they enjoyed their work in the bar. It was all brilliant and I had a great time getting to know my inn keepers, bar managers, and a couple of people I’m glad to call friends.

We left the fishmonger and headed back to the pub, our little home in the world. Pete and I started drinking some more bitter and chatting a bit while the young kid in their employ was tasked with cleaning up the bar. He was attending King’s College for a film degree and working in the pub just as many other of Pete’s workers have over the years. Good bloke, that one.

I was challenged to a game of darts by an old Englishman who apparently is a freaking darts ninja. He was sinking 20s like no one’s business and made very, very short work out of my “skills” at darts.
Shortly after that, the pub closed, Jill retired upstairs to bed and it was just Pete, the barman, and myself.

Pete is a really cool guy. He got into what he does now because he likes to socialize. It fits him well. Every time I see Pete he’s got a horde of people around him and he is very inclusive and funny. His particular dialect and accent reminds me a bit of British sitcoms. Jill would argue that she speaks “the Queen’s English” proving such by making Pete say words like grass, bath, and tooth. Pete pronounces such words as gr-ss, b-th, and tuth.

Pete’s son works in the bar and attends college. A lot of the younger kids he hires do the same. He looks for good people to surround him at the bar and we talked at great length last night about trust and the importance of finding good help. He also has a sort of social agenda that comes out in his pub management. He always makes sure that people who come into his pub are respectable.

The Lyceum has no TVs, no live music. It’s a conversational pub that is geared around people. Last night a couple of kids started playing music on a portable device and Pete was quick to shut that right down. He also enjoys word associations with people who wander in the bar and crudely ask for “beer” or “toilets.”

A young man wandered in last night and said “toilets.” Pete looked at him and went “toilet paper.” Confused, the kid asked “Do you know where the toilets are?” Yeah, Pete responded with a grin. Pete told me that if someone comes in and says “beer” without saying please he always plays with them a bit until they ask nicely. We made some connections about culture and which cultures have social grace.

Pete is changing the world, one rude bloke at a time.

We also talked about cooking. Pete loves to cook and tries to keep away from processed food. I’m just now getting exposed to that world of homemade cooking, wine, and the simple pleasures of life.

The subjects went on and on until Pete and I were visibly mashed up.

What I had no idea, or failed to realize, was that Pete can drink an exceptional amount of alcohol. I like to think I held myself up pretty good as well…but at the end of the night my head was swimming pretty well. Cider, if you’re not familiar, is a beer made with apples for a sweet lager taste. I’ve never liked it, but the barrel ran out on the bitter, so Pete switched me to cider.

Drastic mistake, that cider.

After a quite a few pints I was pissed up as I could be as the hour started approaching 3 AM. I had to sit on the edge of my bit for a few moments to try and talk myself into a better mental state so I could pass out without getting sick. I rode right to the edge of my tolerance and peered off the cliff for a while as I sat in my little room, drinking tap water and focusing my mind elsewhere.

In the end it all worked out. I’ve now slept far too late and I’m getting ready for the day and making this blog entry. I just need to find a decent coffee shop with a wireless Internet connection so I can post yesterday and today’s blog entries for my loyal fans.

Update: Found a nice little independent tea house around the corner from The Lyceum. Updated my posts finally and now I’m heading back out into the city streets of London.

Cheers for now, mates,
lunks


4 responses to “The Irishman who says bollocks”

  1. I already like Pete … a lot. Buy him a beer from me would you, and tell him to keep up with changing the world one ignorant arsehole at a time, and i’ll do my best to keep up with my own campaign this side of the atlantic.

    A great read Tyson, really buzzing of the fact your having so much fun.

  2. You know, I’d love to see what you’re like when you’re smashed. But I don’t think I’ll ever see it since I’d be asleep about five hours before that ever happens.

    Glad to see you’re enjoying the trip!

    Smell ya later!
    Brian

  3. I like the picture of you with the beer kegs. You have the look of someone who intends to consume all alcohol in said kegs or die trying.

    Oh, and how the hell are you finding time to write so damn much?

  4. Laurence, Pete is a fantastic guy. He has been super nice to me and has bridged all the locals to me. I feel really at home around the group and its funny watching him toss out people who’ve been banned or are being dicks. I’ll be writing about that shortly.

    Brian, I’ve been training for the beer olympics for three solid days over here. I’m surprised at how much beer goes around at this pub and at 1.98/pint of bitter I’ve been buying rounds like crazy 🙂

    Mmm, beer. Josh, their best beer is the bitter which is kept in traditional oak casks in the basement and only assisted by air. They actually pull/pump the taps upstairs to fill the beer and they serve it with a proper head. Its a beer fan’s dream.

    I like the writing. Usually in the AM I catch up and then when I can find Internet I grab a cup of coffee and chill out for a bit. Its how I best remember trips.

    Cheers fellas!
    Tyson

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