Grandpa is going to tell another one of his stories.
“Long, long time ago I can still remember … in a time before the internet.”
“You were alive in a time when there was no internet, Grandpa?”
Indeed I was, children, indeed I was.”
Grandpa already begins to repeat himself.
“For entertainment we sometimes went to a pub, a place you could drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Inside.
“No, they did not serve artisan sourdough bread, drizzled with truffle-infused cold-pressed olive oil from Umbria. Sometimes you could get chicken in a basket, but that was usually only when itinerant politicians came in from the wilderness.
“Chicken in a basket? Go ask your Granny. She is the one for the detail. No, Jesse, I do not think it is like Poulet de Bresse.
“As far as I can recall, Jacob, they did not generally serve Chateau Margaux in Ballydehob – Medoc wines really only became popular a little later on.
“I used to like to make up questions for the pub quiz. I used books, lots of books. I had a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica that my daddy sold me when he was trying to make some extra money because those Fianna Fáil scoundrels stole his pension. Oh, it is all such a long time ago now.
“Yes, Grace you can have a book that is made of paper. Can you really look up Encyclopaedia Britannica online now? For free! Anyway stop trying to addle me, let me get back to my story.”
One of Grandpa’s favourite questions was: What have Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck, Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam and Halldór Kiljan Laxness got in common?
Not many people knew the answer to that. This made Grandpa very happy. Granny said he had a big ego (they first fell out at a pub quiz). They know now it is because their brains work differently, but back then Grandpa would get very cross because he thought that Granny was not trying hard enough. Granny said Grandpa was very trying. She said it very often.
“You want to know what the answer is, Ben? Of course you do. They all won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Even better, they each won their prize in the year that my daddy, my mammy and myself were born.”
“Aren’t you the cute hoor, Grandpa.”
“I am, Theo, I am. Mind your mother does not hear you use that language.”
“Tell us another story, Grandpa.”
“Did I ever tell you about when I met Bob Dylan on the Main Street in Carrick-on-Suir? It must have been around 1965; I was just a little boy. No, Finlay, I do not know if that was before that naughty man shouted ‘Judas’ at him in Manchester. Look it up on your bloody iPad.”