Having enjoyed the bustling environs of the Shelbourne Hotel’s bar, it was time for dinner.
Big Al steered me to South Georges Street’s “The Rustic Stone,” notable for its use of an old Spanish cooking technique.
Customers are served their meat or fish dishes on a hot volcanic stone to cook themselves (I have a minor burn–unfortunately resembling a wart–on the knuckle of my left hand’s index finger to prove I did battle with my own hot volcanic stone).
Our waiter had an English accent and we discovered he’d previously been a solider in the British Army’s Royal Engineers.
After a half-bottle of Chianti, I thanked him and his brethren for building the bridge crossings used by Challenger 2 tanks during my training as a seriously navigationally-embarrassed Troop Leader on the Canadian prairies.
By the end of the meal it was just like old times: two pissed officers being taken care of by a switched-on soldier, with the waiter kindly coming out onto the street and steering us to a recommended pub nearby.
There we found behind the bar that fine Belgium beer Leffe, guaranteed to stoke the flames of lively debate. Hence Big Al and I proceeded to then have an in-depth conversation about my apparent need to live away from the U.K. and by doing so turning my back on that fair isle and its inhabitants.
After all the whiskey, Guinness, cocktails and wine imbibed, it was hard for me to come up with much of a justification for what appears a snubbing of my homeland, so I settled to put it down to a character flaw on my part.
Though with three-quarters of the blood that flows through my veins being Irish, perhaps it’s something to do with that rebel yell of old and which echoed out from the windows of Dublin’s General Post Office on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916.