Many thanks to all who sent lovely messages saying how greatly you were missing updates from The Swashbuachaill. I can only assume they were genuine as Dear Old Sainted Mother Swashbuachaill is currently barred from the local internet cafe after burning out three hard drives ‘liking’ my last post. So, I believe some sort of explanation for The Swashbuachaill’s absence is in order.
Twas the night before Christmas Eve and around the table were gathered my most excellent friends, Mossy Beaucoup, local boy made good and now top wino out of Paris, and a pair of Fabulous Foleys, the exquisitely-coiffed and most distinguished singer, Chanson Foley, and poker player extraordinaire and long-time Best Man, The Gambler Foley. Naturally, Mrs Swashbuachaill was seated at the head of the table, monitoring the drinking and wading in when fistfights got out of hand.
Having marinaded some of Martin O’Leary’s Beara Organic Lamb Cutlets for almost 48 hours, I treated them to a swift turn under a redhot grill before perching them atop some wasabi mash with little else save a squeeze of lemon. I’d been looking forward to these bad boys for some time and passed an hour earlier that afternoon in the magnificent Bradley’s Off-licence and all round stylish drinking emporium on North Main St, seeking a couple of bottles of vimto fit for the task of washing down this fine fare. In between coughing, being a martyr, as I am, to The Chest.
Cooking was an unusual struggle as I could tell something was not quite right in The Swashbuachaill’s generously-proportioned frame. More surprising still, regular sips of Eight Degrees Brewing’s Winter’s Ale weren’t having an appropriately restorative effect. Anyhoo, I bravely soldiered on and served everyone, then sat down and looked at my plate. I looked at it some more before surrendering and repairing to the couch. Eyes closed, I listened to those heartless hyenas devour the lamb while ignoring the fast-fading old mutton stretched out close by. Twenty minutes later, I was in bed, my belly barren of lamb, and the rest of my body playing host to something of a distinctly bubonic nature.
I drifted in and out of reality, never quite falling asleep, occasionally jolted right back by the guffaws and bellows of The Widow Swashbuachaill directly below me downstairs as she kept up a brave front in the face of her tragic loss. At some stage, someone came into the room and set about my entire upper body with a sand wedge before taking a vintage mashie niblick to my lower back, working methodically across from left to right, somewhere around the base of the lungs. That’s a terrible cough, you have, he said. Excuse yourself, I retorted, it’s quite probably the finest cough in the land!
Well, The Widow Swashbuachaill wasn’t doing much in the line of guffawing 24 hours later and Daddy’s Little Girl (DLG), my finest (and only) infant daughter, soon followed her into the sick bed, with second-born, The Great Dictator (TGD), thrown into the bed beside me, seemingly, the last healthy body in the entire house — until 1am on the morning of the big day itself, that is, when I became aware of the furnace beside me. TGD was burning up and, pretty soon, chucking up as well. I spent the rest of the night administering sponge baths and working on an equation to quantify the level of pity I felt for myself.
The following morning, TGD was too ill to do more than glance at Santa’s offerings and the pair of us fell back to sleep. By afternoon, all four of us were in the emergency out of hours doctoring service, where Dr AJ, from Karachi, declared with a barking chuckle, that we were ‘a very sick family’ and filled our stockings with steroids, antibiotics and painkillers. And so the pic above (recreated, by the way, a camera would have been far too heavy to hold in our grievious conditions) constituted our entire Christmas dinner. As for the ten adults en route to dine at The Swashbuachaill table – well, I’m afraid it was canned turkey and the bum’s rush for them!
But, whist! Dry those tears, calm those shuddering sobs wracking your wretched souls for The Swashbuachaill is not so easily beaten and has declared January 29th, the new Christmas Day, I shall be rising before the others and re-decorating the front room, putting up a small tree and presents and then beginning to cook a full Christmas dinner for all who were due to arrive on December 25th, including that beautiful bronze turkey from Tom Clancy’s Ballycotton Free Range Poultry, currently residing in a neighbour’s freezer. I shall keep you abreast (ahem) of all developments of this delayed Yuletide. And as Dear Old Sainted Mother Swashbuachaill was wont to say, worse things have happened at sea. (A fiercesome place altogether, La Mer!) A belated Merry Christmas, one and all!