Archive | July, 2016

 A chance encounter on Grafton Street

22 Jul


It was dusk on Grafton Street. The Christmas decorations had begun to glow in the fading light.Her reflection could be seen in the window of Brown Thomas, the upmarket department store. Its contents had grabbed her attention and commanded her to stop and look. However, she was not in the mood to pursue a mild interest in the garment on display and, after a few moments, continued her journey along Grafton Street towards St. Stephen’s Green. At the junction with Harry Street, from behind a flower seller’s stall, Harry suddenly appeared in front of her.

She surprised herself by readily accepting Harry’s offer of a drink in nearby McDaid’s but she was not uncomfortable with the situation. During and after her separation she was taught to live in and accept the “now”.

Harry ordered the drinks and then found a discreetly located table. There was a lot of coming and going in this establishment. Seating as far from the entrance as possible was preferable.

‘Samantha, I am really, really pleased to have met you today. How have you been keeping? I haven’t seen you at the tennis club in recent times?’

‘I had a slight problem with my Achilles tendon which required rest and physiotherapy. It’s getting much better and I am just about to make a comeback – when the evenings get longer.’

“Well I am delighted to hear that. The Achilles can be very troublesome, you know. Sometimes they can only be repaired by surgery. They just snap for no apparent reason. I recall the case of a football hooligan crossing Chelsea Bridge on his way to a match. Without warning his Achilles snapped, causing searing pain. A policeman was walking behind him and the hooligan thought he must have been hit on the Achilles by the policeman’s truncheon. So he punched the policeman in the mouth – could have gone to jail. I assume his immediate transfer to the nearest hospital and subsequent diagnosis saved him.’

“Yes, I know, I heard about that case.’

She felt surprisingly relaxed about him telling her things that she already knew. Normally this would irritate her.

Harry was light-headed by just being in her company. He was besotted. He would settle for a platonic friendship but, dare he dream of more? She was less enthusiastic, being frequently admired. However, compared to most men, she felt he was on her wavelength. Harry was an ambitious courtier and she was a high-born eighteenth-century aristocrat. He was speaking too much, like a giddy gurgling brook, but he soothed her and she was happy to let him babble on.

He would have preferred to offer a more salubrious setting but he had to seize the moment. A proposal of a longer walk, only as far as the Westbury, may have caused her to change her mind, either immediately or en route. Besides, the quirky nature of McDaid’s provided a certain anonymity.

This is an edited extract from the book “London Irish Dublin English”. You can download it or get a printed copy from Amazon. If you’re in Dublin you can buy it in Sweny’s Chemist Shop (Joycean Museum) in Lincoln Place, near Trinity College.

Computers are like cars – right?

7 Jul

A meeting with Phil – the procurement manager

“The residual values in your computer leases are pathetic. It’s an awful indictment of your lack of faith in your own products when you’re prepared to put no more than a 10 per cent residual value into a three-year lease. In the motor trade you’d get at least double that.’

The salesman replied:-

‘Phil, the similarities between mass-produced cars and computers only go so far. The speed of technical innovation in computer manufacturing is far quicker. For example, a newly launched computer may not be fit for purpose within four or five years of its first shipment. After this time it is still reliable and it still performs at its design speed but the IT environment will have moved on. New software and applications require ever more powerful processors and the original computer has to be replaced. It will have minimal second-hand value because no one will want to buy it. However, a five-year-old family saloon can still do the job at acceptable levels of speed, comfort, reliability and safety. A Formula 1 racing car provides a better comparison to the IT environment. A five-year-old racing car may still achieve the speed it was designed to do but it won’t win any races because more recently built cars go faster.’

‘Listen. I’ve been around the track so many times that it makes me dizzy just to think of it. There’s nothing you can tell me about racing cars. Anyway, there’s still a good market value in old Formula 1 racing cars.’

‘But it’s nothing compared to the cost of the original build. Formula 1’s are not mass produced. They are collectors’ items. You won’t find many vintage enthusiasts polishing a 20 year-old computer every Sunday morning in their garage before they take it for a sentimental batch run.’

This is an edited extract from the book – London Irish Dublin English, available on Amazon. Photo0108 (1)