I brought Penny down to the village yesterday.
The intention was to just buy a few items and then go home again, but Penny had other plans. For some reason, she loves the coffee shop, and likes nothing better than to lie down, draping herself over the table leg in the most uncomfortable position possible. So as we were walking down the street she took a sharp left into the coffee shop and I had to follow seeing as I was at the other end of her lead.
Penny sat patiently as I went in and ordered my mug. When I came out again, she settled at my feet and I lit up the pipe.
We were soon joined by a couple who weren't local but who weren't tourists. Penny went over to investigate them and of course we got chatting. They like visiting the village because they find it so friendly. They were pensioners too so we had all the time in the world to sit and chat.
They were intrigued by my pipe as they had never seen one like it before. I said it was made by a friend in Belgium/France and agreed it was a little different. They wanted to know if I actually smoked tobacco in it and I said I did, or whatever else took my fancy and they laughed. But then their sausage egg and chips arrived to I put the pipe out, because I'm like that. I don't believe in smoking when others are eating, and I don't need any fucking laws that try to put manners on me.
Afterwards we talked about Dublin in the old days.
We talked of the glorious smell from Bewley's as they roasted the coffee beans in big tubs in the window.
We talked of the ships on the quays and how all three of us [Penny wasn’t born at the time] used to love to watch the ships unloading.
We talked of Grafton Street and how it used to be a great place until it was taken over by Big Name shops selling overpriced junk that you could get for a tenth the price over in Moore Street.
We talked of Moore Street itself and the fun and banter, and the noise and litter of the place before it was all regulated out of existence.
We agreed that Dublin was a dirtier and poorer place back in the Fifties, but that it had character. It has a sense of community. It was safer. It was a great place to live or visit.
So for a brief while, as the four of us sat in the sunshine supping our coffees [except Penny who was busily eating chips on the ground] we travelled back in time to a place that existed before people became over ambitious and greedy. We re-experienced the joys of a place before greed, avarice and over-regulation took over.
It was a bit of a jolt returning to modern times.