• Michael Noctor

no such thing as simple

A simple dinner or an allegory to a world of complexity – two worlds, perhaps – the real world and one where present, past and future gather almost simultaneously in my mind. The chips cooked by my next wife, on my ex-wife’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Susan) and my next wife doesn’t even know my name, nor I hers, and she’s probably already married to the guy she works with in the chipper and they are probably paying a fortune to someone to mind their brats while they make chips, so I’ll have to wait until she – whatever her name is – and I meet in some other world, or maybe I can take her into my imaginary world.

She – whoever she is – gave me the chips very quickly, too quickly, and I could hear my da’s voice as I walked the short distance to my apartment – eating chips on the way, as ya do – saying ‘reheats,’ and they were and I could taste the excess grease that had rested on them from the first cooking but I didn’t care because my mind had time-travelled to the Crumlin Road where I’m waiting on the bus with my da, my ma and my sister, Deborah, and my da has nipped into the chipper right behind the bus stop to buy a single that we are eating between us and when the bus comes I become oblivious to my family as I sit and stare at the lights below as the bus ascends the Greenhills Road, drifting into my imaginary world.

A simple dinner, but I’ve just shared chips with my da on the Crumlin Road.

I didn’t eat many of the chips, but I ate the whole egg. That’s how ya fry an egg, something else my da used to say when he’d manage to fry the perfect egg and get it onto the plate without bursting the yolk.

I won’t get into the preparation I’d done to prevent the chips going cold before I fried the perfect egg, etc. Tea bag in the cup, bread buttered, simply complex, and because my visit to my daughter has been put off until tomorrow I now have to spend the evening trying to resist the two Apple & Toffee Muffins - I don’t know why they’re not called Toffee Apple Muffins – and two delicious chocolate brownies, the best brownies in Dublin, claim The Orange Tree bakery on the Lr. Rathmines Road, and even though I have only tasted their chocolate brownies I believe their claim to be true, but I only tasted them once as there are times as a man with type 2 diabetes when I know there is a danger that something bad will happen if I eat too much of a certain thing, like, eh, Mr. Kipling French Fancies which contain about 18g of sugar in each little one and that’s four and a half teaspoons of sugar. I mean, come on!

I found a new beer, well, it’s an old beer but new to me. It’s called La Trappe and after some Google research I now know it was first brewed in The Netherlands by Trappist monks. Some of the reviews online are very, very complementary. The one I’m going to enjoy as soon as I post this blog is their strongest. I bought two for me and two for David – Katie’s David, not my David. They are … wait for it … drum roll … another longer drum roll 10 percent proof!

Hold on, let me pour one and proffer an opinion.

One review mentions its stunning amber colour and intense rich flavour. Another its murky dark copper with a thin off-white head. One more its dark copper with a fingernail of beige around the rim.

The taste, apparently, is filled with sweet dark Belgian candy.

Highfalutin spanners, if ya ask me.

Hold on, maybe I’m being harsh.

After a puff on a cigarette (413 days off them) it takes seven seconds for the nicotine to hit the receptors in your brain and provide you with that beautiful feeling that comes with one of my favourite habits, even if I no longer practise. With these strong beers, something similar occurs. This stuff gets into the bloodstream very, very quickly. I’m still not sure about the taste or the flavours, however, but it is leaving my tongue tingling. One of my favourite beers is the Belgian Duvel – meaning Devil – which is 8.5 proof. I discovered them when I worked for Tesco and used to deliver them to a chap called Conor in Baldoyle. Conor was in a wheelchair. He was a nice guy. When I asked about the beers he told/warned me – they are a sipping beer. I’m going to sign off and continue sipping the La Trappe Quadrupel.

Three sips and I’m already feeling a little woozy.


P.S. Fuckin’ Hell!!!!!