The one regret that I have about the Queen’s recent visit is that Prince Philip did not manage to insult us in any way. He did not refer to us as Paddies, or Micks, or marvel aloud at the fact that we have electricity.
It would not have upset us if he had. It’s one of the things that has a made him a legend, and not being patronised by him makes you feel a bit cheated, like when you watch an ice-hockey game that doesn’t have at least one everybody-in punch-up in it.
The closest he got was when they were in the Guinness Storehouse and the Master Brewer (no shit, they have someone called that, though if he was any good at his job there might indeed be no shit after you drink Guinness) was showing the Queen how to make the perfect pint (and if you have learnt how, Your Majesty, you might like to come and work in our local).
As the brown foam swirled about in the glass Prince Philip said “Ah, Liffey water!”. The Master Brewer was horrified, but I was thrilled. It shows that the Liffey is famous outside Ireland as well.
Which brings us to this week’s Photo Challenge, which is “Water”. This is the River Liffey, in all its odd-coloured glory:
One of Ireland’s biggest hit records about 20 years ago was a song called “Summer in Dublin”, and the second line of the chorus is “and the Liffey as it stank like hell”.
Because it is tidal it would often drop till most of its riverbed was exposed, and natural algae and the reckless pumping of chemicals into it by companies upstream did indeed give it a pronounced stench, especially on hot days.
Treatment of the algae and stronger government have cured this, but it is much harder to get rid of a reputation that it is to acquire it in the first place, so ask any Irishman to sum up the Liffey in one word and he will say “the smell”, since we never use one word where two will do (you don’t have to tell us that, Tinman, we’ve read your blog).
It’s about 100 yards from our office and I have to cross it each morning. In summer this is a lovely experience but in winter an icy wind howls down the length of it and penetrates every layer of clothing.
That’s really all I’ve to say about it. Not terribly exciting, so to compensate, and on the basis that I never miss a chance to show a picture of a pretty girl on this blog, here is the girl from Doctor Who:
The character’s name is Amy Pond. Geddit?