For some reason, and despite what radio desperately try to sell us as being the most depressing time of year, I quite like January. I know we are now in February, yes, I am aware of that and this is just my point! I have been busy. You see, in the kind of job I do – and like a lot of other people like me- food retail is a challenging and trying business in December. Don’t get me wrong, it has its rewards, but since we start talking and working on it since at least September in order to deliver the best service, it is important to manage oneself physically and psychologically; laughing you may, but this is the truth. So when the new year finally comes, it is imperative not to let others tell you the way you should feel, act or behave. For me, I keep on going, most of the time relying on my own entertainment as most other friends and acquaintances ( even customers) tend to hide for a bit, and I understand that. No New Year’s resolutions, or at least not for another while, too soon for any types of challenges apart from a wish to have the best of my stories and recipes made into a wee book, just for me, and maybe to print some of my best pictures for a little exhibition maybe? We’ll see. So when January came, I decided to keep on indulging on my morning walks, let my spirit roam free around the surrounding Townlands, take it all in, rewarding my soul….
I had a strange dream last night; I was in a Californian pub when Charles Bukowski invited me for a bite to eat in one of his favourite place. There, were musicians and dancers, a dark wooden environment, a bit like an old fashioned Irish joint I guess. We ordered some beers first, then my companion hailed the waitress – without asking me – for a chickpeas burger and a plate of tomato and garlic beans for himself… The entertainment of my psychedelic night experience was going well. Charles and I, or Hank Chinaski as he likes to portrait himself, were enjoying ourselves… Until I asked him, in our alcoholic fogginess, if it was OK to take a selfie… He didn’t mind, but I felt I had let myself down on that one! I was so ashamed with my move, that I woke up… Leaving my host to pay the bill. Man, I have to stop eating Parmigiano Reggiano in the evening!
My boss is sending me on a Special Mission; it happens once in a while, either dropped discreetly around a cup of coffee between a “well, how are you?” and “how would you feel about going on a road trip?”, or an email, extrapolated by my over active imagination which can clearly read: ” Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves extracting some of our newest staff from Dublin, bring them to West Cork to see some of the original producers and actors of the Irish cheese and food revival, bring them back with plenty of stories and dreams to share. This message will self-destruct in five seconds”. I swear, that is what I get, this is what I hear, this is what I read.
I am often being asked the question. “What do you miss most about home?” Especially when one has like me “Nationalité Française” printed on his passport; they automatically assume it is food. I was recently over, two weeks ago in fact and as I was about to enter the car deck of Brittany Ferries’ “Pont Aven”, I asked myself the same question. Could it be the “Joie de vivre”, that Anglophile cliché that I can never recall coming out of a compatriot’s mouth? I don’t think so. And frankly, when you look at the head of certain people I know, let me tell you, there ain’t no joy of anything, or maybe the “joie de complaining” about everything.