Friday, March 17, 2006

Diddly-Idle-Oh! Now the tune is in my head again for the day!

Seachtain na Gaeilige has been in full swing this week and has been observed in its usual colour (green) at work by Management. A forest of green balloons hovered over every meal in the canteen until one by one they slowly disappeared. Whether the irritated patrons helped them on the way to derigible Heaven by a judicial poke of a greasy fork or not is unknown. Whatever erradicated them did so slowly, over the course of the week, until we were back to our familiar tea-stained table-tops.

There was an additional incentive to the "Irish table", in that any employees who sat there this week were entitled to a free lunch. The conversation was in Hiberno-English as I passed by a group of diners enjoying Irish Stew yesterday, so maybe it wasn't as successful in encouraging the cúpla focail as intended.

What was most notable, perhaps by the sheer persistence, was the presense of a traditional Irish music ensemble parked strategically outside the canteen doors in the public concourse for the whole week. Every time the doors swung inwards on their automatic hinges, a blast of "The Recruiting Sergeant" came in, and invariably the tune got stuck inside my head.

As I was walking down the road,
A feeling fine and larky oh!
A recruiting Sergeant came up to me,
Says he "You'd look fine in khaki, oh!
For the King he is in need of men,
Come read this proclamation oh!
A life in Flanders for you then,
Would be a fine vacation now."

By the end of the week, the repetoire had been depleted and tunes from Monday and Tuesday were coming around again, including "The Recruiting Sergeant."

A kind of musical terrorism engulfed our hard-earned lunchtimes. The cruelest part was the sudden unexpected inrush of music into the meal. One would be sitting gazing at one's Tempura and wondering how to spell it, when a quick "Diddley-Idle-Oh!" would run in, flash a few outrageous bits of itself, then nip back out before the door slammed shut. By the time one's head was raised in fright, the whole experience was done. On the next mouthful, the doors would open again and some green-coloured tune would amble in, bow smartly and exit stage left again. My nerves can't stand such things for long.

Yesterday, when the cashier kindly flung a packet of complimentary shamrock onto my serving tray, I snapped.

"Tiocfaidh ár la-la-diddley-idle-oh-begorrah-the-whole-world-is-in-a-state-of-chassis!" I screamed and scattered the pile of miniature chrome teapots across the floor.

"That will be €5.70 for the dinner" was the impassive reply.

I paid and left quietly.

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