Sunday, March 12, 2006

An Impromptu Diplomatic Coup at a Pub

There's an interesting restaurant near where we live, called The Old Ship. They had a costume contest there on Halloween night, I won first prize for my homemade Hagrid (Harry Potter). The prize was a $40 gift certificate.

Tonight was the night we finally decided to cash in the prize.

Debbie had fish & chips and I had bangers and mash. The food was, as usual, not spicy at all (I like spicy foods) but was very good. While we ate, we noticed that a fairly large group of men seemed to be really enjoying themselves in the pub. They were singing the kind of songs to which just about everyone knows the lyrics. They were singing loudly and with a great deal of enthusiasm. They were having fun!

As we finished dinner, I commented to Debbie, "We should thank those guys for the entertainment."

So, we did.

And found ourselves in a three-hour conversation.

Seems three of the men were from London. They were here to attend the funeral of their brother, who had recently passed away. All the other members of the group were local friends and co-workers of the deceased. They had been drinking, reminiscing about the deeased, and celebrating his life. Many of these men were leaving as Debbie and I finished dinner, so as we made our way to the pub, there were only six men left, including the three brothers.

When we thanked the remaining group for the, actually pretty good, singing, we were suddenly members of the group.

We introduced ourselves to the first of the three brothers, who explained the situation: that they were celebrating the life of their brother. Both Debbie and I were taken aback by this news. Neither of us expected it.

We chatted about the US, England, football, rugby and even curling. We compared Margaret Thatcher with GW Bush, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton-Rodham. We discussed tourist sites in both England and the US, with a bit of discussion about Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Then, one of the party, a New Zealander, set up a "communal dinner" with three big orders of fish and chips.

The fifth member of the group (not including Debbie and I)was a Scot. When I asked the meaning behind Guy Fawkes Day, the English guys explained that it was the celebration of the failure of Fawkes to blow up Parliament. The Scottish guy (two-and-a-half sheets to the wind, at this point) argued that in Scotland, the holiday was a celebration of the attempt, and a lamentation of his failure.

I think that puts me in the Scottish camp (Ar, ar!)

We ate the food (Debbie and I ate very little, just having finished our own dinner) drank our drinks, including several toasts to the deceased and to many other things, and parted friends, having exchanged email addresses during the course of things.

You know, you just never know where and when you'll meet new friends!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

1 comment:

Michael Stone said...

Cor! Sounds like a fun evening. I've always found it quite odd that the English celebrate tyranny every year on the 5th of November. Guess that's why I moved over here!