An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Friday, September 10, 2004  

Tea, Mansergh and Chinese

What a few days. First I make the mistake of getting up before my husband sets off for work. Normally I stay in bed while he feeds the child having served me tea and toast in the leaba. It makes for a pleasant morning when low blood sugar does not to lend itself to either conversation or good humour. Something roused me into the kitchen before the usual hour where I was horrified to witness a mug of tea, milk added and a tea bag still in place. Before my eyes he added sugar and then removed the tea bag. I shrieked at this travesty of tea making when he revealed that this is his standard method of manufacture which I had been happily consuming for years. I had been prepared to sacrifice the teapot and tealeaves but assumed that he copied my custom of teabag + boiling water, remove bag, add sugar, then milk, stir properly (at least 3 or 4 full circles), tap the teaspoon twice on the rim (so the tea in the spoon drops off before you put it on the saucer/counter/table). I knew there was something different about his tea but I just thought he made it stronger and given that I was the grateful recipient of his morning generosity I thought it wise not to criticise. Moral of the story: stay in bed. At least it's Barry's tea. Good Fine Gael tea.

Speaking of Fine Gael, Brutal got the job of EU Ambassador to Washington. He is most suited for the job; native english speaker, committed European, thoughtful, intellectual, former Taoiseach, and the Irish are well known for their influence on the Hill. The begrudgers got going and re-spun the old story that he was terrible for the peace process. They all forget that it was the Republicans who refused to deal with him and Spring was going to stay in government with FF as they had threatened to dismantle the process if they were forced to deal with FG. It was only when Spring discovered he had been lied to by practically the entire cabinet over the Duggan case that he finally realised he had to pull out. Bruton, a surprise Taoiseach and cognisant of the delicate stage the peace process was at therefore most generously asked Martin Mansergh, the Fianna Fail official (now Senator) and a crucial player, to stay on in his capacity as advisor on Northern Ireland to the government. Most unpatriotically, Mansergh refused, citing his credibility with Fianna Fail as the reason. So at this important time, Bruton was prepared to put party politics aside for the sake of the country but Mansergh put FF before the country. This is all accounted for in Kevin Rafter's excellent book.

Further, the meeja like to claim that Bruton obstructed the PP by insisting that decommissioning be a precondition of SF involvement in an NI Executive - the famous Washington 3 speech. However, as Rafter's evidence shows, Mansergh, who deigned to brief Bruton on the issues when the government changed, made it quite clear that decommissioning was on the agenda, as Bruton's contemporaneous notes, undenied by Mansergh, clearly show.

Anyway, I'll be sending Ferrera Rocher to JB.

Finally, some light relief with Leon who revealed that Dublin's Moore St, the home of the fruit and veg markets, is now also the home of Ireland's Chinese chinese restaurants. We arranged to meet for lunch at the more upmarket Epicurean food hall but he persuaded me to check out our new Eastern quarter. He waited outside while I very cautiously ascended the dingy stairs inside the even dingier entrance to one such establishment, past all the notices in Mandarin which appeared to mainly advertise poker tournaments, opportunities for extras in films and calling cards. Two rooms were either side of the first floor landing. To the left, the Chinese people were munching away on their tripe, hock and pig's feet: to the right, trendy looking natives were tucking into chicken in pineapple. Everyone was using chopsticks. Still it looked relatively clean so I assented and we ordered the chicken and pineapple. I hope it was chicken. Leon is expert with chopsticks having spent time in Japan. I gauchely (?) requested a fork. They gave me two! (Two chopsticks - two forks!) The waitress keenly admired the child and the price was very kind to our pockets. I recommend to all.

On the chopstick front, I have to say I don't see the point. Once the fork got invented, why bother sticking with the sticks?

Just noticed the split infinitive in the above paragraph. It's a pretty bad one. I suppose ...which mainly appeared to advertise....primarily appeared to advertise.....or just which advertised..... Making it simple is usually the best move.

5 to 5. Time to start dinner. Salmon with pasta in a cream, chive and asparagus sauce. Must be very delicately done or it's all ruined.

Am appearing on TodayFm at 11am on Sunday, tune in if you're in Ireland and then don't forget to phone in to say I'm great.

posted by Sarah | 16:20 1 comments
Hi Sarah - why are you so sure that the fork was invented after chopsticks? :-) Speaking personally, once I was shown how to use chopsticks, I found it a real improvement on the 2-handed effort required for knife and fork!

Great blog by the way - I've just discovered it and this post caught my eye. Must have been the intriguing title!
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