The Bank of Ireland, at College Green, Dublin is the head office of that establishment and it is a most impressive building, being originally designed to house the Irish Parliament. The massive iron railings at the front serve to set off the granite façade perfectly and complete the picture of grandeur and gravitas.
The man standing with his back to those railings, however, did nothing whatever to enhance the scene. He was middle aged, unshaven with a flat cap and stooped shoulders, over which he wore a shabby gabardine coat. His general appearance was just pitiful and he stood there, motionless, watching the people passing by and occasionally looking towards the bank entrance.
Quite suddenly he stepped out to intercept a man emerging from the bank carrying an umbrella.
“I beg your pardon sir,” he said, “I am sorry to trouble you, but could I borrow your umbrella just for a few minutes, please sir?”
“Whatever do you want my umbrella for,” came the reply.
“Well you see sir,” said the man, “I haven’t eaten since yesterday, I’m very hungry and there’s a crust of bread behind the railings and I can’t reach it but I could perhaps poke it out with the umbrella.”
As he spoke he pointed to a dirty piece of bread just out of reach behind the railings.
“Oh, my God,” came the response, “don’t eat that – here, take that and get yourself something decent to eat.”
The man took the coins saying, “may God increase your store sir,” and walked off.
But some minutes later he was back again at the railings again – just watching.
His technique was immaculate!
* * *
The bakery shop stayed open till 9 pm on Saturdays and at about ten-to-the-hour a tramp walked into the shop, just as the owner and his son were preparing to close the premises.
He addressed the owner directly saying, “Would there be any chance of some bread to feed the hungry – there’s three of us sir and we’re camped out the road a bit – we’d be grateful if you could spare us something.”
The owner said nothing but handed him a misshapen loaf. The tramp thanked him and took the loaf and held it in his upturned palm. He stared at it for a moment and then said.
“A loaf between three of us – little enough for two of us and God knows one of us would eat it!”
As he paused the owner handed him a second loaf, also misshapen, saying, “there take another one, you’ve earned it.”
The tramp tucked both loaves under his coat and as the owner shut the door behind him he was smiling hugely.
A hotel porter reporting to his manager, said. “The electric kettle in the night porter’s station is broken; I think it needs a new elephant.”
* * *
A woman reporting on a sick neighbour:-
“She’s gone into the hospital – I heard she had to have an ex-directory.”
* * *
A young entrepreneur, who was by way of being a high-flying business type, quite suddenly was declared bankrupt, unlike his father who was a successful and wealthy man.
When I asked my father what had caused the man’s downfall, he gave a short answer:-
“I’d say he thought he could fart like his Da!”
* * *
An application form for a vacancy in the Civil Service had the usual sections for name… address… And in the box marked ‘sex’, one applicant had entered ‘twice in Tralee’.
* * *
A boy who was late home from school was asked by his father why he was late. He replied. “The teacher was telling us all about Yates.”
His father was sceptical and said. “Well I think you wouldn’t know a yate if one came up and bit you.”
©Geoff Cronin 2008
About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017
There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.
Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.
Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory: