Great balls of fire

Just as promised, the new fan arrived with the post this morning. Thirty minutes later and I was up and running again, and able to field queries from assorted Portuguese authors and English publishers in the bat of a cat's eye. What I mean to say is that I got some work done. I also got three new Ebay points, so that's me got a yellow star and 100% customer satisfaction after only two and a bit weeks.

The nice weather that we had at the weekend has now deserted us to be replaced with April showers followed by brooding grey skies. Gavin called in on me and loaned me his 135mm lens and a +4 close-up filter - which also fits on my 50mm! We chatted about this and that, mostly about that it must be said, and drank two mugs of coffee each.

While I was making the second coffees, I spotted Mizzie bounding up the back (soon to be front) stairs and into the porch to take up her usual 'let me in' position on top of the new tumble dryer (where, much to Linda's consternation, she leaves her little paw prints). As I opened the back door to let her in, Gavin stepped forward to say hello, at which point Mizzie did a U-turn and stormed out into the garden and over the wall faster than you could say 'what the....' Not exactly the bravest of cats is Mizzie. She lets the other cats in the neighbourhood bully her - I even caught her sitting in the dining-room intently watching our next door neighbour's cat eat her food from her bowl. Obviously the intruder got off his mark as soon as he realised I was on the scene, at which point Mizzie managed to summon up the courage to chase him out of the garden before strutting back to sit in the middle of the lawn to clean herself.

Back to the conversation with Gavin. I was regaling him with tales of my life in the Irish pub in Lisbon, and how I had to sing a song with the band every week (The Proclaimer's 500 Miles - how stereotypical!!! - well, it was either that or Marie's Wedding!), and how, gradually, my repertoire increased to include Stray Cat Strut and Be-Bop-A-Loo-La. I recalled my 34th birthday party, and how we all went to the Brazilian bar near the Graça (Chafarica), which was then run by a friend of mine, Mané. After a few caipirinhas, myself and Joe Connolly (a very talented Irish musician) convinced the two bossa nova musicians to let us have a go, at which point the scene changed from laid-back Rio to football terracing Scotland and the place erupted to the 500 Miles chorus which, for those who do not know, goes something like this: Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-didle-a-didle-a-didle-a-na-na (repeated very loudly and out of tune ad infinitum).

Afterwards, we headed off down to the Irish pub, where a surprise party had been laid on for me by my old boss. As it was quite late (about 1am) and we were well oiled, and since it was my birthday, I was pushed towards the stage where I was allowed to sing my entire store of songs - starting with a reprise of 500 miles (to a much more appreciative audience, and complete with bodhrun, fiddle and guitar accompaniment), I wowed the audience into Stray Cat Strut, where we were joined on-stage by one of Europe's best classical cello players, member of Lisbon's Metropolitan Opera and champion Guinness drinker, Peter Flannigan, complete with his prized cello which was being enlisted as a double bass (and no, he didn't spin it or stand on it). For an encore, I treated them to as much of Be-Bop-A-Loo-La as I knew and a rousing finale of Great Balls of Fire. To much applause I left the stage to resume consuming pints of the best Guinness on the Iberian peninsula - I like to think that they were applauding my performance rather than my departure, but one never knows.


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