The scene: A small village somewhere in Ireland. A street. A woman in a yellow raincoat enters the grocer’s store. She carries a heavy bag of books and a knapsack on her back ( in the knapsack there are more books). This is the reason why she is known as Miss Read On in the village and beyond. There are more sheep than people in the village and the sheep have constitutional rights. Just so you know. It is however the grocer’s wife who runs the shop and the village. Somtimes that’s the same.
It is half past six and Miss Read who looks slightly ruffled enters the grocer’s store.
Miss Read On: Evening grocer’s wife.
( Miss Read On needs potatoes, milk and baking soda. Miss Read On is not too sure if there is still raspberry jam and yoghurt in the fridge.)
The grocer’s wife: Jesus Read On, I don’t know how you are doing it.
Read On: Doing what, grocer’s wife?
Mrs G: Going up to Dublin every day.
Read On ( slightly distracted because wasn’t it the honey that she used up the other day?) Well, grocer’s wife, we all need to work somewhere.
Mrs G: It’s a mad place. People havin’ no reason. I am tellin ya.The husband and me went to do the last bits of Christmas shopping the other day and ye won’t believe me what happened. By the way got somethin’ very nice for the vet this year.
Read On: Grocer’s wife just so you know the vet won’t be here for Christmas.
The grocer’s wife however is far too agitated to launch a major complaint about the vet’s absensce- for now.
Mrs G: We’ll be talkin about that Miss Read On.
Read On: The flights are booked grocers’s wife.
Mrs G: The last word is not yet spoken on this matter. Will ye let me tellin ye what happened in Dublin, will ye?
Read On: I will grocer’s wife.
Mrs G: Jesus, I find it hard to believin it meself. So we did our shopping. Getting some really nice stuff, ye know. So I said to me husband, let’s grab a bite to eat. So off we went to a café, ye know. Meal deal, ye know needin a rhyme the Dubliners for everythin. Feelin’ like Mr Joyce himself. ( The grocer’s wife chuckles.)
So we sat down. Me sayin’ to the waitress. What soup are ye havin today? The girl said Pea soup with ham. Haven’t had pea soup for ages ye know. Me said: “We are havin’ the soup with bread and butter. Off went the girl. We’ve been waiting ye know. No bother. Finally she came with the soup, ye know. Me took a mouthful. Jeus, Read On I nearly spat the soup out. Ice cold soup, I swear on me mum. Ice-cold soup, I ma tellin ye. I said to the girl: Are ye havin no shame serving an ice-cold soup. Won’t belivin me what she said: Its our specialty, cold pea soup. We won a prize for the soup last year. Never have had single complaint. Would ye believe that Read On, would ye believe that?
Red On: Hard to believe, grocer’s wife.
Mrs G: Jesus, I’d give her a lashin’, if I had a thing to say in that café. I told her, to stop tellin me that nonsense. Will ye warm up the soup I told her, we are not havin all day to sit around, ye know. Jesus Read On, these Dublin girls don’t know how to work. Just lookin out for a fella, ye knew. It is shameful. Just lookin out for the fellas. Would ye imagine she was warmin’ up the soup in a microwave. Would ye belive that. Heatin‘ up soup in a microwave. Me sayin to the girl: Have ye forgotten what a pot is for, here in Dublin? I told her do ye not know that a soup needs to boil? Jesus, Read On, ye wouldn’t believe how she was lookin at me. Didn’t have a clue. Didn’t even know that a soup needs to boil. Imaging all the germs swimming in the soup. All these germs freely floatin’ because these Dubliners don’t know a thing. It is disgusting, I tell ye. Don’t even get me started on the ham. This was no ham, I am tellin’ ye, that was a disgrace. That’s what they are servin ye in Dublin cafés, Miss Read On. It is a shame.
Miss Read On is still unsure what to do about the raspberry preserve. Or was it the apricot preserve she used while baking the other day?
Mrs G: I am tellin ye, this was the worst lunch me ever had in me life. So the husband and I drove back home and I tellin ye, we had a scone and we had cream with the scone and we had cold meats for dinner and I am tellin ye, we won’t be back to Dublin anytime soon.
Read On: Grocer’s wife, I need six eggs as well please.
Grocer’s wife: Six eggs, sure, I’ll give ye six eggs.
Read On pays her groceries. See you, grocer’s wife.
Grocer’s wife: Servin’cold soup. I am asking ye, will they ever stop behaving like animals up in Dublin?
I really don’t know how ye are doin it.