The brother was coming back from London for a few weeks. He’s done well for himself since he went over there but he’s always been a bit tight.

One of them fellas that would peel and orange in his pocket with a boxing glove on rather than give you a bit.

So rather than stump up the few quid for a hotel, muggins here has to put him up for the few weeks. And I had to go and pick him up from the airport.

I’ve always thought they were the strangest places. I’m not all that religious but I’d say purgatory is probably like an airport – all that waiting around, stressing out and even though you know you’ll eventually go on a great adventure, there’s a whole load of waitin’ around and red tape to wade through before ye get started.

I doubt there’ll be duty free and a rake of bars in purgatory but here’s hoping. It would make the time pass a bit quicker although I’m not sure I wanna chat to yer man Peter at the pearly gates with a few scoops on me, especially if I somehow manage to die at the same time as Davy. He’s bound to say the wrong thing and doom us both to an eternity of pitchforks in places that pitchforks have no right to be.

On the other hand, you see these lovely scenes of friends and family reuniting in the airport. There does be tears and laughin’ and all that malarkey and that’s nice to see. It was even nice to see Ray when he came through the gate.

“There ye are now Gaz, ye bowsie,” he roars at me as he walks through.
Some people go on holiday and come back with the accent but I think Ray has gotten more Dublin since he left home.

I shook his hand and patted him on the back.
“Howya Ray,” I says. We’ve never been the emotional reunion type of family. Not sober anyway.

“Ah we’ll have a bit of craic now I’m back,” he says. “I hope Paschal has a new telly in for the World Cup.”

“Are ye mad?” I says. “Sure he’s tighter than you are.”

“Would ye go way out of that,” he says.

“Anyway, it’ll keep us busy. Who are ye hoping wins it? I got England in the bloody sweep in work. Can ye believe that? An office full of English people an I get the bloody English. I’ll never be happier to lose a few quid than when they get knocked out.”

“Are you for real?” I says to him. “You live in England. You’ve a grand job over there that lets you feck off over here for a few weeks to watch the World Cup.

“You’ve followed United since we were nippers. And besides, after all the grief the papers have given that Sterling young fella, I hope he tears it up.

“Southgate seems like a nice fella too. They don’t have any of them unlikeable fellas any more like Terry and the likes. I hope they do well.”

“Are ye mad?” he says. “As an Irishman I could never support England. 800 years and all that.”

I’ve a feeling these few weeks may feel like they last as long.

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