One of the reasons why John Palmer’s Music Shop in George’s Street, Waterford, is so successful is because of the excellent service given to customers by John and his knowledgeable and helpful staff. But, recently, John surpassed his own high standards of service while on holiday in the resort of Mogan on Gran Canaria.

Back in Waterford, a large group of people were preparing to travel to Mogan for a family wedding and, like most celebrations, there was no shortage of guitars being brought for the inevitable late night sing-songs. Just before they left for the airport, a couple of the lads decided that, really, they needed a couple of sets of spare guitar-strings so they hightailed it down to Palmer’s Shop at 9am but it wasn’t yet open. They needed to be at the airport at a certain time so they couldn’t wait.

Ten hours later, John is sitting in his favourite bar in Mogan sipping a pint when several of the Waterford guitar players walked in and spotted him. “How’ya John”, they cried, “it’s a pity we didn’t meet you in Waterford this morning because we had to leave without spare strings.” John was non-committal but had a good look at the guitars being carried by the lads before disappearing. Five minutes later, to the amazement of the Waterford musicians, he was back with a wide selection of strings from which they happily picked their choice.

When asked from where he had conjured up the strings, he smiled, tapped his forehead and pointed to his feet before declaring: “Lads, when it comes to the music business, we aim to serve. It’s up there for thinking and down there for dancing.”

The long forgotten monster egg

I met a very nice man last week who asked me if I had ever seen a monster egg to which I replied honestly that I had not and when I enquired what sort of animal it came from he had to sit down he laughed so much.

Apparently, in years gone by, the monster eggs were created not laid but they looked the real thing and were often used as decorative pieces on salad tables before being eaten. The whites and yokes from two-dozen eggs were separated and the yokes were encased in a pig’s bladder and boiled until they were very hard. The ball of hard yoke was then placed in an even bigger pig’s bladder, surrounded by the egg whites, and boiled again until the whites hardened. Then, low and behold, a monster egg had been created.

I mainly associate eggs with breakfast and I am reminded of some famous breakfast quotations. Oscar Wilde said: ‘Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast’. PG Wodehouse famously wrote: “I hadn’t the heart to touch my breakfast so I told Jeeves to drink it himself.” And then there was the waspish quote from Winston Churchill who said: “My wife and I tried having breakfast together two or three times in the last forty years but it became altogether too tiresome.”

Muhammad Ali

Heard last week that the great Muhammad Ali will be visiting this country in a couple of weeks where he will be guest of honour at a function in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Court Hotel. He comes at the invitation of Dr Pearse Lyons who is head of the Alltech a global animal health and nutrition company. Earlier this year, Dr Lyons travelled to Kentucky where he presented the former world heavyweight champion with a very large cheque towards his charitable and education trust. Muhammad Ali is said to be a lover of Waterford Crystal and, in times gone by, he would surely have found time to visit the plant and take the tour at Kilbarry. Sadly, there’s now very little for him to see and, like many others, he probably won’t come. How times change.

A message from a hot place

I received a call from a woman during the week who is home on holiday in Waterford from England and asked me if I would repeat a joke from this column from about five years ago. She said she had really enjoyed it but had forgotten ‘how it went’. Madam, you and I have a lot in common but thank you for asking and here you are!

A retired couple in Waterford city (we will call them Mary and Jimmy) decided to kill two birds with one stone by visiting their daughter in Dubai and getting a little winter sunshine on their backs at the same time. They searched the internet for cheap flights and succeeded in getting single tickets on two separate days.

So, on the Saturday, the husband set off and, having safely arrived at his daughter’s apartment, sent an e-mail home to his wife who was due to fly out the next day. Unfortunately, he typed in a wrong signature and the e-mail went to a different address that, by total coincidence, was a home in West Waterford where the man of the house had just died.

Having come back from the funeral, his heartbroken wife (also called Mary) decided to check her e-mail system for further expressions of sympathy. Imagine her shock when she read the following message from Jimmy in Dubai:

Dear Mary,

I’ve just arrived and I know you will be surprised to hear from me but they have computers here now. It is a strange place with some fierce looking residents but I’ve settled in and have been informed that everything is prepared for your own arrival tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing you even though we have only been apart for a day. Incidentally, I hope you will be able to bear the heat because it’s very, very hot down here.

Hope your journey will be as smooth as mine was. All the best for now, your loving husband, Jimmy

Last compliments!

Three of the lads were having a post-game drink at Waterford Golf Club last weekend and, as they all had taxis arranged, they had a couple more scoops than usual with the result that they all got quite merry before becoming a little bit morbid recalling all their friends who had died. “If we were all lying in our coffins in a funeral home what do you think people would say about us”, asked one in a mournful tone of voice.

“Well”, said one of his friends, “I would like to think that they would say what a great family man I was and what a wonderful doctor I had been to all my patients.” “And only proper order too”, slurred the second man, “I’d hope that people would say that I was an inspiring teacher who had put hundreds of children on the right path.”

They both looked at their friend who had posed the question in the first place and he grinned before declaring: “I’d hope they would all shout out, ‘Look, he’s moving’!