Home hosts the heart – so split mine in three!

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Hoo yeah, that’s a mighty fine pint. I’m in the only pub for miles around. Outside the wind, rain and cloud are merged as one, while I sit staring at a head over an inch deep, floating on top of a settling pint. By the time the black is separated from the creamy bubble-free head, this baby’s going to look, taste and feel like a true country pint.

What is it about Guinness and rural pubs? The country pint is alive, well and sitting on the bar in front of me, but for some reason it cannot be replicated in the city. All you need for good Guinness is a line that pours often throughout the day, and a cellar that’s not too cold.

Maybe that’s it: the cellars of urban bars are chilled to levels that might make penguins think twice, to satisfy the tastes of the young lager drinker. Or is it more about the average age of the rural drinker, the majority of whom still favour the stout over the continental cousins of the Harpic family?

Whatever the answer, I don’t care, as there’s one right in front of me now.

I breathe out and give thanks.

It wonderful to be back in Mayo once more. As I watch the gold and brown liquids tumble and unfurl in the glass before my eyes, my thoughts wax lyrical in an unashamedly self-indulgent way.

Well really, if a man cannot indulge himself in his own head, as he sits after a long day’s work, staring at his pint, when can he?

Stretching this metaphor way beyond any reasonable bounds of poetry, I privately wonder whether, geographically speaking, my heart is not just like that pint.

If home is where the heart is, mine is split in three, you see.

I’m a Londoner, born and bred, and that honour will never leave me, but a couple of years ago I suffered a major crisis of identity as far as my roots go. Crossing London by tube from south east to north west, I became a little confused about where some of the new lines started and finished. Stopping on a platform, I stared at the Underground map, and then I crumpled inside.

Ohhh.

Oh please no, don’t let it be so.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.