Saturday morning and there is a Murphy’s tanker parked outside Arundel’s Pub refilling the tanks and even though the sun is out and it is past midday people are still sleeping in their beds trying to piece together those parts of the night before that have not yet surfaced in the memory.
So last night was the opening of this years August Bank Holiday Ahakista Festival and it started with a quiz night in the marquee behind the pub hosted by our famous neighbor Mr. Graham Norten. Tickets went on sale four weeks ago and they were gone in a few days. For the last two weeks whenever we mentioned we had tickets for the night there were gasps of envy. They have been like gold dust on the Sheep’s Head.
We started the evening by eating most of the food we had bought at Bantry Market that morning including a great chunk of smoked ham from Gubbeen, small mozzarella balls and a large plateful of cheese. I am not sure how I managed to avoid buying a Tractor DVD – but I did.
We then walked the hundred yards to the pub for a quick pre-quiz pint to help steady the nerves. There was a buzz of excitement when the evening’s host arrived resplendent in a rather fine blue jacket. People gathered around for photos and autographs. We should have brought with us the tattered copy we have of his autobiography to get that signed as well.
We were then called into the marquee for the main event. Names were carefully ticked off the list and phones confiscated at the door. Demand was such that extra table were set up in the pub.
Each tabled was named and numbered and had in its centre a hollowed out pineapple filled with pina colada. That went before the questions started and so we put in our order for pints and white wine.
The quiz then started the questions being relayed to the pub by walkie-talkie. Needless to say our ability to answer the questions started to deteriorate as the evening went on and pints were consumed. The highlight was knowing which band Richie Sambora had helped form and the low point getting wrong the largest island in the Med.
There were eighty questions in all with a break in the middle for comfort and more pints to be consumed. The noise level rose in the second half and when were asked who narrated Thomas the tank engine there was a collective muttering of Ringo Starr. There is only so much you can do under your breathe when pints have been drunk.
Out host slugged his way through the questions, chiding us over the easy ones and being suitable rude when required. By the time the questions were finished the evening had turned raucous. A crowd spilled into the tent for the announcement of the winners. The prizes appeared to be three glass vases in diminishing sizes. It was questionable as to whether the largest was first price or for the team that came third.
We did not win. The winning teams came from the pub. Presumably there was something in the way the questions were flashed over the walkie-talkie.
Having failed to dismally to get in the running there was nothing for it but to repair to the pub and a conciliatory pint or two with all two hundred other people who had failed to win.