Sam Delaney has something to declare
I WAS 20 YEARS OLD. IT WAS DARK AND rainy and cold. I was behind the wheel of a rented minibus, on my own, trundling down unlit country roads in the depths of County Cork, en route to a cottage my family had rented for Christmas. I had only passed my driving test the week before. It was a long, unforgiving journey. And when I finally saw the twinkling lights of the cottage in the distance and realised I’d made it there unscathed, the euphoria and sense of self-congratulation overwhelmed me. I screeched to a halt in the darkness, leapt out of the bus and ran towards the warm, yuletide welcome of my loved ones.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realised that, in my haste, I had left the bulky automobile parked in the middle of a field. By the time I returned to it to fetch my bags, the wheels had sunk into the mud. It wouldn’t budge. Hertz were not going to be happy about this.
I called the owner of our cottage, a farmer from up the road. “Don’t suppose you’ve got anything that could help pull a bus out a field, have you?” I chirped.
“We’ve got a big, strong cow,” he seemed to say in an accent as thick as Irish stew.
“A big strong cow, you say? Perfect,” I said, chuckling with excitement. “I’ll meet you and this magnificent beast in the upper field in an hour. Bring a rope!” Well I never!
“Guess what kids?” I cried out to my young nieces and nephews. “The farmer is bringing a big prize-winning cow round here to pull the van out of the field. Who wants to come and watch?”
“Meeee, Meeee!” they cried in excitement at the prospect of seeing such a bovine spectacle. And so two hours later I found myself standing in the middle of a freezing cold field, surrounded by expectant children, watching the farmer tow the bus out of the mud.
But he was using a Range Rover, not a cow. There was no cow. “What’s this?” I asked, horrified as the disappointed children began to cry. “This is the cow!” said the farmer. By which I assumed he actually meant “car”. What can I say? The Cork accent was simply indecipherable to my useless cockney ears. At least the bus was saved. But my nieces and nephews have never trusted me since.
FLY TO CORK FROM DUBLIN, LIVERPOOL AND LONDON (GATWICK AND STANSTED). VISIT WWW.RYANAIR.COM