Oh, and it’s the good stuff today.
Packed with iron, the same number of calories as you’d find in a pork chop, and life blood to the poetically inclined.
There’s a very particular taste to Guinness – nutty, caramel, oaky stuff. Fabulous. Couldn’t possibly be mixed up with the Shoot-The-Horse or Sedate-The-Patient tones of lager or cider. (Both of which are fab, but don’t begin to compare).
It runs through my family like a black, frothy river.
My mother’s mother used to drink it. Perhaps half a pint a day. It was her nod to her own health and heritage.
My dad used to drink a pint or two a week. My mother couldn’t stand the sight of anyone drinking from either bottle or can, because, and I’m quoting, “They store them in crates in warehouses and alleyways. Warehouses and alleyways, which are frequented by rats. And rats can’t hold their bladders, you know.” As such, my dad used to drink his Guinness from the glass, smoky mugs they used to sell at Woolworths.
There’s a particular sigh which will forever be associated with Guinness for me. A thin, back-of-the-throat sigh. Every Guinness-drinker I know (and I know all of them) makes that sound on the first or second sip.
So, when I was about seven, maybe eight, my dad was having a Guinness from his glass Woolies mug, and he let out the Guinness sigh. And I asked, fully expecting a lowered brow and a shake of the head, whether I could have a sip.
He didn’t even pause for breath. “Sure,” my dad said, “go ahead.”
I was certain he was joking but I took a sneaky sip before my mother could start what might have been a twenty minute lecture.
I’m sure I read somewhere that kids have different tastebuds to adults. That makes sense to me because, at the time, it was the foulest thing in all creation. One small sip and it put me off alcohol for the next fifteen years. I can only congratulate my dad. Very well-played.
So, there you have it: day nineteen of 365 Happy Days. Guinness and all the memories that come with it.