On Easter Sunday, I took everyone under the age of 30 down to Waterford to have lunch with the Outlaws and hang out with the extended family. We left The Beloved, reluctantly, behind to act as midwife in case the last ewe decided to bring forth her singleton. Some of the family read The Blob, so I'll discretely say that everyone behaved to type. The food was delicious and we all ate far too much - it's very hard to say no to another roast potato. When we were ready to leave, Pat was handing out 7.5kg bags of potatoes in lieu of the more traditional chocolate egg. Earlier in the day, as things started to get frantic in the kitchen, he had been given €20 and sent up the hill to the supermarket to buy Easter eggs for the expected children. He may be 88 but he's not vague in that sort of way, but he walked past the heap pf Easter eggs lured a display of spuds going for €4 the bag. He arrived home 15 minutes later listing to port under the burden and immensely pleased with himself. It transpired that the bag he carried was the instant gratification precursor to 4 more bags which he had arranged to have delivered later. He'd blown all the egg money on potatoes - much healthier, much better value, much better for your teeth. Some of his adult children maintain that he's quietly losing his marbles, but this strikes me as a rational, thrifty and considerate way to spend money on other people.
Back in the distant past I had my first job riddling, sorting and bagging potatoes on a local farm. At the end of the first week, I was handed £6.50 and an enormous misshapen mutant potato about half the size of my head that didn't fit in the bags. That was dinner for me and my mother after I'd filleted out the truly weird material. After a second week I must have been beginning to earn my salt because that Friday I was given £6.50 and a 1/2 hundredweight (about 25kg) bag of (normal) spuds. Clearly that barter-like way to get paid struck a chord because I'm still talking about it almost half a century on. But it also set my financial clock, so that £5 (say €6ish) is a lot of money: back then I worked at the edge of what I was sustainably capable for >30 hours to earn it.
So I, for one, really appreciated Pat's gift of "they look a little like eggs".
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