I love Belfast.
I love the people of Belfast.
But bugger me with a big yellow crane our accent is tarrible so it is...
"I fawncy a wee chicken so a do..", says the lovely woman to her lovely friend and work colleague. They were clearly office workers, probably civil servants, probably advisers of some sort or other. Actually there was no probably about it they were exactly civil servants as they still had their work passes swinging from the lanyard round their neck's.
"Chicken? Ooooh I fawncy chicken too so I do"
Good so everybody fancies chicken. I fancied getting the fucking order in before I lost the will to live. Seriously people, don't call me over and tell me you want to order and then start the whole lamentable process of choosing all over again. It's annoying to say the least and it takes up valuable standing/gossiping/scratching time. That said I was pretty sure this order was a done deal what with both of them fancying chicken. Chicken fanciers I lol'd to myself as I stood there with black Lamy Pico pen poised and ready for action.
"Aye but...I dunno...I fancy a wee steak too"
Christ in a basket.
Turning to me the first chicken fancier says, "Here...you must think us-uns is daft"
I assured her I thought no such thing...I had a whole other level of descriptive terms for them other than daft. My mind had entered a much less pleasant town someway south of daft.
"Reet, we'll both hawve de chicken YES?"
Her mate, who was a lot less convinced of this earth shattering decision hummed and ha'd and eventually slammed her menu shut and gave in to the chicken love.
"Very good choice ladies...would you like something with that chips or champ maybe?"
They looked at each other, laughed and then turned to me in unison, "Chaps!"
"I only like my ma's chawmp.", says one to the other.
"Aye yer ma's chawmp is great so it is...wi loadsa budder n'all"
"Oh aye...love it when de budder melts all over it n all"
Brilliant, I was trapped down a fucking lane getting covered in buttery carbohydrate laced memories. Brilliant.
"Chips for both of you then ladies?" I had to interject before they got on to her ma's brilliant Irish stew or something.
I was all set to walk away when the first lady hit me with a question that had me perplexed.
"Is der flar in dat chicken?"
What. The. Fuck. Is. Flar? My tiny, mind free as it from having to know important things like physics and when particular Kings ruled particular countries etc still couldn't locate what a flar was and what it might have to do with chicken.
"Aye is it made with flar?"
They were both looking at me wondering when I was going to answer what for them seemed to be a straight forward question that demanded a straightforward yes or no answer.
"Is it made with flar? Eh..", I was running the dish through my mind as if I was making it in the kitchen myself. I couldn't see any flar so I plumped for no. Which was brave, maybe a foolhardy thing to do. I mean in my mind I am a six foot god among men that is loved and admired by all for my generosity of spirit and time and not a five foot squat bitter prick who is more tolerated than loved by those closest to me because they know I will be dead soon.
The ladies knew I was bluffing too.
"You sure mister? I'm lergic til flar so I awm...Al swelled up like a balloon if I eat flar so I will"
And then it dawned on me...she was trying to say flour but when you put the word flour through a Belfast accent it comes out as flar.
Obviously when I finally worked this out I was able to assure her that there was no flour used in the preparation of the chicken and that only eating too many chips would make her swell up like a balloon. Probably didn't need to add that bit in as it didn't go down too well.
Belfast, wonderful town, wonderful people, hideous accent.