Notes from West London

JOMO: no beer on St Patrick’s Day

JOMO: the joy of missing out. Last night I decided against a late-night celebration of St Patrick’s Day and was fast asleep before 10pm. I didn’t even have a symbolic beer to celebrate Ireland’s national saint. As I mentioned last year, in this piece about giving things up for Lent, St Patrick’s Day has become a “semi-official exemption for anyone with Irish blood. If [you’ve] given up alcohol, no worries, you could still go out and celebrate on 17 March, which always falls in Lent.”

My son and I did pop into a local Irish bar just after 7pm on our way home from our Friday evening swim, my first pub visit since Lent began. I was prepared to let him have a fizzy drink, I’d have an alcohol-free beer, and we’d share a bowl of cheesy chips. It didn’t work out .The place was already packed, there was nowhere for us to sit, and the only food on offer was Irish stew or bacon and cabbage, neither of which is suitable for me on a Friday. So we picked up some chips, ate them on the way home, and made Friday night dinner when we got back. He was much more disappointed about this than I was.

This all means that instead of spending the day nursing a hangover (as I did this day last year) I was up before 6am and was able to enjoy Tony Blackburn’s “Sounds of the 60s” show on Radio 2 and a Marylebone morning with my daughter. This included 10 o’clock mass at the church in Spanish Place and a reminder about Santiago de Compostela and his symbol, the scallop shell. Maybe next year, when St Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday, I’ll be tempted to go out and have a skinful but I don’t feel that I’ve missed out on anything this year, apart from a hangover.



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