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“How many ghouls, ghosties and little divils can dance on the edge of pint glass” asks Forty, “Depends on how many pints you’ve drunk when you count them” replied Mickey helpfully.

Myself, I blame it all on Janet Marcus & Elizabeth Garner. All this talk between them a few weeks back about angels dancing about on pin heads having got the fellas thinking. My dog’s heard it all before and she’s now hiding under the table. Shivering, and tail between her legs and all because of the noise of teenage idiots dressed in Dracula masks running around outside, scaring old ladies, screaming, shouting and lobbing fireworks at each other.

I should explain.

It’s the early evening of Halloween night, and looking forward to a quick beer I’ve been dropped off at Walshe’s bar, the best pub and husband crèche in Co. Wexford, for a couple of hours by the wife and mistress. Except that nothing is very quick in this pub, good pints take time and skill to pour, a blazing log fire, and tempting hot pies home-made by Forty’s wife deserving to be slowly savoured. I’ve bought one for my dog to cheer her up. Sitting with me in the bar are Mickey Finn, the local builder who you have already met in my previous ramblings, and Forty Watts the barman. ‘Forty’ having acquired his nickname because he’s considered not to be quite as bright as his father, the landlord Walter ‘Watty’ Walshe.
At this point the bar door bursts open and in comes a huge scruffy lad in dirty white overalls, unshaven and hair in disarray. More to the point he’s seems to be covered in blood. My dog, now completely terrified, jumps on my lap shaking from nose to tail, thinking it’s Frankenstein come to eat her as well as her meat pie. “Trick or treat” shouts Frankenstein.

“Meet Declan”(aka Frankenstein) says Mickey, “My new young apprentice. He’s painting the railings outside”

“ Now he’s painting the door handle, a bar stool, table, a pint glass and everything he touches bright red. Does he not know how to use a brush? “Grumbles Forty. “Of course,“ Mickey replies “I’m teaching him all I know, although so far he still knows nothing. He’s got a good head on his shoulders “. Yes I say, you can see the bolt. “He’s very good at lifting big bricks and things and young talent should always be encouraged”, continues Mickey. “You always say that Tom”. Declan is about to mutter something in his own defence but is stopped by Forty telling him that he is now barred from the pub until he has cleared up his dripping paint and has made friends with my dog. Like all deeply upset females, my spaniel Jessica has a long and unforgiving memory so I fear that task might take quite some time.

Mickey is right of course. I do believe that young talent should always be encouraged and helped when needed. So does Elliot Lee who has shown this commitment by encouraging so many bright and intelligent young people to post articles and replies on AAD about the very many aspects of the Art, Antiques and Design scene which concern them. We all need a helping hand in the early years and often that hand comes from a least expected source and often without us even knowing. The world of Art & Antiques is large and varied. There is room for every view and opinion. To see things again through young intelligent eyes is of great value to the even the oldest, wisest and perhaps jaded amongst us. We must always encourage the next generation to try to do everything better than us. They deserve no less.

Declan has picked up the remains of Jessica’s meat pie and tries to pat her head, but a long low warning growl, a hard stare and baring of fangs sends Mickey Finn’s apprentice back out of the door, very fast. Forty pours yet another round of falling-over water and we all go back to discussing horses and counting goblins dancing on the glass edge. My dog, having made her point about Declan’s ‘trick or treat’ scam falls asleep. Chaos still reigns outside and other husbands start join us in the crèche. We are in the warm embrace of the perfect Irish pub. Enjoying the craic and getting slowly blitzed…