Arriving at Banbridge by bus I could feel the call of a pint, so I headed for the nearest bar. I had taken a risk turning up unannounced to visit Evangeline and Odhran, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
Harry’s bar was buzzing on this Friday night and I soon fell in with a couple of chaps propping up the bar. The Guinness was cool and filling. I had forgotten to eat, so the mellowness came upon me fairly rapidly. The conversation turned to music and I foolishly bragged about my own forthcoming recording. Jim and Brendan asked if it was Cloud9, the outfit that had recording studios in Belfast and Banbridge. When I explained that Evangeline and Odhran were to be my hosts and had their own studio, the two men exchanged a look that had me puzzled.
We moved on to other topics of conversation and other bars. Jim had a fine tenor singing voice and belted out Molly Malone somewhere near the river. Brendan refused to join in the singing on the grounds that he was tone-deaf from birth. I started Jim off with the Fields of Athenry and we staggered along merrily to the next watering hole. I never made it to Evangeline and Odhran’s house, thank God, but crashed on Brendan’s sofa in the small hours fully clothed.
With my head thumping and my stomach heaving I made it to the bathroom to inspect the damage. The face in the mirror looked awful, grey and saggy with bloodshot eyes and hair that needed a plough running through it. I splashed cold water about and sucked some toothpaste and felt marginally better. Brendan was snoring peacefully, so I left him a note with my mobile number on it thanking him for the use of his sofa. I let myself out and headed for Evangeline’s barn/studio.
She opened the door and faked a welcoming smile. “Gosh, it’s you! Come in, come in. Odhran guess who’s here.” Odhran ambled into the hall and put out a hand. We sat in their massive kitchen and drank coffee while I explained that I was in the area and thought I’d look in on them. Nobody believed that lie, but the recording studio seemed to be off-limits while Odhran was working on some woodland sounds for a theatre production and had a deadline to meet.
Evangeline showed me round their house and garden and said “What a shame you didn’t ring first, we could have saved you the trip.” With my embarrassment reaching manic levels, I grabbed my stuff and headed for the front door. “Great to see you both again, you must come and visit me next time you’re in Belfast.”
Harry’s bar was just opening and I was in urgent need of alcohol. How could I have been so naive to think that their invitation had been sincere?