Reginald is from Southern England. He owns 'several hundred acres' of Wilshire which he farms. He loves history and walked the Camino to experience Europe's architectural and ecclesiastical heritage at first hand. He tells us about his experience.
"The Camino was great, but there was far too many Irish."
Reginald continues, a look of profound sadness on his handsome face.
"I was friendly to them at first, one has to make an effort with the lower orders, but unfortunately that seems to just lead them on. You see, when I first encountered them I made the mistake of telling them that my maternal grandmother was born in Ireland, her family owned Waterford you see, before..."
Close to tears now Reginald takes a drink of his G&T before stiffening his upper lip and continuing.
"They seemed to take this to mean that I considered myself 'one of them', so to speak. I really don't know how they got that impression but unfortunately once this idea was implanted it seemed dislodging it became out of the question, so to speak."
"What do you mean 'one of them'?"
"They seemed to get the impression I was Irish like them. They started calling me Pat. They said it was my 'Paddy name'. Every time I saw them they'd slap me on the back putting their horrible porcine faces close to mine so I could smell the stale alcohol, cigarettes and potatoes on their breath, saying things like 'Shure you're one of us now Pat', 'Give Pat a bottle of Patchy.' Patchy was their name for Patcharan, a foul tasting local liquor of the type that civilised people use for stripping paint. They seemed to drink it 24 hours a day."
"The most obnoxious of them was called 'Bottles' because he drank a bottle of Patcheran every morning for breakfast. Every morning I'd see them as I was leaving the albergue birght and early. They'd be in the kitchen drinking Patchy from the bottle and mixing it with coffee and when they saw me they'd start shouting, 'Top of the morning Pat', 'Begorrah tis a grand soft day Pat', 'Pat is a grand lad', 'Pat is one of our own', etc., etc. Outrageous I tell you, simply outrageous."
"The worst thing is every day when I arrived where I was going they'd be there ahead of me sitting on the main Street drinking beers 'for de turst'. When they saw me they'd start shouting 'Pat! Pat! Come over here Pat and have a drink with your fellow Irishmen'. It didn't matter how fast I walked every evening when I arrived at my destination they'd be there waiting, despite having left the albergue long after I did and despite not having put in an appearance at all on the day's walk. I'm sure they were taking the bus or they had a car or something, it just wouldn't be possible otherwise."
Pushed to explore other more positive aspects to his Camino Reginald mentioned the impressive historic buildings, great Gothic cathedrals, Romanesque monasteries, ancient pilgrim hostels.
But it seemed the majestic sweep of European history had been somewhat ruined for Reginald by the boystrous behaviour of his neighbours from across the Irish Sea.
"After Brexit we'll put a stop to this. Johnny foreigner will have to learn his place and that includes the Irish! The Irish will just be here to build a proper English designed road for decent English pilgrims (and maybe a few Germans) and we'll teach the Daygos how to make a proper cup of tea."
CTN caught up with the two Irishmen in question on the terrace of a bar on Santiago's Rua Franco. They refused to give their real names for "security reasons" and insisted on being called Bottles and Patchy (with a Y). When asked about Pat's, sorry Reginald's complaints about them Bottles replied.
"Sure don't mind dat eejit! He doesn't know his arse from his elbow. We were only havin' the craic!"
Patchy quickly added.
"Pat is a grand fella. We had great craic with him! He's a proud Irishman"
When challenged about why they insisted on referring to Reginald as Irish when he clearly wasn't they laughed and gave the following explanation.
"We tell him he's Irish because we know that he [EXPLETIVE DELETED] hates us!"
They paused to laugh uproariously for several minutes before ordering four rounds of drinks ("de glasses is awful shmall here").
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