Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Look before you kiss

This post and all others have been moved to this sites new home on www.peterneill.eu

A large part of me cannot believe I am about to post what I am writing here.
In the following paragraphs you will find out much about me and the most awkward situation I have ever got myself into.

First for the background. My Father is an Anglican Bishop. For those who are not sure, Anglican Clergy are allowed marry, so no running to the nearest tabloid please :)
Anyway a few years ago he was appointed as the new Archbishop of Dublin. Part of this process is an enthronment service at the main cathedral in the diocese. In this case it is Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
As you can imagine it was quite a big affair with loads of friends, family and clergy from all around the country. As well as civil and government representatives all over the place.
After the service there was much meeting and greeting taking place. I don't think I personally had ever shaken hands with so many people in my life.
During this process a series of old ladies who apparently had not seen me since I was "so high" came over to me. They were between 5 and 7 in number and of years between 300 and 500, well collectively at least!
Each of these old ladies did the common old lady thing and leant forward and gave me a peck on the cheek as they said hello. Nothing strange so far.
At the end of the onslaught of greetings another hand out stretched towards me. I in full automatic mode, outreached my hand and shook theirs in greeting. In this same graceful automated maneuver I leant forward and went in for the cheek kiss, for the kill if you will.
As I approached their cheek I noticed how crushingly hard this old ladies grip was. Never mind I thought and continued. Finally I hit the target, But not without realising that perhaps this old lady needed a shave, for her stubble was quite advanced.
As I retreated from the kiss a feeling of horror entered my mind. What if this was not an old lady, but an old man!! I continued my retreat until this character fully entered my field of view. It was not an old man.....It was in fact a Male Irish Army General!! One who was there to represent the President of Ireland, one whom was the head of the Irish Army!!!
To say he looked shocked is somewhat of an understatement. Our faces looked at each other in shock for what seemed like an eternity. Finally I decided I should say something to lighten the situation.
Those of you who know me will know that I should always say the second thing that comes in to my head, definitely not ever the first.
However the first thing made its rapid journey to my lips before I could stop it:

"Ah well, Good thing there is no soap on the ground eh?!"

I was filled with horror at what I had just said. I looked to the general to gauge his reaction. I thought he was getting angry, but he collapsed into helpless laughter. I, totally filled with relief, attempted to explain my mistake, but he just walked of in pieces laughing.

Don't think I should ever apply to the Irish army now! :)

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