Monday, September 13, 2004

Had lunch at The Dubliner's and I must say, it's nice to be back.

Back? Yup, this downtown Irish pub now occupies the site where once had stood the Orchard School of Arts and Commerce, where at the ripe old age of 23 I attended class hoping to pass my 'A' Level cert.

In most respects I was a model student, except where wearing the uniform was concerned. The Principal and her hubby were starting to introduce some idiotic uniform rules, and I, having been through 2 years ('O' Level holders did not qualify for 2.5 years' service) of wearing camo-green military uniform, plus the fact that I was legally an adult, was not about to comply. I tried to compromise by wearing a white button-down shirt with blue jeans, but I could tell it was only a matter of time before I'd get on some unpleasant list or other. Providence then opened the door for me to take my studies overseas, thus avoiding any unnecessary confrontation. I tended my resignation with glee.

Many years later, I'm back at the exact site of my last Singaporean Alama Mater and I'm lunching on shepherd's pie with my teaching colleagues who are here for not just the food and the um... malted beverages but also for a pleasant environment in which to continue their prelim marking (yes, call me obsessive).

Lunch at The Dubliner's is at a 30% discount off menu prices, though I don't know how long this promotion will last. Shepherd's pie, as I discovered, seems to be a mutton(?) stew covered over with a thick layer of fluffy potato mash for the pie crust. The meat is a very fine mince, stewed very tender and the dish generally goes down easily with small-talk and sips of liquid refreshment. I wonder if it really is mutton, though. The stew is so fine, I'm not absolutely sure, but won't shepherds lose the trust of their sheep if they went around smelling like mutton? Sheep are dumb.

Eating al fresco is quite a pleasant experience here. Partially shaded by tree foliage, we sit and dine as shadow patterns alternate with sunshine spots on the cobbled terrace. The gentle trickle of water from the landscaped waterfall add to the ambience of a lazy afternoon, but we were there for a reason. For me and Gerald, it was strictly lunch; for Vince and Anthony, after lunch was marking time. It was still early afternoon when I left them there to slowly ruminate over the imponderables that are students' answers to GP questions.

I caught the MRT home for some pet therapy... and to update the scoreboard which reads:

> Today's tally = 11
> Cumulative total = 30

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