Coffee drinkers are the new thinking royalty. They are the ‘self-ordained professors’ tongues’ when it comes to philosophy, theology, politics and opinion. They know everything about everything, especially when they come together in a ‘drinking’ club.
Gone is the reign of the high-stool brigade, who whispered into flat pints. The world of the latte, cappuccino, Americano, espresso, macchiato and mocha and their short and long cousins is the new marketplace. If you want an answer to any question then the coffee brigade will provide a plethora of solutions.
Sit, sip and listen in any coffee house and you will hear the drone of learning amongst the voices of knowledge. And all for the price of a cup of coffee! In truth, coffee houses should have a wisdom tax. Christy’s Harvest on Westport’s Shop Street is like a university, dispensing nuggets of information, understanding and comfort.
To sit amongst such learned friends is a real treat. Ask any question and the answers pour forth, faster than Christy can provide a refill. Mayo County Council’s recent foray into biodiversity was a recent topic on the frothed lips of cappuccino minds around the town’s coffee tables. Observations ranged from complete support to claims that the council was hiding behind the title in a bid to save money on grass cutting. Regardless, the grass is cut and biodiversity is still alive in the margins.
Enter the jackdaws and starlings of the North and South Malls. Their nightly roosts along the Carrowbeg River have a downside; the water does not flow under the trees! Every morning a substantial calling card is deposited by hundreds of birds that have emptied themselves in preparation for a new day. Unfortunately for Westport citizens, the bird poo is piling up along the pavement, so much so as to make it unpleasant to walk along the river.
Apart from trying to avoid the droppings (impossible!) one has to also bear the terrible stench. The issue is being discussed in the coffee houses and among the intelligentsia. There are those on high coffee stools (who would never lower themselves and be seen with their backsides so close to the ground) and those on low stools.
Some claim that the council should try out its hand in a new business by gathering the bird waste and using it as a fertiliser. It might even become a small business. Mayo Guano or Mall Guano. It has a certain ring to it. Some of the coffee connoisseurs are even wondering if there are other plans.
We already have the Best Place to Live in Ireland title, thanks to John O’Callaghan. We have numerous Tidy Towns awards, along with Entente Florale and Best Kept Town awards. Perhaps there is a plan to seek another accolade. This time it would be world famous.
Coffee drinkers know that the most expensive cup of coffee is called kopi luwak. It is not your average everyday coffee bean. Its journey to the coffee cup has an unusual voyage. I kid you not when I state that an animal, called a civet cat, digests these beloved coffee beans or cherries. After yon cat has deposited its poo it is collected, treated (roasted) and sold as kopi luwak coffee.
It retails at over €500 per kilo. Break that down into cups of coffee! One wonders if Mayo County Council could ‘feed’ the Mall jackdaws and starlings some kind of coffee beans or cherries and then collect the droppings. They would be on to a winner. It would be another first for Westport; Covie Coffee, EU protected with its own ‘appellation.’
In the meantime, a little clean-up might be in order, especially of the Major John MacBride sculpture. It is bedecked with speckled black and white droppings. Hats off to Mayo County Council, even with the drought conditions they generously provided water for the beautiful flower boxes around the town. Thanks to that initiative the town is looking wonderful. Could not the Major be added to the list for a drop of water?
Covie Coffee could go to become a world-beater. In the meantime, we honour Major John, who gave his life for his country.