Friday 23 June 2017

Sheepish secret that shaped Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin in City Lights
Charlie Chaplin in City Lights

Fiona O’Connell

I'm with George Bernard Shaw, who said "animals are my friends...and I don't eat my friends." But neither do I eat the head off carnivores - or those who supply their demands. Especially as one of the most decent landlords I ever had was a butcher.

Ireland is not a renter's paradise, and many of the property owners I leased from over the years were fairly horrible. But he was both a butcher and a gentleman. He'd always greet me, when I came downstairs from the flat above his premises, with a "Morning, Fiona!" and a big, friendly smile - standing there all rosy-cheeked and cheerful, cleaver in hand and his apron splattered with blood.

I lived there for ages, despite the smell of raw meat that came up through the floorboards in summer. He is still carving up carcasses on Dublin's Wexford Street, and I still pop in for a chat if I'm in the city and passing.

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