Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Andrea Murrill, the artist who’s here from Minneapolis with her husband Randy and two year old Soren, is responsible. When we first met she asked if I’d join her for Bingo at the parish hall the following Monday. In a new country and open to any adventures, especially those that involve cash prizes and tea breaks, I agreed. The next Monday we took the last couple of chairs in a crowded hall and settled in for an evening of Bingo. We notices right away that the cards were laid out differently than they are in the States (or to be more specific, differently than they are in 1st grade classeooms in the States, as that was the last time we played genuine Bingo; I won’t count playing “BAKER” at our wedding rehearsal dinner). There are no letters lining the top of the card, no B,I,N,G, or O to use for orienteering. The caller simply calls out a number between 1 and 90. Sounds simple enough, but then you must factor in the Irish accent and the Bingo slang. We spent the first few cards a bit confused by eventually cottoned on. Neither of us won that first night. Andrea went back with Randy the following week and won 15 Euro (about $20). Last night I joined her, her mom and her friend visiting from Arizona and lo and behold, I won 15 Euro. I am proud to say that when I realized I won I called out “Check!” just like the locals (Andrea shouted out “BINGO!” when she won, earning lots of good-natured laughter from the hometown crew). Here’s a glossary of Irish Bingo slang, should you find yourself in need:
Cat’s Eye = 1
One Lone Duck = 2 (and everyone in the room does a single “quack”)
One Great Lady = 8 (‘cause it’s curvy – get it?)
Downing Street = 10
One Great Pair of Legs = 11 (and everyone whistles)
Unlucky for Some = 13
Key in the Door = 21 (I’m still trying to figure this one out)
A Pair of Ducks = 22 (and everyone in the room does a double “quack”)
Half the House = 45
Two Great Ladies = 88
Top of the House = 90


Lynn Boulger said...

Key in the door equals 21, draling because 21 used to be when you became an adult in Britain.(It's now 18...) As an adult, you were considered free to come and go as you pleased rather than according to your parents' wishes. Thus, you were now entitled to "the key of the door".

LR said...

I'm finally catching up with your blog. This is cracking me up - the BINGO slang is priceless. I'm also filing away some of these little gems...like you and David playing "Baker" at your rehearsal dinner. We are really missing you all!