Witty, if a bit pointless. The Irish like him.
Luckily for Tony Hawks, he’d undertaken his voyage in a country which understands and empathises with the average idiotic quest. With the help of national radio, he becomes something of a celebrity wherever he goes, receiving countless offers of hospitality; parties are thrown for him and he get outrageously drunk at every turn.
And that’s nothing to the response that the Irish give the fridge. Drivers who give the couple lifts scrawl all over it in felt tip pen, the fridge gets christened to ensure its place in heaven and it even gets taken surfing by a local who particularly gets into the spirit of things.
Tony Hawks is a bit of a wimp at first when it comes to hitchhiking and hasn’t quite got the idea that a good deal of waiting is involved. But with the Gerry Ryan show firmly behind him there are soon more than enough drivers willing to take him along and indeed, Irish media seems to have been so dry for news that TV crews, radio and print journalists fall over themselves to give the fridge its 7 minutes of fame.
Hawks gets on such a roll that after a while all he seems to need to do is walk into the nearest pub with his fridge on a trolley behind him before he makes friends with half the town.
“‘Mary, have you heard about his fella? He’s bringing a fridge round Ireland.’
‘Jeez, what an eejit. What’s he drinking?'”
Tony Hawks makes a living by being funny and Round Ireland with a Fridge will have you laughing out loud. At times his little speeches and flights of fancy go on rather too long and you feel like you’re reading more of a script than a travelogue. He can also be facetious at times, trying to pull of innuendos or crabby one-liners that suggest a comedian on stage struggling to get any laughs.
Most of the time though it’s a pleasure to watch him suffer the agonies of being an articulate, if slightly awkward, Englishman winning the love of the Irish as he lets Fate guide him around the country with no thought of where he’ll sleep tomorrow. Generally, the fridge seems to have its own destiny and there’s no doubt that it would have been a dull trip without it.
Each time Tony Hawks moves on though he realises that sad truth so familiar to the hitchhiker or traveler that he has to start from scratch in each place he arrives in. In some villages he becomes a celebrity, the toast of the town, and then in others he’s simply some fool with a large kitchen appliance in tow.
Hawks and the fridge are usually on safe territory once they hit the pub though and order a Guiness. Discussions usually then ensue about the merits of travel, rucksacks and fridges and the questions come fast and furious.
“‘How much was the bet for?’ said Niamh, who was working behind the bar for the summer.
‘A hundred pounds.’
‘And how much was the fridge?’ enquired an interested bystander called John.
‘A hundred and thirty pounds.;
‘Jeez, you’re an eegit,’ added Seamus, the pub manager.
‘Niamh, get this man a pint,’ concluded Geraldine the boss.”
Hawks is overwhelmed by the warm welcomes he receives everywhere he goes and ends up surmising that such is the Irish character.
‘I was beginning to understand how the Irish mentality worked. The more foolish, illogical or surreal one’s actions were supposed to be (and surely mine fell into one of these categories), the wider the arms of hospitality were opened in salutation.’
Round Ireland with a Fridge is a must for any hitchhiker or traveler who has ever dreamed to hitting the road with a surreal mission or purpose. Tony Hawks illustrates the value of a dream and how playing the inspire fool can bring faith and meaning to other people’s lives. If the resulting hangover doesn’t completely obliterate the memory of meeting him.