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George Vine's jokes

I was very sorry to hear of George Vine’s death, though he’d had a very good innings. I’d first read and admired his work in the old News Chronicle days, as a cub reporter at the Bury Times. I met him first in Bonn, a couple of decades later. At amusing end-of-day office drinks, he would regale us with his latest jokes, expertly - or, as some thought, atrociously - mimicking Irish, Scottish or other accents. It was a very good atmosphere.

And I’m reminded here of one of those excruciating jokes with which George used to regale Reuter colleagues. He was fond of accents and had developed a pseudo-Irish one all his own. “In Spain we say manyana, manyana,” the visitor says to the Irishman. “Do you have a similar expression here in Ireland?” After pondering the matter a little, the Irishman replies: “I don’t think we have a word that conveys quite the same degree of urgency.”  ■