Celtic Illumination, part 28, a riot, a sewer and hot buttered toast
I often feel that somewhere someone had a sheet of paper. At the top they wrote my name, which name they used I’m not sure for I have had many names throughout my life. Perhaps they just wrote something simple like His most gracious highness King Malachy. And then they would write Master Candle Maker at the bottom of the page, and between those two points they would list the skills, knowledge and experience that would allow me to become the greatest Master Candle Maker in the world, ever.
I moved on from living in the local parochial house with the priest and the deranged house keeper, to live with a local family. My mother and father had gone to live in a small seaside village called Glenarm, my sister had been sent to French France. I wondered if my bike had survived in Belfast. Some of you may think that perhaps I was moved on as a little boy living in a parochial house mike look strange but I know that I was moved on as part of my on-going training.
I didn’t know it then, only now as a Master Candle Maker can I look back and understand what exactly was happening to me. The family I moved in with were the people who ran the gentleman’s outfitter I had attended each year and we were not related in any way at all. They had a son my age, which was all that we had in common. I had come from the bustling big city and now I was encamped with the rural elite. I have to say that they were a lovely, lovely, family. I especially liked breakfast with that family. All of us, eight in total, sitting around a large kitchen table with steaming mugs of sweet tea and piles of toast, with real butter. Fabulous.
The priest still came around, especially on Saturdays when myself and the boy my age would have to wash his car. He wouldn’t pay us for washing his car but saw it as a sort of duty. However we soon discovered that as the man was a chain smoker he kept a carton of cigarettes under the driver’s seat in his car. Naturally we helped ourselves.
I always admired the intelligence network the church had set up through the confessional system. People will always defend them and say that priests are men of God and wouldn’t use anything that was said to them in the confessional box. I can assure you that this priest would often confront me with things I had been accused of in Warrenpoint. The power and influence they had was unbelievable.
One evening we were having a riot. I don’t mean that we were having a rowdy party. A new sewerage system was being installed and huge concrete pipes were lined along the side of the town’s major road waiting to be put into the ground. The men of the village rolled them out to block the road and when the army came about two hundred of them began pelting the soldiers with anything that wasn’t tied down. I say ‘they’ because although I was there I wouldn’t do such a thing.
It was a fantastic riot with rubber bullets and tear gas being hurled back towards us, I mean them, the naughty rioters. When between the army front lines and the rioters drove my uncle. He stepped out of his car shouted something at the army and then scolded the rioters, ordering that they put back the pipes before dispersing. If I gave you his name you could Google it and see that he was slated in the press and is expected to be named as the biggest pervert in Ireland. So I won’t.