Celtic Illumination, part 44, the in crowd, dumper trucks and analysing cheese.
I was happy. I had managed to permanently break my connection with Violent Hell. Mum and dad were going out of their minds wondering how I could ever rise above the shame of my expulsion. I couldn’t have cared less. I was free and about to enjoy Warrenpoint and everything it could offer. Had my parents been aware that I was to become the greatest Master Candle Maker in the world and the Chief of the O Neill Clan not to mention the true King of Ireland they might have calmed down a bit. My sister however, had been awarded some special certificate for receiving the highest marks ever at Trinity College in Dublin, the parents pretended that I hadn’t happened.
I had settled in to life in Warrenpoint. Made some good friends and even had a girlfriend. Life, for me was looking up. The house we were living in was a bungalow on top of a hill. The locals referred to it as Snob Hill, to me it was a building site. It was in a beautiful position on a small hill overlooking the town of Warrenpoint and Carlingford Lough. But the road that took you up to the houses was a rough track. There were no street lights no drainage and after a couple of beers the pot holes made the stagger home quite interesting. I know, I know, I was far too young to be drinking, but this was Ireland.
My sister was coming home for a long weekend and myself and my friends decided to arrange a blind date for her. At this time the best looking males stood at the bank corner, unless it was the day they got their unemployment benefit when they would lie on the footpath at the bank corner having drunk their fill of cheap red wine. These guys had long hair, wore scruffy old jeans and smoked marijuana. They were the ‘in’ crowd.
One day I was passing the bank corner and Davie Duffy was there, on his own. I approached him and asked if he would be interested in escorting my sister one evening to a local dance. Davie said why not and then brought a piece of cheese out from his jacket pocket. He showed me the cheese, which wasn’t wrapped or in any sort of container. Of course it had picked up all sorts of bits of tobacco and lint and specks of gravel from Davie’s jacket pocket. Davie informed me that he had eaten some of this cheese the day before and was taking it to the doctor to be analysed. There was something wrong with it.
Some of you might have had warning bells ring at his point. I didn’t. I had got my sister a date and that was that. Davie did take my sister out on a Saturday evening. I remember it very well. They came to the Osbourne hotel where I was working as a barman. A clever move on Davie’s part as he was able to get free drinks from me all night long. They left before I could and on my way home I noticed a large dump truck rammed into the wall at the bottom of the hill. I do remember checking to see if there were any keys in the vehicle as I was a bit drunk and didn’t fancy the long walk up the hill.
There were no keys so I dragged myself home. The last thing you want on a Sunday morning when you have a hangover is noise. That Sunday morning there was plenty. At my bedroom door was my sister telling me off for coupling her up with such an idiot while the neighbours were at the front door complaining to my parents. Like Violent Hell they had assumed that I had come home drunk. Okay a fair and accurate observation. But they claimed that I must have released the handbrake of the dumper truck and allowed it to roll down the Hill. It could have killed someone!
Now at two o’clock in the morning there were not many pedestrians about, only me and I was so drunk I didn’t know who I was, so I couldn’t tell you the names of the others, if there were any. But similar to Violent Hell I was blamed and found guilty by the neighbours, my parents and of course my sister who loved it. Later that day as I went into town for the hair of the dog I met Davie and thanked him for taking my sister out. It didn’t matter what had gone on between them I needed to maintain my credibility with the ‘in’ crowd. Davie then began to tell what had happened. He had escorted my sister to the door of the house, but rather than a thank you or a good night kiss she slammed the door in his face. Davie wandered of and said that he couldn’t be bothered walking so he jumped on a dumper truck, couldn’t find the keys so free wheeled all the way down the hill.