Celtic Illumination, part 145, Ding dong! The bells, are going to chime.
It should come as no surprise to you, the Illuminati, to learn that my gallivanting days were numbered. Irene had decided that she was going to marry me and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it. She had managed to grab herself one of the most eligible chaps on the face of the earth so she was a lucky girl indeed. If the truth be told, then it was myself who proposed to her. I shall not go into details for it was such a romantic occasion I would hate to have you all burst into tears, and that is just the chaps.
We had no set date for the wedding or any estimation for the length of the engagement. We set about informing our families and waited for their input for what would be the happiest days of our lives. It was suggested to me that Irene and I should go to Ireland where the two Uncle priests, one of whom would be the pervert priest, would officiate and we could enjoy a huge Irish, family, wedding. It sounded good to me. I don’t think I had ever been to a wedding in Ireland as a guest, my cousins had married but I was never invited for some reason. I had seen wedding receptions when I worked as a barman, so I was looking forward to a good knees up.
Irene’s mother then suggested that it would not be fair for Irene to be robbed of enjoying the happiest day of her life without her family around her, so she suggested that we could get married in Liverpool, with all of Irene’s family in attendance. I was like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights. I didn’t know what way to turn. I had met Irene’s family and her mother proudly stated that she was a staunch Orange woman, with no association or connection to Ireland. Why, I have no idea, she wasn’t even a regular church goer. However, as they say, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.
It was then suggested that yes, we could get married in Liverpool, having first of all gone to Ireland and got a Catholic wedding then fly to Liverpool and have a church of England blessing or whatever the equivalent was. This was fine for one side but the other wanted the marriage proper in Liverpool and then we could fly to Ireland and have a blessing there. The whole thing was getting out of hand. The Bishop of Down and Connor joined in, luckily as I knew him, for he was the old president of Violent Hell. When I knew him he was a vicious little bastard and surprise, surprise, he hadn’t changed much in the intervening years.
He wouldn’t accept any other ceremony before the one the pervert priest would perform in Warrenpoint. Believe it or not his opposite number in Liverpool drew the same line in the sand and the face off continued. I had thought that all this horse shit was behind me. Irene and I had started seeing a priest in Wymondham, so that Irene could become a Catholic, and we could get married in Ireland. It was after a week or two of this hogwash that I put a stop to it. I had had enough. I thought I had left Ireland and all its hatred well behind me, and I was disgusted that it still followed me in the shadows of my life.
People these days with the proliferation of violent acts appearing immediately on our television, or computer screens, are happy to denounce the Lumpenproletariat as the cause, or back bone, of the violence. Karl Marx described the lowest layer of society as the Lumpenproletariat. These were the uneducated, the unemployed, the great unwashed. My dad was the headmaster of the largest primary school in Belfast; my mother was an opera singer, Lumpenproletariat my arse. Don’t get me wrong, I am hugely embarrassed at comments made by both sides, especially by the knuckle dragging elements, but I promise you, the hatred is ingrained in them all.
Religious hatred in the North of Ireland is a direct policy of the British empirical strategy of divide and rule. Most sensible people realise how utterly ridiculous and stupid it is for one religion to hate another, but that’s what they have done to my country. Add to that the pure evilness of the British class system and it’s so, so, sad to see people hiss and snarl at each other like angry cats. The most stupid act I had ever encountered was when a Catholic parish priest wouldn’t allow my Protestant uncle Jack to be buried alongside his Catholic wife Cathleen in his graveyard. I wasn’t having any of it. I asked Irene if she wanted to marry me and she said ‘Yes.’ I asked if she cared where or when it would happen and she said ‘No.’ So I wandered off into Watton and booked us in to the civil registry office.
I put a note on the notice board at work stating that Irene and myself were getting married, if you were a friend then you were welcome. Suddenly the great gang of people at Watton took over. After the wedding in Watton a reception would be held at the rugby club and in the evening, a dance would be held in the Lodge. The wives were organised, by Maureen, Jon Hampson’s wife and sandwiches, wedding cake and finger food was prepared. Chunkie was even badgered in to providing some scran.
I look at people these days who talk about six, seven, or even eight thousand pounds for a wedding, and that’s a cheap one. I had to spend about twenty five pounds on the wedding licence and a similar amount for a barrel of beer to be given away in the rugby club. That’s how much my wedding cost me. Martyn Bennet took my car and turned it into a wedding carriage, with white sheets covering the rear seat and white ribbons enhancing its sleek lines.
I arranged for a decent live band to play that evening in the Lodge, unfortunately I forgot to collect the money tin and the tickets, so I couldn’t charge anyone entry, it would have to be a free function. Mervyn, Willie and Dereck came in from London and Docker arrived from some far flung corner of the world. It was such a fantastic day seeing all our friends dancing and celebrating well into the wee small hours.
The only complaint I would have would be for dear old Martyn Bennet, who sadly passed away recently. Martyn, while we were getting married, sprayed my car with graffiti, using a can of shaving foam. It was the usual ‘Just married’ stuff, he wrote all over the car, along with the obligatory collection of cans clattering behind. Unfortunately the shaving foam must have been quite acidic and cut into the paint. The only way to cover up the writing on the car was never ever to wash it again.
The day began with everyone, apart from the bride and her party, meeting up in the Crown Hotel in Watton. Then we moved to the registry office. The reception at the rugby club was fantastic, it was a beautiful day, in May, and it was described as the social event of the year. That evening we had a fantastic time in the Lodge and it was as we were leaving, to go to our new house, that I decided to pause and telephone the parents and inform them I had just got married. After all, it was only fair for them to join in with such a happy occasion. I remember the telephone call word for word. It was in the tiny telephone kiosk by the main door at the Lodge. My mother had answered the telephone. “Hello mum,” I said. “Hello,” she replied. “Listen,” I said. “I’ve just got married this morning.” “You got married this morning?” she asked. “Yes,” I said, hoping she could detect the happiness in my voice. “Irene and I got married in a registry office this morning.” “Hold on,” she said. “Your father wants to talk to you.”
“Hello dad,” I said as I heard him take the phone, and waited for his words of wisdom and perhaps congratulations. “Your mother says you got married in a registry office this morning?” “Yes,” I said. “Irene and I got married this morning in Watton registry office.” “I see,” he said, adding. “Please do not ever telephone this house again, do not write, or attempt to visit, you are not a member of this family anymore.”