Celtic Illumination, part 342, And on the fifth day…
I spent the remainder of the Sunday evening with Phelim and I have to admit that I felt quite dirty. I wondered how many people had looked at me and had known that I had been a pervert’s plaything. I wondered about my cousin Paul and if he had been a target and Gervais, my friend, could he have been a victim too? Phelim was talking away at me but I wasn’t really listening, my mind was elsewhere, I had to decide whether or not I would stay in Ireland. It was obvious that I would be getting no support whatsoever from my family. I also expected that should I move the family over then I would be under pressure to toe the religious line, but to expose my children to a pervert might be taking things a bit too far.
Something was wrong somewhere and I couldn’t work out what it was. I knew that I could stay in Ireland and get on with my new life but I also knew that these people would interfere at every opportunity they could find. I felt that I could deal with that, in fact I was determined to tell Seamus that he was barred from my house. It was going to pull the top off a can of very messy worms and not one fishing rod in sight. I contacted the boys and told them I would not be starting work the following day. I went home and sat in my bedroom, well; the bedroom I had been allowed to sleep in, and wrote a few pages.
The next day I went down the street and wandered about the town meeting people and saying hello. It was obvious that life was moving on and I could join in with it if I wanted, Warrenpoint offered so much and was such a beautiful place to live. I met up with Phelim at lunch time and we went to a local pub for lunch. The pub we were in was known as The Ship which did not serve food. There were a good half dozen people in and then in came Davie Duff. Duff was the village idiot and I mean that in a nice way, he was a simple fellow and each and every day went around every pub in Warrenpoint asking people if they could spare fifty pence.
A menu was being passed around but it was from Bennetts, another pub that did serve food. I opted out but most people chose something from the menu, told the bar man and gave him some money. Duff was then dispatched with a list and some money over to Bennetts to get the lunches. I thought it was quite an Irish thing to happen and everyone was happy. Twenty minutes later Duff returned with all the meals and when the plates were all cleared he washed the dishes before returning them to Bennetts. I hadn’t really noticed before but Duff was running errands all over town, mainly to the bookies, but he was always busy and always smiling.
Duff was the fellow we had set up as a blind date with my sister Carol when she came home from Trinity in Dublin for a weekend. Where we lived was still a building site so Duff, who walked her home to the front door after their evening out, decided that it was too much effort to walk back down the hill so he jumped on a large dumper truck and freewheeled down. I do remember that I saw the dumper truck rammed in to the wall at the bottom of the hill that night as I was staggering home. I even checked for keys in case I could have started her up and taken myself to the top of the hill. No such luck, so I left it where it was and walked along the lane hoping that the bushes wouldn’t start moving.
Of course the next morning the neighbours couldn’t get past the dumper truck and make their way to church and putting two and two together deduced that I had set the thing off, as a prank, when I had come home the night before. So Duff hadn’t improved over the years but what was nice was that the guys explained to me that on top of each meal they would add an extra pound which the bar man put in to a special jar. A large family wedding was approaching and they were saving up to buy Duff a suit so that he could attend and look smart. Duff was unaware of this and I thought it a lovely gesture that rather than ridicule the poor fellow the community was actually looking out for him. Phelim went back to work leaving me wondering why all my friends were so nice and generous yet my family were not.
I had a big decision to make and knew it wouldn’t do to dwell on the problem; I just had to take a decision and get on with it. On the plus side I had eleven brothers and sisters to discover, mother number two might not want to have anything to do with me but surely all eleven of them wouldn’t reject me, or would they? I walked from The Ship over to the dock wall and stood watching the sea. I wanted my children to enjoy what Warrenpoint had to offer and I wanted to show Irene the rest of Ireland for it is such a wonderful place, and there’s so much of it too. I telephoned Irene and we began to talk about what I had been through.
The decision about whether I should stay or not was made for me as Irene asked me to come back. She was unsettled; a brother in law had been pestering her since I left to go away for a dirty weekend. She knew if I returned he would stop but I wasn’t allowed to mention it to him, she could handle him, she just needed me there for support. I began to wonder if all families were weird as I made my way home. If I opened my legs I could catch the evening ferry and be back in Skelmersdale the following afternoon. In a way I was glad that the decision had been made for me for I really wasn’t sure what to do.
I got back to England and talked through what had happened to me in Ireland with Irene. She wasn’t surprised and felt that Seamus had been behind it all as we both knew I would eventually confront the man. Unlike the others I didn’t tug the forelock to the collar. I kept my word to Irene as well and didn’t confront the brother in law which was a shame as I am sure his wife and children would have loved to have known all about his sad little games, unfortunately for him he had made an enemy of me and if I ever saw an opportunity then payback, as they say, can be a bitch. I began to think about what had happened and realised that I had been in a position that we had often talked about in the armed forces.
It was a common discussion usually starting with someone complaining about the armed forces and how badly we were treated, especially compared to civilians. The conversation would move on to what we would do if we were in civvie street. There always seemed to be the general consensus that civilians were lazy good for nothings and we would show them how to work. But we would always agree that we would do any job to survive, from digging ditches to sweeping the streets. I found it interesting that I had found myself almost in that exact situation where I needed a job and was willing to do anything and that got me thinking.
It’s all very well saying that you are willing to do almost anything to earn money and provide for your family, but would I? Running a taxi firm would have been a doddle, but driving a taxi, that was different. Taxi driving was not regarded as a rewarding occupation, unless you ran a black taxi in London. Tony had driven a taxi to provide for himself and his family while he finished his training as an optician. I have to admit I did shudder a little when I thought of myself as a taxi driver; the family would go bonkers too. I began to look in to taxi driving as an occupation, there were always adverts asking for taxi drivers in the local area. The mathematics of the job seemed to be in the taxi driver’s favour. Most were self-employed and theoretically the more you worked the more you earned. I decided that I had to put myself to the test; it’s easy enough to say that I was going to do this, that or the other, and plenty of people do. I, however, am not like plenty of people; I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t full of shit; I was going to become a taxi driver.