3. Across the Sea

ACROSS THE SEA
The ferry, which was not exactly what Brian was expecting, was basically an old trawler stripped down to the shell with a few boards nailed onto the bare bulkhead ribs. It mainly embarked from Bluebell End basically when the ferryman felt like it. Brady eventually decided to get the show on the road at around 4pm.

Brian got all the run of the mill jobs. Nobody else wanted to do this presentation, everyone preferred the big glamour presentations in London’s West End, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Twiggy and Cilla Black.
The local newspaper, the Derrylin Chronicle, had agreed with an agency that their photographer Sid, would send send the photos to London to be circulated amongst the Fleet Street rags if they were interested. Mind you, the camera had a cracked lens and he doubted whether the film in it was still any good.

Sid once upon a time in the late 60’s, had a well paid job working for the Belfast Telegraph but was pensioned off with what his doctor called shell shock. He’d sneaked up an alley for a quick pee during a bomb alert. Everyone else cleared the area but the bomb went off close by and blew him half naked into a cemetery. He was picked up by a vigilant and brave RUC man and taken to the police station where a passing nun tried to have him charged with indecent exposure.

He was allowed to have a shower in the prisoner compound, a gash on his head was swabbed and cleaned, a single stitch was inserted without any local anaesthetic and a huge white bandage was wrapped turban like around his head. He was then given an orange boiler suit to wear and sent on his way. He retired to live on Inishbog, got a job in Derrylin and was as happy as Larry.

The island life, he felt, suited him better, it was quieter, there were less memories of the troubles except on August the 1st when the gun club held their annual clay pigeon shoot. They ran out of clays years ago so they used half sized baked bean tins but it is 4 years since anyone hit one.

When the SS Princess Agnetha was washed ashore in the storm of ’68 it had 35 tonnes of baked bean tins in the hold. There were still thousands of rusty tins left in Pat O’Driscoll’s barn. At one time, hardly anything consumed on the island had been bought, most was washed ashore in crates or salvaged from shipwrecks, but modern navigational aids not to mention a change of personnel in the local coastguard, put a virtual stop to it.

Siobhan Kelly was a seamstress by trade. Self taught. She made her own trousers and blouses but had never had any tuition. And you could tell. Sean, her husband liked to think he was a bit of a ladies man. On account of a huge nose complete with what looked like a nest of black spiders living up each nostril, he was not very successful.
Siobhan visited Derrylin on the mainland once a fornight and she filled in her Prestons tickets in the funeral directors as a matter of course.

Derrylin shopping centre, although it was called such, wasn’t so much of a centre, more like a collection of adjoined shops knocked through, a unisex hairdressers run by two gay men, a butchers, a funeral directors and a newsagents that doubled up as post office, general store, cobblers and had a few items of clothing hanging on metal racks.
She’d originally gone for some Marmite, some capers in brine and a new pair of shoes. She fancied some coffee & cream brushed leather with a small stacked heel and a classy gold tip on the toe, but they only had flat gold slip-ons like those in the Sunday papers and even they were second hand but she bought them anyway. And there were no capers either. Nobody knew what they were.

Gimpy was the local self appointed hard nut. Nut being the operative word. Nobody on Inishbog can remember Gimpy leaving the island except once to his uncle’s funeral in Derrylin. He took an instant dislike to Brian, he represented authority.

His real name was Nigel, but he was known as Gimpy by all and sundry, gimp being slang for someone thought of as an idiot, in this case the island idiot. He didn’t really like anybody. He didn’t even like his own name so he accepted Gimpy quite readily, mainly because he thought it had a happy go lucky ring to it, blissfully unaware of it’s real connotation.

He had shifty eyes and a badly drawn tattoo of a girl he fancied on his back which he’d done himself using a mirror when he was a teenager. It looked pretty well like one of the picasso paintings Emily Griffiths had whisked away from Brian’s smouldering Anglia.

Gimpy wasn’t bad or anything, he was all noise and bluster. A bark worse than his bite.
He just thought he was hard and went round trying to prove it, albeit without much success. He used to start fights at school then proceed to lose them. Even to girls. Mind you, there were only 5 kids in the class, three of them girls, the other boy ended up as co-owner of the hairdressing salon in Derrylin. Infact the same 5 made up the sum total of the school population and the ages ranged from 4 to 15 years old.

ACROSS THE SEA
The ferry, which was not exactly what Brian was expecting, was basically an old trawler stripped down to the shell with a few boards nailed onto the bare bulkhead ribs. It mainly embarked from Bluebell End basically when the ferryman felt like it. Brady eventually decided to get the show on the road at around 4pm.

Brian got all the run of the mill jobs. Nobody else wanted to do this presentation, everyone preferred the big glamour presentations in London’s West End, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Twiggy and Cilla Black.
The local newspaper, the Derrylin Chronicle, had agreed with an agency that their photographer Sid, would send send the photos to London to be circulated amongst the Fleet Street rags if they were interested. Mind you, the camera had a cracked lens and he doubted whether the film in it was still any good.

Sid once upon a time in the late 60’s, had a well paid job working for the Belfast Telegraph but was pensioned off with what his doctor called shell shock. He’d sneaked up an alley for a quick pee during a bomb alert. Everyone else cleared the area but the bomb went off close by and blew him half naked into a cemetery. He was picked up by a vigilant and brave RUC man and taken to the police station where a passing nun tried to have him charged with indecent exposure.

He was allowed to have a shower in the prisoner compound, a gash on his head was swabbed and cleaned, a single stitch was inserted without any local anaesthetic and a huge white bandage was wrapped turban like around his head. He was then given an orange boiler suit to wear and sent on his way. He retired to live on Inishbog, got a job in Derrylin and was as happy as Larry.

The island life, he felt, suited him better, it was quieter, there were less memories of the troubles except on August the 1st when the gun club held their annual clay pigeon shoot. They ran out of clays years ago so they used half sized baked bean tins but it is 4 years since anyone hit one.

When the SS Princess Agnetha was washed ashore in the storm of ’68 it had 35 tonnes of baked bean tins in the hold. There were still thousands of rusty tins left in Pat O’Driscoll’s barn. At one time, hardly anything consumed on the island had been bought, most was washed ashore in crates or salvaged from shipwrecks, but modern navigational aids not to mention a change of personnel in the local coastguard, put a virtual stop to it.

Siobhan Kelly was a seamstress by trade. Self taught. She made her own trousers and blouses but had never had any tuition. And you could tell. Sean, her husband liked to think he was a bit of a ladies man. On account of a huge nose complete with what looked like a nest of black spiders living up each nostril, he was not very successful.
Siobhan visited Derrylin on the mainland once a fornight and she filled in her Prestons tickets in the funeral directors as a matter of course.

Derrylin shopping centre, although it was called such, wasn’t so much of a centre, more like a collection of adjoined shops knocked through, a unisex hairdressers run by two gay men, a butchers, a funeral directors and a newsagents that doubled up as post office, general store, cobblers and had a few items of clothing hanging on metal racks.
She’d originally gone for some Marmite, some capers in brine and a new pair of shoes. She fancied some coffee & cream brushed leather with a small stacked heel and a classy gold tip on the toe, but they only had flat gold slip-ons like those in the Sunday papers and even they were second hand but she bought them anyway. And there were no capers either. Nobody knew what they were.

Gimpy was the local self appointed hard nut. Nut being the operative word. Nobody on Inishbog can remember Gimpy leaving the island except once to his uncle’s funeral in Derrylin. He took an instant dislike to Brian, he represented authority.

His real name was Nigel, but he was known as Gimpy by all and sundry, gimp being slang for someone thought of as an idiot, in this case the island idiot. He didn’t really like anybody. He didn’t even like his own name so he accepted Gimpy quite readily, mainly because he thought it had a happy go lucky ring to it, blissfully unaware of it’s real connotation.

He had shifty eyes and a badly drawn tattoo of a girl he fancied on his back which he’d done himself using a mirror when he was a teenager. It looked pretty well like one of the picasso paintings Emily Griffiths had whisked away from Brian’s smouldering Anglia.

Gimpy wasn’t bad or anything, he was all noise and bluster. A bark worse than his bite.
He just thought he was hard and went round trying to prove it, albeit without much success. He used to start fights at school then proceed to lose them. Even to girls. Mind you, there were only 5 kids in the class, three of them girls, the other boy ended up as co-owner of the hairdressing salon in Derrylin. Infact the same 5 made up the sum total of the school population and the ages ranged from 4 to 15 years old.