Sep 24 2017

‘Land Ho!…’

Published by at 10:38 am under News

Rough Seas

There a while ago I got this great idea of travelling over to Chester in England for a few days and decided to go by boat. Now, the first time I was ever on a boat to England I was about 12 years old and had just come out of hospital where they took out my appendix. The Ma’ decided to bring some of us kids over to the sister for a few weeks holidays, now she never wrote and told the sister we were coming. The Da’ had phoned the sister the Sunday before from the phone box on the corner of Ratoath Road and the Cabra Road and said that he was sending the Ma’ over to her for a rest, he forgot to mention that all us kids were going with her as well. He was the one getting the rest, not the Ma’ and he’d say to the Ma’ that he’d put up the new wallpaper and paint the window frames in our kitchen for her and all before she came home.

   So into Town we went for the bus to the North Wall. ‘Ma’, can I have a sambitch now’? says the brother. ‘No…‘ says the Ma’ ‘…I told yeah, they’re for on the boat’. Now, we used to see these great big Luxury Liners on the Cabra Grand Picture House that Rock Hudson and Doris Day used to go on for their honeymoon, you know the ones were they slept in single beds on their first night of being married and that, and we were expecting to travel on the same kind of boat from Dublin. Two of the sisters said they were going to share the bed beside the little round window so they could look out at the sea together, little did they know. Well now, I remember the first thing that hit me was the smell of the Cattle Market in Prussia Street and when I looked out of the bus window there were millions of cows being herded onto the boat, I didn’t know then that we too were going to be herded onto the same boat.

   Anyway, we eventually made our way up the Gang-Plank and onto the boat. ‘Hold onto each other or youse’ll get lost’ roars the Ma’. As soon as I put my foot on the boat that was it for me, the boat was swaying from side to side with the movement of the cattle and the sea water combined. ‘Ma’, I think I’m going to be sick’ says I. Then the brother gives me a clatter across the back of the neck and says ‘Stop acting the eejit or you’ll go home’. Well now, I have to tell you that we got no luxury bedroom to go into to like Doris Day and when the boat took off we couldn’t stand up straight like she did in the Pictures. I was half expecting a Waiter to come around with our dinner on a tray and he wearing his nice white jacket and that. I could hear the cattle moaning and groaning below deck and the steam and the smell off them was something else altogether. The Ma’  told us that we’d have to stay out on the deck because all the Oul Fellas and Cattle Drovers were drunk inside. Every now and then one of the Oul Fellas would come running out onto the deck and hanging over the side he’d belch out a mouthful of sick, stale beer and cigarette butts for the Seagulls to feast on. We were all huddled up to the Ma’ and green as Goosegobs from the motion of the boat. And that’s my memory of my first time on a boat to England.

  Now, this boat to Chester was more like the one from the Pictures with a cinema and restaurant and all that. ‘Well now…’ says I to myself ‘…how times have changed’…

No responses yet

Comments are closed.