Apr 22 2020

‘Locked in, Locked up or Locked down…’

Published by at 11:58 am under News

‘It’s a strange world we’re living in at the moment all the same. I can’t go out here or I can’t go out there. Don’t be talking to this one or don’t be talking to that one. I’m standing too near or I’m standing too far. It almost reminds me of when I was a little boy all them years ago and I had the Flu. I couldn’t go out then either and all my little pals shouting up to the bedroom window and asking me was I going for a ramble with them up to the canal to catch Pinkeens. Sometimes I would sit up by the window and look out at them all playing away and there’d be my sisters and all their pals playing skipping and piggy beds and shop and mammies. My gang would be out there playing cowboys and indians and running up and down our road with their bicycle hoops having a race and some of them would be standing at our gate having a whistling competition to keep me entertained. One of them would get up on our railings and do a balancing act or try to walk along the railings without falling off. There they’d be having great gas altogether and me stuck up there in bed with the Flu. It just wasn’t fair.

I remember the time when my best pal, Willier Kavanagh, knocked on our hall door and gave the Ma’ a bunch of comics for me to read, he’d found them up in the Dump near the canal. Some of them were a little bit damp and others had some muck on them but the Ma’ didn’t seem to mind, she told me to mind the bedsheets and not to get them dirty. I sat up in the bed and became lost in all the adventures in between the pages of the war comics and especially fighting the Arabs with Monty and his lads in the desert during WWII. There was one story I was reading about a submarine and I ducked under the covers with my torch on so I could feel what it was like in that cramped space below the sea.

I loved Winker Watson and his school blazer, we never wore blazers to my school and I used to have a great laugh at Desperate Dan when his mother would serve him up his dinner of cow pie and the cow’s horns would be sticking out of it. I suppose the one I really loved the most was The Bash Street Kids because they always reminded me of the little gang I was a member of. Sure we’d always be in trouble for getting up to divilment on the Parish Priest or the Nuns or making fun of the shopkeeper who sold Nancy Balls. One time we set fire to a neighbour’s hedge in his front garden because he wouldn’t give us back our ball that had been kicked over the side wall of his house. I don’t know what it was about robbing orchards but we always seemed to end up with sour cooking apples that would give us cramps in the stomach.

There’d I’d be alright, bursting a gut to get outside and play with my pals. I was rightly locked down back then because the Ma’ could hear the grass grow and she’d let a roar up the stairs if she heard me out of bed, “I’m only going to do me poolie Ma’…” I’d shout down to her as I made my way into our toilet. We didn’t call it a bathroom back then, it was always the toilet or the older brothers used to say “The Jacks”. I was able to look out the little toilet window and see all the back gardens and some of the Oul Fellas digging and planting stuff to grow. Then I’d have to run and jump back into bed. Ah, they were hard times alright back then when I was sick and couldn’t go out. So, I suppose like having the Flu I just have to bide my time and eventually I’ll be able to go out again. Now, let me see, what did I out them comics…’

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