Sunday, June 22, 2008

A short excerpt from my book " Short Trousers Days in Navan "

My grandfather Pat was a very tall slim man who loved reading books. He once told me that you could travel the world by reading books. He had an ass and cart, which he used for drawing turf from the bog and he called the ass '' Fanny ''.
There was always great excitement whenever he decided to bring home the turf. He thought us how to harness the ass to the cart. My brothers, sisters and I would climb on board the cart and head on down the bog road with grandfather at the rains. The noise from the iron-rimed wooded wheels on the roadway was like music to uor ears. Unable to contain our excitement, with shouts of joy we would travel down the bog road. We were cowboys for the day, masters of all we surveyed off on a great adventure.

I'll never forget the day grandfather thought me how to ride. He put me on Fanny's back and brought me over the field but he insisted on holding the rein, saying, I was too young to go on my own. Later that evening when grandfather went to town on his bike, he warned me to stay away from Fanny, as I didn't have enough experience yet. He had only just thrown his leg over the bike when I dashed out the back door and straight up to the haggard where I knew Fanny was. I rode her bareback around the haggard but Fanny wasn't impressed, she buckleapt and I fell off!!
I never told my grandfather I was afraid of what he might say.

In May 2008 I attended the Dunderry Fair and was pleasantly surprised when I met Jinny one of Fanny's relatives.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Fishy Tale

Years ago, before the supermarkets came to Navan and before the Shopping Center was built people walked from one end of town to the other in order to do their weekly shopping. After shopping in their local grocers, one might have to walk to the other end of town to buy some meat from a butcher and then go to the other side of town to collect shoes from the cobbler. Most shops closed on Sundays except for newsagents and pubs.

Some of the pubs had a small grocery as you entered the premises and this came in very handy on Sundays and bank holidays if one was short of anything. The only problem was some people forgot to go home.

There was two pubs at Poolboy Bridge which were demolished years ago to make way for the new road. One was called Foxes and the other The Boyne Bar, which was owned by the Powderley family.

One Sunday evening when I was about twenty, which was many moons ago, I went into Foxe's for a pint. The bar was pretty full so I called for a pint in the grocery. There was a well known character who was much older than me sitting at the counter drinking a pint. I said hello but he just grunted at me. There was raw fish on the counter waiting for a buyer. As I waited for my pint to settle, the old character stared at me for a few moments. When he knew he had my attention he turned his gaze to the fish then stared back at me then back to the fish. Without uttering a word he picked up the fish by the tail and held it over his pint. He then put the fish into his pint head first and stirred it. When he was finished stirring he put the fish back on to the counter and stared at me for a moment.

Then it happened a smile broke out on his face. He picked up his pint and drank the lot in one go. I grabbed my pint and went to the bar.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Gooly Gooly Bird

Michael Sheils reading a short excerpt from his book " Short Trousers Days in Navan "