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Saturday, August 16, 2014

behind garden walls

Evinize gelen yeni bireyden ötürü sizi kutlarız!
I hear from Ayse that she gave birth in Montreal this week! Welcome Baby Zehra ! Much Love From Tony   X

A wee timeline to inform this post:
*February 16th 1968 saw The Beatles,Mike Love,Mia Farrow,Donovan travel to India to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Rishikesh.

*July 12th 1968 saw The Belfast Orange March .(which was to be the last trouble-free  march for 30 years)

*5th 1968  saw the start of Northern Ireland's "Troubles": {"The Troubles:1968-1998"}

My brother Ziggy gave me & Phil (the X-Fireman) a lift in his car to catch the Heysham -Belfast ferry. It was 1968.
This was my second holiday without my Mam & Dad.The previous year, 5 of us from School had hired a caravan in Great Yarmouth.
This time only me & Phil.  As i write this I realize that , for the first time , Belfast was the  only occasion we have ever been abroad together.He nearly came to my house in Italy a couple of years ago..but because of his mother's illhealth ,had to cry off at the very last minute .)
Anyway......I knew nothing about Northern Ireland politics..I didn't know it was going to blow up only months after we had been there.
In fact Belfast harbor itself 'blew my mind'.A big beefy Policeman glared at us as well walked off the ferry.A big fat gun on his hip....It looked more like a Chicago mobster movie to me...I felt like Elliot Ness on a Mission....
Phil's dad Bob was a Protestant Ulsterman.  His family lived on the Shankhill Road. Phil had never been before,so we had to walk with our rucksacks through the terraced streets .They all still had the archways & bunting & dates& King Billy scrawled on walls from the previous month's Orange March......Seriously fucking weird.
Phil had primed me beforehand."Dont talk about religion" "tell 'em your CofE";We were hitching from Belfast to Dublin afterwards.The agreement was we swapped religion at the border.
(Strangely.Phil would join The British Army a couple of years later & patrol those same borders again.)
His family made me very welcome .Being both Cof E & an English accent gave me browny -points i guess..........
After as couple of days we set of out of Belfast.Camping &hitching our way to The Free State.
Eventually we got to Dublin.Staying in a Youth Hostel opposite Mountjoy Prison
After that we walked inland........eventually  staying  in a pretty rural Youth Hostel on the other side on Bray.It  had a   Graveyard  with  bodies of Germany Navy sailors from World War 2.
we stayed for several  days R&R....& meeting new arrivals.  It was like a scene from Easy Rider! This American dude & beard rode his motorbike into town with a very young girlfriend in tow (she must have been 10 years his minor).
The Irish wife of the hostel warden was scandalized ( she looked like the housekeeper from Father Ted).But she let them stay a night (saying something to the effect of 'Good Riddance' as they rode off into the horizon the following morning)
He was a really friendly bloke.Said they were from California .They were just touring Europe for a few weeks on their own.
Thing was.He looked like Mike Love from The Beach Boys.We were too shy to ask him more......Now this may have been an opportunity missed?But ,on the other hand, our silence then allowed us to dine out on the possibility ever since!
A few weeks after returning to England, i happened to be reading in the NME that Mike Love had spent August 'holidaying in Europe'.......who knows? Perhaps....? From this distance , its nice to imagine that Me & Phil might have had a couple of walk-on parts in the The Californian  Dream.
Phil The Pre-Fireman  in 1966

Say a prayer to any gods you know.My best friend Phil is going through hard times at the moment.I have known him since we went to school together in 1963. He is like a second brother to me.I have many tales to tell.Watch this space! The Summer of 65 ,on hearing I was going with my family to relatives in Poland,he asked me to "Bring Back A Piece Of The Iron Curtain".I have been trying to do that for him ever since.......we shall call it unfinished business..
{. Sandy Denny & Fairport Convention: Like An Old Fashioned Waltz :Live at Clark University, Worcester, MA; April 27, 1974. }

Ken,Tony ,Phil & Iris: This Afternoon in Halifax.
Some photos [here] from this special meeting today in Halifax.Much Love is Here. No doubt,I will talk later about this all .....

5 comments:

Kurt said...

Great Beach Boys track!

Kristin said...

Good luck to Phil.

Now you've got me thinking about the timeline of my life in 1968...

savannah said...

the beach boys! *sigh*

what a past you have, sugar! xoxoxo

sackerson said...

An interesting story! I can relate to it, as I've had in-laws from Derry and reason to go to and fro to Ireland a few times.

In 1968 I was ten. I lived in Lichfield in the Midlands. The most exciting thing that happened around then was an anti-Vietnam march went through the town (on its way to London perhaps?) I remember being told to stay in! Next morning there was, in huge letters, US GET OUT OF VIETNAM written on the wall on the way to school. I remember being most impressed - and I still am.

sackerson said...

Getting quite nostalgic here! Just been to Googlemaps to look for the hallowed wall upon which the words were written. Sadly, I think it's been pulled down, along with the foundry round the corner - which has been replaced by a Morrissons. Sigh.