LBC Members: Ashok (will return shortly), Conrad, Gaelikaa, Magpie 11, Maria, Marianna, Ramana, & Yours Truly. This week we are joined for the first time by Judy & Helen. Each week one of our number suggests a word or phrase for all of us to consider and add our thoughts to, with the aim of going live at the same time on a Friday, no matter which time-zone or corner of the world we live in. For me that time is 5pm.
This week Maria has us collecting our thoughts with Collecting or Collections
I have covered the topic of Collections in the past, so today I will try to go with Collecting.
It is almost 33 years since I first made a train journey to Belfast to spend a weekend with my new found love. All those years ago I was working and living in Dublin. On Friday afternoons we finished our work day at 4pm. This allowed me to cross the City before the rush hour traffic began, which in turn meant catching the early train to Belfast from Connelly Station.
Once I arrived into Belfast Central Station the walk along the platform to the Concourse seemed endless. My reward for that journey was the happy welcoming look on Jack’s face as he stood waiting to collect me. Even to this day when I need to meet a visitor from the Dublin train, as soon as I enter the building, I am transported back over the years.
A mere thirty five weeks later there was another memorable journey from Dublin to Co Antrim. On that occasion the journey was by car with Jack at the wheel, he was returning home with his new wife (me) having collected and packed all the goods and chattels that went with me! There was just about enough room for me in the front passenger seat, every other available space on the back seat and in the boot/trunk was filled with wedding presents and my remaining bits and pieces from my single life. An earlier journey took care of transporting my winter wardrobe of clothes, the sewing machine and sewing box. On that occasion I received a phone call shortly after Jack arrived home to tell me he had unpacked all my clothes and hung them in a wardrobe, assuring me that I could rearrange them as I wanted when I moved in.
Back in those days, random security checkpoints were a regular occurrence on the roads in Northern Ireland. The army or police patrols usually asked the driver for details of where they were coming from as well as their destination. It was also in order to request that the boot/trunk of the car be opened and the contents examined. We were stopped only once by an army patrol, on that day. Anticipating the usual search, Jack pleaded for mercy. Thankfully some of the parcels on the back seats were still covered in gift wrap. Jack informed the young soldiers, who like himself, came from the North East of England, that he was bringing home his new wife and all that she owned. I think the soldiers took pity on him, because they let him off without having to remove all the packages from the boot/trunk.
A couple of years later, on a bright autumn Sunday morning we were returning from church with an Elderly Aunt of Jack’s and his cousin. The road was straight with little traffic, ahead of us was another check point. “Uh, Oh Its the army!” said Jack, as he suddenly remembered he had come out without his driving licence. As we slowed down to stop the car, Jack realised his aunt was rummaging in her handbag. The next thing he knew, she had produced a couple of pound notes and handed them to him. The soldiers noticed this event and seemed rather curious. Jack having rolled down the window, said in his best North of England accent, that his aunt was over on holiday from England, and when she heard the word ‘Army’ she assumed he meant The Salvation Army and the money was for their collecting tin!
My final tale is about this little lady, seen here leaving for her first day at school. The school was over a mile away and we regularly hopped (yes, on one leg!), skipped or jogged to add variety to the journey. The part I enjoyed most was collecting Elly at the end of the school day, when she bounced out to greet me beaming from ear to ear. I loved the feel of her hot little hand placed in my icy cold one as she told me about all the adventures of the day. You had to listen carefully, as the stories were told only once, she didn’t like wasting time repeating things! 😆
I was reminded of those days when I was in hospital recently. As I lay drained and at a low ebb waiting for blood to be collected from another hospital for my transfusions, Elly sat patiently by my bedside with her hot little hand tucked into mine, it was very comforting and just the tonic I needed!