Author Topic: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.  (Read 1985204 times)

Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12675 on: November 30, 2018, 07:44:40 AM »
Part Whatever

We pulled up at the Whitehouse (lol). I got out and walked round to open the car door for her. She got out with the bearing of a woman who wished she hadn't come. There was no glory whatsoever in this. If anything it proved her niece to be a bin-hoker. That would never do. That's how she would have viewed it and you could see it in her face and recognise it further by her stiff, uncompromising movements. It didn't matter to me as a thick-skinned individual and my own way of looking at everything. What Mr. Armstrong was trying to did interest me, and I was keen to meet him.

The short, stone walls of the old bawn at that time had a dilapidated-looking door. Soon Bob opened up and greeted us. He was an ordinary-looking man whose movements around the place were what sketched his character - rather than physical attributes. He was animated by his mission  to get this old place up and running as a heritage centre.

He was partially blind, but that didn't stop him from pushing on with his aims. He told us about his impaired vision, not as a victim looking for sympathy, but as someone who wanted us to know that if he trod on our toes he was sorry but it couldn't be helped. We entered properly, and after a few introductions he explained that some or other religious group had held meetings in the place until he had managed to acquire it through a grant, and explained that the porta-cabin they had erected inside the bawn for their ceremonies had just been demolished, and that we were looking at the aftermath.

This was our cue to size it all up. My Aunt sniffed loudly when she saw the rubble all over the floor and general mess. It clashed with her gold rings. I turned away and laughed, for I knew she expected a red carpet at the very least. Then came the business of the stuff I'd brought. We entered a sort of small back room. In its day hundreds of years ago it might have been a pantry - that is, if the original layout of the place was more or less intact that day about 22 years ago. I can't say for I just don't know.

We all went in and there was a bit of a table to spread it on. Mr. Armstrong showed signs of excitement as I took the bits and pieces out of the box. He soon declared that they were exactly the type of thing he was looking for. I felt I'd let him down because there had been so much more I'd obtained which had been scattered to the four winds.

"If I'd known about you and what you intended back then I'd have made sure you had triple the quantity," I said.
"Not at all. This is great," he said. "That infill up the road where you are is useful. It's a case that this stuff shows signs of life in earlier times in the area - even if the stuff was collected from bins in other parts of the city."
"I see what you mean," I answered, thinking about his words. "Well, it will always start you off here until someone comes up with something a bit more thrilling."
"Will you donate it to us?" he asked. "I'd like to put it out on show as on permanent loan from you."
My Aunt brightened at the prospect and kicked a bit of grit at her feet. Her rings glinted anew.
"There is something else here. I don't know if it's suitable, but you can have it all the same if it's any good."

At the bottom of the box was a very, very old paper bag deeply creased and as so flimsy that I rarely touched it, for it had dawned on me some time before that the bag was possibly as old as the item within..   
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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12676 on: December 01, 2018, 06:51:40 AM »
....Inside the bag was something acquired from Colonel Dunn's house. Most people over a certain age know about this high-ranking Army Officer who had lived in the area, but I never knew the connection my family had with him nor why we had something from his former house. I just knew it came from the house clearance after he passed on, and now something had to be done to try to preserve it as best as possible. Speculating about this, I think that someone inside my mother's family was connected to him by marriage, and it arrived in our house courtesy of this particular woman. It ended up in my possession along with other, historic items as I was inclined to hanging onto stuff no-one else wanted.

It was a copy of the Belfast Commercial Chronicle from Saturday, January 18, 1806. An old, yellowed newspaper. The quality of paper itself has always interested me, and in spite of its great age this copy had very thick sheets whose edges looked  like erosion had set in - rather than there being any tears in the body of it. I'd never seen anything like that before. You could have been forgiven for thinking it was on parchment. The headlines were the funeral of Lord Nelson. The copy I took before handing it over is in front of me now, and Shakespeare's words are at the head of the article:

"Mourn you for him; let him be regarded
As the most noble Corse that ever Herald
Did follow to his urn."

Well it's a bit much, isn't it? Off the top of my head I could think of more noble men than Nelson - who as far as I can see just wheeled his cannon somewhere and let it rip several times. To my mind, those noble men would be factory workers who clocked in 7 days a week for 50 years. No-one was giving them devilled kidneys on a silver platter for breakfast on a sailing ship, but they got in with it in a mood of complete stoicism year after year until they dropped.

And why Shakespeare decided to mis-spell "corpse" is anybody's guess, but we all know that he had reasons beyond our ken. But was it even him who wrote all this confusing nonsense in the first place? Someone else might have been repsonsible for what the world holds as perfection. Frankly I don't get it (though I do realise it's a matter of personal taste). I've heard that nothing at all (or precious little) has survived from his life-time to support a belief in his actual existence, and so much so that it throws some doubt on his authenticity as the author of these high-brow riddles.

However, all of this was right up my Aunt's street. The menton of an illustrious person from history whose name she was familar with. And "after the fashion of alll eminent men," perhaps, she too was a woman who got names and words wrong and often entered our house with them on her lips. She was particularly fond of Arnold Snicker-Snacker's films.

Mr. Armstrong took the paper and said he would find a good home for it. I often wonder where it ended up and just hope that whoever has it appreciates it. It would be very interesting to hear of its whereabouts, and if anyone out there knows, don't be worried that I want it back because I don't. My mission is to preserve as much as possible and see other like-minded folk do likewise. Let me know for I'd be delighted to learn of its final resting place. Nelson's was St. Paul's.

However, the most excruciatingly embarrassing moment was mere minutes away at this stage of the proceedings.   
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macroyal

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12677 on: December 01, 2018, 01:46:43 PM »
HI HELEN, MAYBE ITS NOT CORPSE BUT COURSE I.E. JOURNEY, PATH, SPELT THE OLD WAY, MIND YOU I DONT KNOW MY SHAKESPEARE, OR EVEN MEANING PROCESSION AS IN FUNERAL PROCESSION ANYWAY I AM ENJOYING YOUR CORSE, AND WAITING FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT.

Willty

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12678 on: December 01, 2018, 06:35:42 PM »
Hi all
That picture of the shore road was in the early sixties well before Ceasers scrap yard,the trolley buses give it an earlier date,Ceaser what a character , plenty of scrap cars and parts,just give him a bottle of wine and you helped yourself.
As I drove along the Shore Rd. on my service to Rathcoole about six times a day I saw him get more and more  drunk as the day went on.
I think that he fell into a fire that he started with old tyres and that was the end of him.

Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12679 on: December 02, 2018, 08:05:51 AM »
HI HELEN, MAYBE ITS NOT CORPSE BUT COURSE I.E. JOURNEY, PATH, SPELT THE OLD WAY, MIND YOU I DONT KNOW MY SHAKESPEARE, OR EVEN MEANING PROCESSION AS IN FUNERAL PROCESSION ANYWAY I AM ENJOYING YOUR CORSE, AND WAITING FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT.

You're probably right about that, Keith, and I'm glad you're enjoying the fun. Anything to keep us afloat in these perilous times of an empty forum needing a kick-start. I hope Tommy's back soon with a few pictures. I have a few more names for you to see if we can find out who the seamstress was so as we can positively identify that row of houses I remember in the late 1970s. Will post later on this evening and also get back to mentioning McCloy's in an attempt to figure out the earliest use of the building, etc. Any chance of a few more tales of your life on the road, Keith? I enjoy marvelling at your capacity for recall. You bring it all back to life. The road had a really unique feel and you have conjured it up really well.

Tommy, if you see this: could you put up for Xmas that image of the meal sack I sent you a while back (if you haven't done so already). Remember the one with Issac Andrews on it? Also, the one of the Steeplejack on Somerton road - the area's equivalent of Fred Dibnah. Cheers.  :-*

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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12680 on: December 02, 2018, 08:10:29 AM »
Cheers for your post, Wilty. Do you remember much about the trolley buses?

Does anyone remember in the late 1970s/early 80s that a farmer from somewhere called Ballysnod (his farm's name was on the egg boxes) called Mr. Peoples (or Peebles) used to sell round the doors? He was a big, ruddy-faced man. I can't remember what happened to him in the end.  :hi:
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tommytwotoes

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12681 on: December 02, 2018, 08:23:26 PM »

Tommy, if you see this: could you put up for Xmas that image of the meal sack I sent you a while back (if you haven't done so already). Remember the one with Issac Andrews on it? Also, the one of the Steeplejack on Somerton road - the area's equivalent of Fred Dibnah. Cheers.  :-*

Hi Helen can you resend them to me as im on new computer I lost all my stuff on old one when it CRASHED   I will upload them for you ,, back soon bit bizz at the mo ,  :-*
i never drop players ,i only make changes (shanks) justice for the 96

Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12682 on: December 04, 2018, 07:53:51 AM »
Ok, Tommy, I've got caught up in a few other things at the moment too. Will be back soon here and can re-send at some point soon.  :-*
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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12683 on: December 05, 2018, 08:16:54 AM »
Next Part

Well I've never known much about King Billy in much the same way as some other aspects of culture and religion in Northern Ireland couldn't draw me in. I couldn't get a feel for any of it. The ordinary men and women sitting in their cottages trying to survive in the past did interest me. Even the merchant classes and shipping-line owners flogging their wares and spreading their flax over the fields at Graymount and other paces, but you didn't seem to hear an awful lot about that sort of thing. Life, industry, survival, movement, good. Set positions and tribal responses at either an intellectual or feral level, bad.

The box of broken pottery spoke of people placing their meagre possessions in bins after household accidents a few generations back. I could imagine their annoyance at breaking an ornament or treasured item. Seeing the stuff coming out of the ground linked you with them, and anything like this which conjured up real life and provided a tangible contact with the past was a thrill to handle. These everyday items which had nothing to do with religion or war had a certain amount of charm whereas fighting and robed persons in churches shouting the odds didn't have any.

The old stone jam jars were occassionally found with the remnants of a black substance stored after the jam was done, and I could imagine some man having had it in a garden shed with a drop of Shellac in it. Sometimes there were even the remains of solidified Bone-Marrow jelly in jars and talcum powder in battered tins. I recall there were fish paste jars, the food inside imported from the U.S.A.,  and people drank Oxo by the gallon in those days.  All of this unfolded, and much more, when that field was dug. Radio batteries baffled me at first until I got hold of an older person who was able to tell me what they were. All of these things were a direct contact with people's lives in the past. People trying to get by. That sort of thing enlivened the mind and soul. King Billy parading around in the seventeenth century to clamour for a throne was a dead duck to me.

But anyway I was very glad that the good King liked to light fires in his lifetime, and on his deathbed he was decent enough to think about our pleasure when he instructed us to light fires in his honour forevermore on 11th July. As we can see by this decree, he even stipulated it had to be summer, so we could stay out all night and tend the fires too close to gables and yarn to people dandering around with bottles. In that way he was a man after my own heart, and I'll bet if he saw me now he'd be jealous of the half-decent firelighters and boxes of matches you can get these days. Not everything's bad about modern life.

On the other hand, Mr. Armstrong knew his stuff about him, and that summer night while we were there, he gave us a lengthy summary on King Billy's movements from Carrickfergus to Belfast - as you might expect a man to be able to do when he's just taken control of a local (to there) historic building for the purpose of turning it into a Heritage Centre.

In spite of not being able to see too well, Bob took us to every corner of the old building where King Billy might have stepped. "Here" was where he would have entered the building. "There" is where his troops might have been fed and watered. "Over yonder" was likely where the horses were kept, etc. etc. "Do you see that blocked-up entrance?" well that was where King Billy stood and surveyed the tide.

We followed him around tip-toeing over rubble, but he was sure-footed doubly - able to nip easily between piles of stone and paint the picture of it all so knowlegeably. I would have said that Bob Armstrong uttered the name "King Billy" at least a hundred times in what was maybe a 20 minute tour of the place. He was great and I liked him. I admired him.

We were out on the old forcourt when it ended. Possibly being shown the part where King Billy rode off to his victories. I thanked Bob and he thanked me for the box of stuff, and as a last word my aunt turned to him and said, "and did King Henry the eighth REALLY do all that here?"

Ground, open up, swallow, and all that.

END OF THIS PART OF THE YARN. MORE OVER THE XMAS PERIOD.
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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12684 on: December 06, 2018, 08:48:37 AM »
Good morning all. To return to looking at McCloy's old shop and trying to work out what the first commercial or business premises was on that site:

The paper copies of the directories I have show the introduction of St. John's Villas in 1930. These are the houses directly after Oakmount Drive and before McCloy's. There are 3 of them. The gap in the records I have is from 1923 to 1930 so St. John's Villas must have been built some time in this 7 year period. 

In 1930, then, it gives this for St. John's Villas:
1. Freeze, Mark, Taylor
2. McGeagh (different spelling of Magee?), N., Provision Merchant
3. Vacant

The fact that the last one was Vacant in 1930 maybe suggests that they were just built, and that one was waiting for a tenant to come into a new house.

So, as we know the first building of Fortwilliam Place which comes next, was McCloy's by our day. And this is what we have in 1930 for that row. (Note that the first 2 aren't numbered for some reason).

Bell, Richard, Coal merchant
Sloan, B., Fitter
3. Dinnen, H., Shipwright
4. McCallum, Ed. Coachman

It's odd that the first 2 places aren't numbered. We are left wondering whether it is a mistake on the part of the directory compilers, or deliberate.

Could there have been an entrance gate where we knew McCloy's was and a coal yard round the back maybe after some kind of trap/cart/coach building? Interestingly, it strikes me that there is a "Walter Bell" listed as a Blacksmith in some later directories, and he lived on the Shore Road further down beyond the row of shops at the bottom of the lane at the side of Lowwood School. He lived between those shops and Parkmount Post Office. Could Richard Bell the Coal Merchant mentioned here have been related to him? Does anyone have the faintest glimmer of memory that a coal yard might have once operated out of the back of McCloy's before that shop was built? Anyone got any ideas?
Keith, are you with us? Can you remember anything that might throw light on things?

 :hi:

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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12685 on: December 11, 2018, 07:52:25 AM »
Part next

I was too soon back in Manchester and the only people there whose ways were remotely familiar to me were the four remaining Marys, all of whom came form Eire. This is before I met a guy who'd been knee-capped and finally driven out of Belfast. He had lived near the old Rossi ice-cream parlour on one of the roads off the Antrim Road. Maybe it's strange to say that I had a rapport with him, but I did. He was called Martin. He'd wrecked himself with drugs and his life was a disaster, but he was quite a reflective guy by this stage and was a good conversationalist when magic mushroom season was over. He said this of Manchester, "I enjoy the peace and tranquillity here." Maybe it was no wonder as no-one in Manc land wanted his other knee-cap for an ashtray, as they say.

However, the four Marys were all a lot older than me but I "got" them all the same - even if there were aspects of their lives which were a bit of a riddle to me. And that was mainly religion which had all of them in its grip one way or the other. One in particular was a real "Mrs Doyle" and could be seen regularly brushing the steps of the local parochial house and eyeing people with menace when they picked the roses which hung over the wall. As I pocketed a Blue Moon or two I smiled across and yelled "hallo." She probably knew I was capable of this because I never entered the building the house was connected to. I never got to tell Mary that God's roses were fair game for she never challenged me. Those roses belonged to Celtic Deities and a whole other host of other Gods before the main God thwarted them and came into play as a bit of a Percy Thrower. But I have to say that I liked Mary Devonport, and had I had the chance to explain to her why religion and me would forever be strangers I know she would have listened with interest.

On the other hand it took me ages to get used to the "Manc" ways: no fires on the eleventh of July and people telling me about MECCLE KECCLES instead of metal kettles. Further confusion arose in me when they mentioned eating Eccles cakes after boiling up their meccle keccles for a brew. And Eccles cakes were rotten.

For sanity in those early years I kept up my interest in the Shore Road and spent many a night thinking of people to contact - rather than watch t.v. and fill my head with a lot of nonsense. I dredged my mind trying to remember people who might have old photographs or something interesting to say. I struck out and got in touch with them and got some interesting replies to letters and added to my collection of images now and again. I didn't keep in contact with Bob Armstrong for no particular reason other than he had his endeavour and I couldn't think of anything further which might help. Besides, he had associates and people who were singing off the same hymn sheet in that they all came from the same locale and wanted to get the Whitehouse up and running. My Aunt and her fixation with Henry the Eighth galloping round the Shore Road wasn't one of them.

As a result of writing to people I eventually I obtained a bit of a pen-pal from Northern Ireland:  yet another Mary with whom letters flowed regularly; but there was one of the four Marys in Manchester who was beginning to be someone I personally sought to dodge.

The first inkling of her being someone who was as odd as get out showed in her annoyance of her next-door neighbour, a retired school-teacher who sat in his front-room most of the time (it could be seen from the street) playing Chess with anyone who would give him a game. Everyone on that long road I lived on had Beech hedges, but twenty plus years ago houeholds began getting rid of them so as they had run-ins for cars as insurance for cars was more expensive if you plonked them on the street at night. He didn't have a car as the school he had worked in was on the other side of the road, but for some reason his Beech hedge was ripped up too, and so he became more exposed as an obsessed Chess player. This Riled Mary no end. Now I think we've called her Mary Edwards, and if not I apologise for that but I find it difficult to flick back through posts to check.    ..
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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12686 on: December 12, 2018, 07:42:17 AM »
At the same time as Mary getting tricky, another Mary and I were writing one another and she was a teacher about to retire from Dominican College. The school had done a bit of a booklet on the history of Fortwilliam under her instruction as a history teacher, and she kindly sent me a copy of it and letters began to flow. She was a very friendly person, and some of the contents of the informative booklet have been used on the thread previously.

Mary Edwards at first seemed to me to be a person interested in a lot of things. Originally a Dubliner, she had the Irish papers delivered to her house in Manchester through the local newsagent and went through them like a dose of salts. Her conversation centred around what was happening in Dublin and she seemed absorbed in the doings of her home city with an attitude that smacked of genuine concern for it.

When she was starting to go a bit mad about her Chess-playing neighbour, she told me something which didn't quite equate with a concern for Dublin, but was more the gesture of a nosy old crow obsessed with scandal. From her home in Manchester, she'd read something about a Dublin member of Parliament who had been racketeering in some way, possibly in her opinion only, and when she next went over she made a point of finding out his addrress and hopping on a bus with her sister to stand outside it, in the manner of what might be described as a scandal tourist, in her "flood trousers."

I wanted to know what her flood trousers were, because she emphasised wearing them as if they were an integral part of the operation - part of the uniform of scandal tourist maybe. I was wrong about that.

"My nieces always call them my flood trousers," she informed me, saying she wasn't sure why. Then one day when I was talking to her outside her house and she was looking daggers in the direction of her neighbour who was no doubt working on his Sicilian Defence with a young man the other side of the Chess Board, I looked down and noticed that her slacks were half way up her legs, Bay City Roller style minus the tartan.   .
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macroyal

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12687 on: December 12, 2018, 03:21:39 PM »
I AM STILL READING YOUR POSTS HELEN, JUST  THOUGHT OF A MEMORY, A GIRL I ALWAYS FANCIED CALLED KATHERINE, WHO WENT TO GRAYMOUNT, WENT TO SEE THE BAY CITY ROLLERS IN BELFAST, THIS WAS EARLY IN THEIR CAREER,  SHE TOLD ME THEY WORE SUITS BUT EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE  WAS WEARING SKINNER JEANS, TARTAN SCARFS,  Dr MARTENS, ETC, SHE SEEN THEM AGAIN AT THE END OF THE WEEK AND THEY WERE WEARING THE SAME AS THE BELFAST KIDS, SO THAT ICONIC LOOK THEY HAD THEY STOLE FROM US IN BELFAST.

Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12688 on: December 14, 2018, 09:24:03 AM »
That's a thought, Keith, that Belfast was responsible for their style! Keep reading we need the traffic here to keep the thread going. I will keep posting when I can and we'll get down to the business of trying to find that lady tailor very soon.
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Dargan

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Re: Anyone from the shore road area of Belfast?.
« Reply #12689 on: December 14, 2018, 10:06:26 AM »
Part Whatever

Because Mary Edwards seemed interested in Dublin, whenever I spoke to her I tried to steer her away from her annoyance at the Chess-playing neighbour by asking things about Dublin. The conversations, thankfully, were confined to the street when I'd be on my way to the village (the old remains of a village which had busted out of its boundaries and become outsized) to the shops. She was always lurking around outside, complete with flood trousers, waiting to nab people to have a good moaning session about this man next-door who did nothing as far as I could see but sit there pursuing his idea of a good time.

I tried to tell Mary about the Shore Road and my interest in it, for I still believed in a two-way conversation even if she didn't. One day, when she was close to losing the plot altogether she rounded on me:
"You shouldn't be interested in a road you once lived on! You should be interested in learning the Irish language and preserving it!"

I could have told Mary that learning Irish was for those who wanted to, and that if she was so hung up about it she could chuffing well do it herself, but by this stage I had found out that the Chess-playing man was actually winding her up something rotten by sitting there at his chequered board, and I thought it was best to simply humour her. I remember clearly that very day when she went on to me about the Irish language, for it was coming up to Hallowee'en and in those days it was not celebrated at all in England. As I moved away from her she shouted up the road after me, "And another thing! YOU should be introducing Hallowee'en to the kids over here and showing them how it's all done!"

Well it was one of those Shore Road moments. Should I yell back and say , "Hey you, you old boot, are you talking to me or chewing a brick? Are you saying I've a face that could haunt a house?" But as soon as the notion was on me it departed again as I remembered where I was and how anything I might yell out would be lost on anyone who overheard. It wouldn't translate.  Yes, I managed to restrain myself, and as I walked away furious it didn't surprise me in the least that the man next-door had found his own way of skinning a cat. And actually it was quite clever of him to do it by just sitting there. I had a bit of a chuckle when I thought about Bruce Lee saying the art of war was fighting without fighting. There was more to him than the obvious charms revealed on the big poster of him I once had on the wall of my bedroom.

Where we all lived back then, there were coal mines running deep underground for miles from a colliery which once thrived at a place called Agecroft. Now some of the houses were subject to subsidence because of this, and this man's house was one of them. I'm talking about the Chess-player again not Bruce Lee. He had had it underpinned, did the Chess-player, but the thing had slanted all over again and Mary was furious because she felt it would undermine the foundations of her house. She wasn't really bothered about the Chess, she just felt he should've been outside with a shovel and a load of cement. She'd bombarded him with Solicitors' letters over the years and being of an intellectual disposition he'd written back saying words to the gist that it was all very well her prattling on and on about this, but the fact was that he was saving up to have it all looked at again as the insurance wasn't ready to oblige for a second time. The fact that lightning had struck twice in the same place wasn't his fault, it was an act of God (lol).

Well you might think Mary had a point. But it was another of the Marys who put me right about it. This other Mary, Mary G., lived directly opposite Mary Edwards and one day when we were gossiping about how Mary Edwards had bees in her cockpit Mary G. said to me,
"She goes on and on about this, but why she bothers nobody knows."
I really liked Mary G. she was a real character. Her husband had the taxi business in the village and she hated him with a passion and a smile, and as we stood on the street she often pointed to the drain and said she was going to put his ashes down them when the time came. And if things were arranged otherwise she'd come back and haunt him.

"Well yea, but to be fair to Mary it's a bit of a rum do when your house might be banjaxed because of it."
"It's not even her house, she 's only renting!!" said Mary. 
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