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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Waking the Dead


For those of you who have seen the movie Snatch by Guy Ritchie will know about the sub culture of Pikeys that seems to originate here in Ireland. My Dad absolutely loathes these people and with good reason too as they made his working life a nightmare. Dad up until two years ago was on board manager on a ferry company that sailed from Dublin to Holyhead Wales twice a day. He would spend a week on the ferry and a week on terra firma at home and such was his life for nearly 32 years. Every week I would look forward to hearing his stories about the incidents that happened during his weeks work. Most of the stories where side splittingly funny and always involved the intinerants AKA gyppos, knackers, pikeys , travellers, cream crackers etc

One morning when he arrived home he brought with him the King of stories and its one I tell to this day whenever the subject comes up about irish gypsies. Whenever there is a funeral or a wedding, the gypsies would travel over in droves, their caravans, 'dawgs' and Hiace vans in tow. The would run amok shop lifting in the Duty free area, their kids use the childrens play area like a cess pit and the bar would make for a boxing ring or campsite for the whiskey nosed men and women alike. I am not trying to portray these people badly honestly its hard facts and when I travelled over on the ship I witnessed this myself.

On this particular shift my dad was working on, a galley boy rang him at the main reception to call out a car registration over the tanoy apparently some guy was asleep in the back of the car and for insurance purposes as my dad knew, he could not stay there and all efforts to wake up the guy fell on deaf ears. My Dad announced for the owners of the vehicle to come to reception. He said their shadows fell upon him five minutes before they appeared- two of the biggest pikeys he had ever seen, he said they had fists like christmas hams.
Pikey 1:'whats yer problem baws'? (pikeys call everyone Boss or mister)
Dad : My problem Sir is your friend cant sleep in the car when the ship is at sea, it goes against the health and safety regulations and for insurance purposes he must go up onto the deck, Im sorry but rules are rules
Pikey 2 ' Ahh its okehh baws hes dead
Dad: He's What?!
Pikey 1: He's Dead boss, ysee mister it would cost us eight hundred pound to bring him over in a coffin so we brought him in the keyar as a passanger for sixty
Dad (picking his jaw up)When did he die?
Pikey 2: Three days ago sir, We drove from maidstone to holyhead 3 days ago
Dad : What did he die of?
Pikey 1: A monday sir
Dad No what killed him
Pikey 1: Awhh D'owl drink got him baws
Dad well we have to move him out of the car and put him in the morgue room here in the ship
Pikey 2;well we'll go down and open the car door because hes got a bit of a bang off him sir and we'll have to break his legs too because of the rigger mortis baws
(a bang means smell)
Dad Just do what you have to do Sir
So he was brought up to the morgue in the ship. About an hour later there was a brawl in the bar and the master of arms was called in to 'arrest' the purpatrators, turns out that it was the dead dudes wake.


My Dad did have a one off 'business' deal though with a pikey but it fell through, One saturday morning they called to our house with a horse and cart
Pikey - would you have any scrap for the wagon
Dad; Hang on there (walks into the kitchen to my mother , Monica theres someone at the door for you
Dad behind my mother; Will she do?
Pikey : Ahh throw her up on the back we might get a few bob for her
Fortunately for my father, my mother has a sense of humour otherwise he may have ended up on the knackers cart.

11 comments:

Stucco said...

Wow- so many questions. What is a Pikey exactly? I mean, I get it from the context, but what is the origin of the term and what more can you say abou this group? What's a Hiace truck? What's a tanoy? Damned funny nonetheless.

Judith said...

Stucco - the urban dictionary states as follows -From the English "turnpike", the place where itinerent travellers and thieves would camp near a settlement.

Pikey is not a racial group, the term is used to describe anyone who lives in a caravan or shares the same values and "culture" of "the travelling community", and whose main sources of income are as follows:

Stealing cars, flogging roses in pubs for "childrens' charities", nicking lead off roofs, burgling garden sheds, blagging entry to old peoples house to rob them, doing dodgy tarmac jobs ("we've got some black stuff left over from a job up the road"), sometimes with mint imperials used as a substitute for white chippings, or, reportedly, using snow to lay slabs on when the sand ran out, stealing your bollocks if they weren't in a bag and anything else that's not nailed down and anything that is nailed down but will fit in the back of an untaxed Transit when nobody's looking.

Characterised by lurchers on a string, a unintelligible language that "isn't English, it isn't Irish, it's just Pikey" (source: Film: Snatch), a penchant for harecoursing, ketamine, lighter fuel, fighting in pubs and shopping at Lidl.(thats a very low cost supermarket)

Best avoided.
A tanoy is really the brand of the PA system on the boat and a hi-ace van? http://www.cars-directory.net/gallery/toyota/hiace_van/1991/toyota_hiace_van_2942619_2_orig.html
Picture the shit beaten out of one of those. I can say so much more about these people as far as dads stories are concerned LOL

Stucco said...

Wow, what can I say to that? Crazy. Should I ask about harecoursing or ketamine? Divided by a common language it would seem.

Cheers,

Hammer said...

Great story.

What about knackers or cream crackers.

I wish we here in the states had more colorful slang. Our venacular seems boring in comparison.

Judith said...

Hammer
Knackers I think originates as a slang (cockney) I think for horses hence the association with pikeys - they either own or sell a lot of horses (kna can also mean testicles in england) and cream crackers is a rhyming alternative (cream cracker just a cracker made with a butter base)
Stucco
Harecoursing is when a hare is let out in an enclosed field and 2 dogs are let out at it (usually greyhounds/whippets) and the first dog to get the hare (and usually tear it limb from limb) the owner wins in the betting stakes. Not suprising its illegal here. The Ketamine business was a strange mention but I wiki'd it( turns out pikeys are no more than irelands crackheads) and is as follows
Ketamine is sold in either powdered or liquid form. In powdered form, its appearance is similar to that of pharmaceutical grade cocaine and can be insufflated (snorted), injected, or placed in beverages. It is also possible to smoke the drug in a joint or pipe, usually mixed with marijuana and tobacco. The smoke has a distinctive bitter taste but the effects of the high hit much faster than when insufflated or ingested. Oral use usually requires more material, but results in a longer trip. The liquid can be heated to drive off the solvent (usually saline), leaving powder. In therapeutic and psychedelic use, the liquid is typically injected intramuscularly. Intravenous injection is uncommon (recreationally), though possible.

General Catz said...

You have the best stories! Keep up the good work.

p.s. my ex-sister-in-law was a hippie/traveller/whatever, living near cork.

slaghammer said...

I think I might have a few pikeys in my lineage. The branches of my family tree hang low indeed.

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Lion of the Ghetto said...

Funny how racism is ok when it's popular...

Anonymous said...

What's your point lion?

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