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.