There she was the best thing I’d seen since sliced bread. “Sausage roll and a Paris bun please”, the smell of the bakery across the street wasn’t the only reason to cross that street.
She was about seventeen, I was fifteen, but curiosity killed the cat, but then I wasn’t a cat I kept telling myself. Isn’t it funny that every word in every love song in the charts kinda fits when the girl across the road was seventeen and blonde?
I guess the big question in life wasn’t ~ could I have another coconut finger, but it might have been easier than asking her if she wanted to go the Castle Cinema on Friday night.
And the second biggest question was asking your mum for enough money for two so you could take her for a pasty supper and a 7up afterwards at Spences.
Meanwhile back in the real world, I was back in work daydreaming, it’s a long way to a house on the big road when you’re only earning a tenner a week.
In those days life was tough, and not that easy if you worked in a bakery. You see we had a breadman, and try telling your mum that the tattie bread and sodas were better from the bakery than from the man who came to your door everyday. But then that was life.
Then Jackie appeared on the scene and what would have I done without her. Jackie was a hairdresser and sometimes in the evening she would take in some male customers as well. This night I was due for something more than a short back and sides; she really changed my hairstyle that night and then Chrissie walked in. She was next on the chair. Not long out of the bakery she was going to a friend’s wedding next day and wanted to look good. She always looked blooming good to me, but then a fire burned.
Three fire tenders were called to put out the flames on the carpet warehouse. But that meant Chrissie couldn’t get back down her street. So opportunity came. Jackie said ‘’There’s a good picture on at the Castle tonight, you seen it’’. We both answered back at the same time ‘‘No’’. So we went all three of us.
Quatermass and the Pit never seemed so ever a boy with two frightened girls one on either side of you.
Johnny Mack Brown’s horse died that night, a victim of the fire. I went out with Chrissie, a consequence of the fire. Oh and all the people in our street ended up with new carpets that always smelled of smoke.
Then I found out something about her. You see Chrissie told me her mum wanted Dickie Rock to sing at her wedding. There’s only so much a man can take.
It lasted all of three weeks and I had to end up telling me Ma that the soda and potato farls did after all taste better from the breadman who called twice a week. And it left me to find another blonde chapter.
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You can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can’t take Belfast out of the boy.
Book about a boy and a blonde from the Belfast of Van Morrison
Dedicated to Van Morrison
you see Van you weren’t the only creative person to come out of Orangefield, there’s at least one other