Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

21 Fee's New House



Richie Fee is now building a new house just in front of the old house where his mother lived but she is not living there at this time, she has gone to live with her son, I am sure she missed the people who were always going in to see if she was all right. On winter's evenings this was a gathering place for people to go in and share a laugh and joke with her and keep her up to date on the latest gossip. Uncle Eddie has got a job with the building of the new house, Richie has also employed a carpenter as the roof, doors and windows have all got to be made everything is produced on site.
We have got ourselves a new Decca gramophone but we only have a couple of records, it is not long however before news has got around and the Gibsons and Downeys from Boley arrive with armful's of records. The chairs are cleared away and soon the dancing is in full swing. One of my favourite records at that time was Jimmy O'Dee and Johnnie O'Donivan and we also had Grannie's Wee House and The Road To The Isles sung by Harry Lauder. Delia Murphy was top of the hit parade with The Rose of Mooncoyne. Willie Goodwin has also decided to build a new house and I help him out by carting sand from Ballyheady with a horse and cart. Willie has two horses Paddy and Sally. I have Paddy who is a very big horse, when I am leading him he can almost lift me off the ground with one toss of his head but he has a gentle nature, the only thing that frightens him is a big lorry appearing before him because they are so rare at that time, so I have to get down off the cart and lead him past it. Sally on the other hand wants to go like a rocket no matter what she is doing and it’s very hard to keep up with her. My wages are two shillings a day but it was very difficult to get any money out of the Goodwins although they have plenty of cash. Once when I was not paid for several weeks I asked when I might get some money. It appeared that his two sisters held the purse strings and they said to me perhaps next week you will get paid, I had noticed that they had a nice accordion in the parlour so I suggested that they might consider giving me that instead of payment but I got a blunt reply of "No". As I had some work to do at home anyway I stayed away for a few days but they soon turned up with the cash and to see if I would consider going back when I had some spare time. In those days wherever you worked you got your meals and I had my meals at Goodwins which were not very good to say the least. In the mornings the cows had to be milked, fed and cleaned out and the horses had to be fed and watered before their days work had begun, then it was time for breakfast. One morning when I cut the top off my egg I found a chicken in it needless to say I did not have any more eggs there.
Fee's house is now completed and one day when I go up there I find that the old house
has fallen down it was as if the old house was waiting for the new one to be built. The two foot thick mud walls could no longer support the weight of the oak beams under the thatch and it just split at each corner. As I stood there I thought of all the happy times people had here keeping an old lady happy in the winter of her years where she made them mugs of tea so strong that a mouse could trot on the top of it. Almost every happening, however insignificant serves to send some kind of thought through the brain which is never really empty of thought, some­times critical, perhaps admiring, hoping, wandering, wishing, but this old house has now gone forever its hours of dreams, laughter and song scattered like leaves on an Autumn's day. I was brought back to reality by the shrill whistle of the little black engine coming up to the station with its string of little carriages and wagons playing (follow my leader).


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