And Then We Met Joe

Andy arrived the following morning, trundling up the boreen in a little rusty van. He was short and very stout with a thick black beard and heavy eyebrows...I thought he looked like a small pirate...he was only missing the gold earing and the cutlass.

But he was lovely...such a very nice man.

He stumped about indoors prodding the walls and stamping on the rotten floorboards and drank copious mugs of very sweet tea...

We decided the range would need to come out...it was rusty and the pipe-work behind it left a great deal to be desired so Andy set to with large hammers and we went into town to buy glass for the windows.

That September was warm and sunny...day after day of blue skies and gentle breezes...the dogs explored and the cats sat indoors in empty cardboard boxes and sulked...

We glazed the windows and pulled the old hot press down and Andy put in the stone sink we'd brought with us...

Then we knocked the porch down...it was seriously unstable...and prepared to build a new one 'cos I wanted to fill it with shelves and scarlet geraniums...being without a front door didn't matter with the weather being so good...we hung a couple of Fingers furniture blankets in the gap and made do.

We bought three geese with 'angel wings'...it's a genetic defect which causes some of the wing feathers to droop and curl...I thought it looked pretty and they were cheap...though quite fearsome.

Brought them back in paper feed sacks and they rushed about with their necks extended making such a racket that Jessie and Baldrick fled indoors...

It was an odd time...my asthma was getting worse by the day...Himself wore his wristwatch and looked at it so often when we went to the builders yard or a shop, I threatened to stamp on it...

We signed on at the town Doctors...when I went with the intention of getting a prescription for some more inhalers, he was totally disinterested and wrote out a script without actually once looking at me...

We signed on with the Welfare bods as well so Himself could begin claiming the pre-retirement benefit...that was easy...the form was simple and he received the first payment the following Friday...

But I had a vague sense of unease...nothing to put a finger on...

About two weeks after our arrival two men came to the door...one, Michael, was the brother of the man we'd bought the cottage from...the other was The Black...Michaels friend. His given name was Frankie but he was always called the Black for reasons never made entirely clear. Would we like turf they asked? They could bring us enough turf for the coming winter and it wouldn't cost us anything...it was to be thought of as a gift. And while they brought the turf would we be wanting anything else...couldn't think of anything off-hand so we said the turf would be grand and thank you very much.

Then Joe turned up.

It was Joe and Michael's Uncle who had owned and lived in the cottage...when he died he'd left it to Joe with the express wish that Joe and his wife live in it...there followed the most extraordinary family falling out. The Father was furious that Joe had sold without telling anyone...Joe was stubborn and dug his heels in and he and Michael had fallen out over upsetting the Father...

And we'd landed in the middle.

Joe was about thirty years old then...short and muscular, with a mouth on him you'd have had to have heard to believe...Jessie took one look and her hackles rose up and she bared her teeth...she'd never once ever done that before. I dragged her indoors and shut her in the bedroom while Joe simply walked straight into the kitchen...we made some sort of conversation while he stood with his hands in his pockets glowering. Then he suddenly said the agent had charged him money for selling...I said he would of course. That's how the agent makes his money...what did he charge you he asked...all belligerent and grumpy...I said it wasn't much, 'cos there was no way was I going to tell him it had been a paltry sum. He turned on his heel and walked out...had there been a front door I daresay he'd of slammed it.

Himself made a chicken house and we bought half a dozen hens...we walked around the surrounding fields, all owned by Joe...met some of the people who lived in the village and began to arrange furniture and paint the newly plastered walls...

Andy and his son installed a brand new range and it was almost Christmas.

8 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Lovely vashti I can see the whole scene. Next please...... xx

  • You have a real gift vashti , I'm a belfast girl and your stories remind me of my youth,it would seem Irish is Irish, North or South.x

  • Hooray more stories, thanks Vashtixxx

  • So glad this story is continuing. Xxx

  • Morning Vashti. Another superb instalment , have a good day, Bulpit

  • And then.............? Can't wait for what happened next vashti and I am sure I will find out soon. xxx :)

  • Everything is just so vivid,Again I was in the room and walking in the fields, it sounds as though there is never a dull moment,can't wait for the next episode.

  • Vivid characters,, excellent scene setting - what more could a reader want? Except the next instalment as soon as possible. Lovely.

You may also like...