Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Down Among The Wimmin

Many, many years ago when Marc was a little lad at primary school and Ed hadn't even been invented Nellytrish started a Women's (Consciousness Raising) Group in Ballymena. This was in the heady days of the feminist era when all intelligent and far-thinking women threw away their Jackies and their Woman's Owns and put in an order at the local newsagent for Spare Rib.

Which is how Trish and I started the group. On her advice we put an ad in Spare Rib. Imagine our glee when two big radical feminists responded. Imagine our thrill when we heard they were lesbians - in a relationship.

These women were serious stuff. She was a doctor up at the local hospital and Her was a musician. She came from an eccentric, middle-class Dublin family and Her was an ex-nun from Sligo. She (despite needing it) had discarded her bra and Her wore one that flattened her breasts. She had a little moustache and Her wore men's trousers and shirts and ghastly ties like your da would wear.

Many the happy evening we spent in their company. I remember one night in particular when we ate a delicious supper of undercooked lentils and sardines accompanied by one bottle of wine (between five) and then afterwards, for our entertainment, the moustachioed one read aloud from some radical US publication a treatise on how penetrative heterosexual sex was an act of gross betrayal against the sisterhood. Whilst glaring at me.

When the doctor's time at the local hospital came to an end she moved to England. Soon afterwards she split up with the musician who, strangely enough, was not too gutted. We remained friends with the musician until she eventually went to the States to become a roof tiler. Unfortunately we're out of touch now. But it was a relief to wave bye-bye to the doctor whose entertainment value was, frankly, zilch.

Years later I looked the doctor up on the BMA website. And lo and behold - Doctor Fidelma O'Flaherty, which was (not) her name, was now Doctor Fidelma Simpson and I'll bet she doesn't have the mozzy any more and that she shops regularly at Rigby & Peller.

And the Women's Group? It continued for a few more years before eventually ending in tragedy. But that's another tale for another place.


Stray Toaster said...

Was this pre-Cully days? (Antrim? If my ropey memory serves.)

I love the thought of sedition and subversion (and, probably, a good bit of perversion) in North Antrim. A hotbed of revolution.

You know, I am going to nick all your posts and turn it into a book. "Nelly's Garden: Tales of Innocence and Experience". It will surely sell, as we are all hooked in here.

mquest said...

That was one great story with great visuals.

Nelly said...

But Marc I'm leaving out all the really good bits - for my book.

Thanks mquest and the story took place in Ballymena. When we had the hospital. Not Antrim.

Trish said...

Last I heard of Fidelma was about six months ago. There was an an article in a national newspaper about her and a lady friend and their healing herb garden in a westerly county. Open days once a month. Yes she still has the jo moochtooch

Nelly said...

So bang goes my theory then. And no doubt her swingers graze the earth as she tends the healing herb beds.