Naturally enough Hannah is not that keen on living in the wilds of Cullybackey under the intolerant and harsh regime that is Nellybert's hame. So, to escape these strictures, she has been searching for a private rental in town. And since today I have been helping her. Dear Lord but these properties are expensive. And then they'd be looking for a squillion pounds of a deposit. But despite all this we are hopeful that this will be the week that she secures a place of her own.
When I first left home I got a flat in Anketell's Hotel in Antrim. This had once been a proper hotel but it had become rundown and was used as apartments. I had a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. The toilets and bathrooms were shared and were utterly vile. I once went to the toilet during the night and stumbled on a couple making the beast with two backs and was quite overcome with the romance of it all. There was an old man who regularly stood on the stairways displaying his wizened member but I learned to ignore him. The rent was £7 per week for this 'palace of heavenly pleasure' and every Friday I placed a £5 note and two singles in the Complete Works of Shakespeare for the rent collection. Matty and Seamus were not happy about me living there as they considered the place a terrible dive. They were quite right.
I had mad parties every Friday and Saturday night. The young people streamed out of Paddy Smyth's and Bobby Barron's and straight up Anketell's stairs past the wee man, blue in the face, trailing at his johnson for all he was fit. Oul Anketell evicted me for the parties and in time Anketell's was demolished to make way for the shopping centre.
It's not just Hannah's search for a place of her own that reminds me of the awfulness that was Anketell's. The squalour of Tinkerton brings these memories to the fore as well. Oh how I wish I worked in a nice clean hospital. *