Thursday, November 09, 2006

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink

Date: 27th December 1976
Venue: The Slemish Bar, William Street, Ballymena


In 1976 I was a single mother to Zoe and I was working as a barmaid in the Globe Bar in Bryan Street, Ballymena. The Globe Bar is no more but I still have a connection to the place. It’s my bank now. I liked the Globe. It was a very popular pub at the time and all my friends (and some of my enemies) drank there. I was working there when I met Pete.

Pete was ever such a pretty boy. He had longish, dark curly hair, a neat little beard, lovely teeth, sweet smile; forget the colour of his eyes – brown? He was a little on the small side but no matter for I was smaller still. He’d have made the cutest little hobbit if they’d been casting Lord of the Rings in 1976. And the best thing, or so I thought, was that he was Welsh. That was so exotic in those far off days.

Well we’ll skim over the next three months. Suffice to say I fell in love and truly believed I had met ‘the one’. He professed to feel the same and I believed him. It felt right. Then Christmas came. I’d never had a boyfriend at Christmas before and I was pretty excited about it. On Christmas Eve our crowd went to the Slemish Bar in William Street. We had a great night up until about ten o’clock. I had arranged a taxi home for 11 and Pete did not want me to go. He put a lot of pressure on me to stay but, remember, I had a little daughter of two and I had to go home. My family were always great about babysitting but my mother would not have been impressed if I’d stayed out. I had to go home. I wanted to go home. I needed to be there on Christmas morning. Pete didn’t understand this. My taxi came and I left. We kissed goodbye and confirmed that we would see each other the next evening.

I had a lovely Christmas with my family and on Christmas night I went out again. Pete did not turn up. There were no mobiles in those days so I did not have any way of contacting him. I was thoroughly and roundly stood up.

The next day was Sunday and there was no word from him. On the Monday I went into town and to the Slemish Bar. There was no sign of Pete. All our mutual friends were there but no one seemed to know where Pete was. Some did, but weren’t telling. A few days before Christmas I’d received a tax rebate and was loaded with money. I remember buying everyone in the bar a drink – even the bastards who were laughing at me because they knew I’d been stood up.

Eventually someone told me where Pete was. After I’d left the pub on Christmas Eve he’d got off with the sister of one of our best friends. Like me she was a single mum but unlike me she had her own cosy flat. He’d spent Christmas holed up with her and that was the end of Pete and me.

He married that blade but it wasn’t a happy pairing. Then he went on to become a social worker and married again. He still lives in Ballymena but I haven’t set eyes on him for nearly 20 years.

And that is the true story of the time I bought everyone in the bar a drink.

7 comments:

ed said...

My example of 01 was much less interesting: 'twas at a pub called the Hope & Anchor* in Leamington Spa, and it was at a lock in with about three locals, the barman and four of use poor students, and we all got into doing rounds. So, technically, I did buy a drink for everyone in the pub.

(* course, being poxy students, we called it the Soapy instead, for reasons of poor rhyming slang.)

Nelly said...

Aah rhyming slang and other forms of word play....

"He’d spent Christmas holed up with her..."

If I weren't convent educated...

jaffs said...

That's a cracking wee tale, I enjoyed that.
He must have been a bit of a hallion alright to try to get you to stay out on Christmas Eve.

Nelly said...

I didn't know it at the time but I was better off without him.

Anonymous said...

you can spin a yarn alright nelly, im already looking forward to the tales from the rest of the list!

mikey x

CyberScribe said...

I remember the Slemish. The Mrs was singing there one night and I'd called down to collect her. Waiting outside I noticed a woman running out of the bar in tears. A couple of minutes later when the Mrs had finished and came out she told me why. She'd been singing a Vanessa Williams song 'Save the best til last' and that the woman had just finished with her boyfriend and that was there song.
Well Done, I thought :-)

Nelly said...

It definitely wasn't me. I never had a song with a bloke until Bert. Our song is TB Sheets. However Bert is unaware of this.