The last time I went to the Lammas Fair I brought a pint of fiery poteen with me. It was more than twenty years ago and I was doing a stall with a sprig of the Northern Irish gentry called Jenny. If I remember correctly Jenny had got a job lot of bomb-damaged baby clothes and she was hoping to do well. But we were newbies and got put up an entry that was well off the main drag. The stallholder next to us, an awfully nice young woman, was selling raffia wall ornaments and neither of us were doing much business. I started to get bored and fell to the poteen. The awfully nice raffia lady cared to join me. Jenny made a stony-faced refusal as, not only was she a bit of a prig, she was driving.
The day passed and me and the Raffia Lady got drunker and drunker and poor Jenny had to run both stalls. Eventually it was time to go home and when the Raffia Lady's husband called to pick her up, saw the state of her and the amount of wall ornaments she hadn't sold he was pretty ripping. I wasn't so stocious that I couldn't see the filthy looks he was shooting in my direction. Mind you Jenny was making sure that I was aware that he found me pretty despicable for getting his nice wee wife in such an awful state.
Well - we were supposed to be staying in Jenny's caravan but she pissed off back to Ballymena taking the keys with her. It wasn't that she didn't want to take me home - it was just that I was hanging over a five-bar gate incapable of movement. As everyone knows bad poteen can blind you but it's less well-known that good poteen can paralyse you. Thankfully it's usually temporary.
I woke up several hours later just in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset and under the foolish impression that I needed more alcohol. I spent the remainder of the evening in the company of a fellow stallholder. He was a charming chap - Billy I think his name was. I knew him from Nutt's Corner market. He hadn't been on the markets long having been in the Crum for seven years. I can't remember whether it was for manslaughter or murder. He told me I had Perfect Skin. I think he was envious for his wasn't.
The next day I had a very sore head. The Raffia Lady wasn't speaking to eitherJenny or me and it took Jenny until lunchtime before she thawed out. I've never been back to the Lammas Fair since. I don't think I ever will.