"Ring the Bells" Chapter 2

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"Ring the Bells" Chapter 2

Postby Dermot Finnigan 1010 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:06 pm




Sleep that night even with the mandatory sleeping tablet was a challenge as was work the next morning. It was cold and damp when I arrived at the Sharston site for the Monday morning 7.30am start of shift meeting.
It was for me to take the meeting and put the lads to work. Demolition is my trade and had at one time taken up all my time. I was now working for another contractor and to be honest had no interest in the work other than getting through the day unscathed and getting into the beast for a drive and day dream.
I managed to get through the short meeting before heading off across the site. My mind was just with Marie. It was so refreshing to have something nice to think about for a change.
I had lived the last 10 years of my life treading on eggshells with the daily traumas and episodes of drama’s ending up with the inevitable broken marriage. I was now in the early stages of self-recovery but was still found the days and nights quite difficult.
Marie had had fallen from the sky and landed right at my feet and I was not going to let her go. The time had come to move on with my life, it just had to change, and change now, enough was enough.
I was smiling for first time in the morning for a long time, which was an unusual sight for the lads on the plot, and they teased me after setting out their work for the day,” did you get the ride last night boss”. I ignored the batter with a wry smile and headed for the beast.
Let them think what they want; it doesn’t do any harm to let them think I was getting laid. I wasn’t but I was thinking about it again.
I loved the beast and to be honest the car had saved my life and was ready and waiting for me as usual in the car park. Sinead my youngest princess had down loaded my favourite James tracks and Jacqui my eldest had bought me an adapter to plug into the cigarette lighter so I could listen to my i pod through the car radio, I just loved it.
Any time I hit the road the car would come alive with music, crude acts of mime and car dancing with James as they howled and played. It had kept him sane over the years and the car would be the last thing to go if I ever reached rock bottom.
Not too sure what rock bottom was for me but having seen it with Janet I was sure that I was close.
Heading out of Sharston, turning right onto the Princess Parkway at the Post House Hotel I then turned left into Barlow Moor Road, and bowed my head in respect to the great George Best, my football hero who once lived in on the left just before I turned right into Southern Cemetery to drop into say hello to dad.
I parked the beast up opposite the fine and proud statue of Our Lady with her out stretched hands guarding him from any harm.
Mum and Dad had picked the spot themselves before he died and like everything they did together they got it so right. It was a perfect spot under some trees but I always found it uncomfortable to see the space on the stone for mum’s name for when she joins him again.
Our Lady was his favourite and was always in great condition. Saint Angela my younger sister washed it down on a weekly basis, her boys Sean and Michael cut the grass in front and the usual fresh flowers were gently swaying in the breeze. This was Manchester after all and it was raining.
I just stood in silence and stared for a few moments and like on every visit just read the words to myself before I calmly spoke to dad as if he was just there in front of me.
After my encounter with Marie I was feeling very brave with my newfound confidence so I started.
“I suspect you would not approve of the divorce with a smack of I told you so coming my way, but I’m happy dad for the first time in a long time.
Her name is Marie, she is truly beautiful, take a look, I’m not sure if she’s a catholic or not, but with a name like Marie there’s a good chance don’t you think. I’m not sure where she came from, and I don’t honestly care, perhaps from heaven, but she has arrived at my side and she is just perfect for me.
I sense she is going to make me very happy. This is what I want, always wanted, perfection. I am going to do anything and everything to keep her. I am not going to lose her to anyone, including you.
Sack me, throw me out of the house and the office, it won’t work this time. Your underground now and you can’t hurt me. I want you to say you’re happy for me and you will do nothing to disturb me.
There is no pain here dad to bear, just simple happiness.
You were never aware of the cross I had to carry for the last ten years of your life. I so wanted to tell you but I agreed for you to be barred.
It was just as well as you would have been the same as everybody else, hopeless in what you could do, she had to do for herself, which fair play she has done with the price of losing everyone she ever knew that drank.
We were all a threat to her sobriety, and we had to go, she had no choice, if she hadn’t the next step I would find her lying next to you.
She has gone now a new person with a new life, may god look after her.
The same rule applied to mum but not anymore. I will respect her mind and do nothing to upset her. I will only tell her if and when I have to.
It’s not just about the love I have for you and Mum but it’s about me now, no one else, just me”, and I was crying.
Born into poverty in the west of Ireland to becoming a true star in Manchester was the extraordinary route for a man that worked so hard he was never surpassed. Truth be told his only reward at the end of his days was a bad back.
He was rightly a legend in the Irish community with all the good work he did for his own people.
He had no education when he left Ireland with five shillings in his pocket, yet he had a mind so quick he could beat a calculator in any mental arithmetic challenge and expected me to do the same.
Parent’s evenings at St Bede’s, the mother and father of hypocrisy where the priests played god during the day with fists and sticks before laying down with the young boys at night were a nightmare.
He would come home in a rage and tell me to bring down a hanger, steel or timber it really didn’t matter.
6 times 7, uh........... Whack across the back of my legs, 9 times 4 uh..................Whack across my back, 8 times 9 uh.........................Whack, across the back of my head, whack, whack, get to bed.
I was speaking to my dad for the first time without fear and I was still crying when I softly said
“enjoy your heaven dad and let me enjoy mine”.
I visited him most Fridays when we would always share his favourite pray.
Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.
I regained some composure and moved the beast with respect out of the cemetery and onto a new site in Marple.
When feeling low in the past I would normally just hear the music but now it meant so much more, every word was written for or by me and was so important in my self- therapy.
It was quite extraordinary to get so much comfort from the lyrics of each song. It was as if James had written and recorded an album exclusively to help me with my life.
The miming and car dancing was also a very important tool in helping me recover and I was getting good at it.
It was maybe just a distraction and a cheap tool to get some spark of enjoyment out of life with, what the hell I often thought, it was working.
There were occasions when silence was appropriate and this was one.
My friends also knew my car as the beast, a drug dealer’s car, a blacked out Range Rover Vogue; it had everything, which I loved. It has such style that when clean and shiny it got me noticed if I wanted, got me into places when I wanted, park it at the front door sir was always a good gig, and it is a dream to drive. It was also very easy to keep clean inside and out, as I was now the only one ever in it.
My nickname in the Carters Arms was “the Chairman” which originated from the formation of a football betting syndicate, which I saw in a pub in Greystones, Co Wicklow formulated around racehorse betting that I modified for football.
It was a great success and enjoyed by all in the vault, which had in its first year made a few quid and paid for a lad’s trip to Spain. Memorable times with Brandon, Rob, Reggie, Lenny and Lash it, the original members of the first syndicate. These too were very important people in my recovery with many moments of happiness enjoyed over a few pints and football bets.
I parked up close to the new site next to the local railway station where I opened my boot and sat on the back to change into my working boots when a woman walked by, a very simple pleasant looking woman, she smiled, I smiled back, “good morning” she said, to which I replied: “good morning to you too, you’re a sight for sore eyes this time of the morning” She smiled back again and said “thank you” and she was gone in a flash.
She seemed to relish the moment and I really enjoyed it too. Having the courage and confidence to talk to a woman was something really new to me and I promised myself to do it more often, hopefully with Marie.
It was in the supermarket where I found so many single women doing their shopping invariably after a day’s work.
A few words here and there as I went up and down the aisles was now a regular play, “is that nice”, “how do you cook that”, “sorry, I’m in your way”, were always good ice breakers.
They too were very low in self esteem and I sensed they enjoyed the little interactions as well.
The check out was becoming my favourite stage with the odd line like when I’m struggling to pack the plastic bags “sorry I’m a novice at this” would always draw a sympathetic ear or a timid smile, never yet got that take me to bed look, but god loves a tryer.
It was cheap and readily available therapy with an assortment of props that were serious contributors to my recovery programme.
Sainsbury’s should they know would charge for such a service. Two for the price of one would be nice.

I was definitely going to take Marie up on her offer to ring but when.
Would it be the morning, afternoon, or evening, or perhaps a text first making it a little easier for me?
Marie was driving me crazy (nicely) and dominated my days and nights. Work was a real problem too, but I really didn’t care.
I decided on the Wednesday evening without a text showing a level of maturity to Marie and not to appear too keen. Marie was very important and I decided to play a very straight bat with her.
Marie was to be treated with the utmost respect; texting at this stage would be disrespectful.
Just one meeting in a steam room and sauna followed by coffee, was just that and I questioned my state of mind.
Was I on the bounce, would I have fallen for anyone I met in the steam room that afternoon irrespective of beauty and charm but was good enough to take an interest and speak to me.
No, I quickly decided, not after a couple of years. Marie was very special, I was lucky and about time too, and she seemed as pleased and as happy as I was.
I had not felt this way towards a woman for such a long time and it felt good, so “go with the flow”, as Brian an old and dearly missed friend would say, “Deal with it as it is” was another gem that supported my mood
Brian was very special to me but sadly we fell apart through the interference of a third party who poisoned our relationship.
He knew me more than I knew myself and we had some great fun together. Brian was a brilliant business man with the supreme skill of been there for everyone, giving them help if and when they needed it, from the very poor to the very rich, he treated everyone the same, and that applied to me on more than one occasion.
I think of him a lot and hope he is well. Ten years of gosh darned hell survived by the skin of my teeth with help from the beast, James’s and the brilliant Brian, but sadly like all of my old friends I lost him too.
Marie was fixed in my mind, it was a lovely relief.
It was 7.30pm when I dialled her number, “Hi Marie, its Dermot”, and it sounded as if she had been waiting for the call.
The conversation was a little uncomfortable at first with the usual how are you, have you had a good day, moving onto the more serious issues like, how old are your boys, and the age and sex of my own children.
Marie sounded very relaxed, in control when she suddenly said…“Tell me about this lady you have met”....
I took a deep breath and said
“She is I guess 5’ 9” tall, slim build, with long straight black hair over a what looks like a naturally tanned complexion with a chiselled bone structure with beautiful lips.
She speaks beautifully and has a wonderful proportionate body for a lady that I think is in her late 40’s.
Beautiful large blue eyes, great long legs, she is very fashionable with a Vivian Westwood style and look, she sits and moves like a super model, has the voice of an angel, she is polite with an air of confidence that comes with the experience of life with two children; she swims at the Marriott and is admired by all”............. I waited..............not a mention from Marie..... I had just described the very lady I was speaking to....
“I want to ask her out for a meal or drink but have not done this for many years and I would love your help and advice.
She is so perfect I really don’t want to blow it. Not sure how it works now. Its 2011 and things have changed.
How will I know if she likes me?
Marie what do you think I should do”?
I held my breath again ........”and her name is Marie”
“What would you like to do Dermot is more to the point” she said.
“I would love to have the confidence to approach her by taking her hand with a gentle kiss on her cheek and at the same time ask if she would do me the honour of having dinner with me one evening.
Sounds naff and old fashioned I know but she looks very classy and traditional and I want to show her the utmost respect from the very start and it’s something I have always wanted to do.
I love romance and sense she does too.”
“Seems like a nice touch to me, you should try it, after all that’s what you want to do.
It is then you will know if she is interested in you or not”............ silence.
Marie sounded pleased with her advice and there was nothing more to say.
“Thanks Marie” and the conversation politely finished.
. Marie then went about her business and I went off to do something that I wanted to do for a very long time.......................

Fairways Farm, I loved the house and home I built for my family and myself in 1991.
Not sure love is the right word; it was much more than that.
Fairways was born out of a lifetime ambition to build a family home built on a 10-acre derelict site with nothing more than ambition and hard work, something I definitely got from dad.
After buying the land with the blessing of dads partner Michael Connell, (dad was in Ireland on holiday) I inherited a series of ramshackle stables with asbestos roofs, hundreds and hundreds of rats on the land best described as a bog.
I demolished the stables and cleaned up the asbestos, Rentokil came and piled up 500 rats and we burnt them.
What followed were great memories of kids on tractors, ploughing and tilling, seeding and rolling, with the smell of new grass, watching new trees and cattle grow.
We planted three thousand new trees, new fences and drains, rolled out the new pastures surrounded by Sale golf course on all sides which gave us an exclusive environment to hopefully live in.
The river Mersey was close by and in the spring evenings a mist would ascend and roll over the land looking like a cloud had just landed, the tree tops would stand proud and still through the mist and sometimes you would hear a pin drop.
The wildlife returned in abundance and the kids grew attached to the feel of the place as well as the family cattle that they tended and fed after school time. Taking them off to Chelford market for slaughter was a little difficult at first as they all had their own names.
The land was discovered through work, a ten-acre site in the green belt offered to me as tip for demolition rubble that eventually took and broke my heart.
It took two years to buy the freehold from the wonderful Eric Whalley followed by a six-year battle with the planners resolved only with the skill, intelligence, love and help from the beautiful and brilliant Jimmy Grigor.
With his beautiful wife Revie and their daughter Jen they were the very first people to enter the new house when it was complete giving me a memory that will live with me forever.
Fairways was built with the supreme skill, patience and friendship of Mike Lees the architect and Anthony the builder giving them their own unique house and for us our very own unique home and my private heaven.
There was a red concrete support column that ran from the lounge floor through the ceiling to the roof that I hugged every night before I went to bed. It was such a lovely feeling to be in your own house on your own land, I was afraid to go to sleep in case I missed something.
We had a glass roof that was just for light and affect. You could lie on the landing and count the stars, watch the trial from the jets as they flew overhead and look at a white wall of snow crystals when it snowed. Thunder and lightning with all the lights off was always a highlight.
All the season would be displayed on the roof and you could watch the birds sit and bounce along the roof top.
In 2003 the special world we created was turned upside down by a creature unknown to mankind.
National Grid arrived in Sale. A new 400,000v power line and pylon dominated the sky line and in one foul swoop Fairways was slaughtered, butchered and died.
It was at this time another beast came into my life, the Chairman of National Grid Sir John Parker, a vile man.
I wrote a thousand times to him asking him for help, nothing more or nothing less with no response to date.
He destroyed and took my Fairways with his corporate power and arrogance, with not one ounce of care or consideration he took my life too.
He took my mind, he took my ambition, he took my wife and everything we ever wanted and ever worked for. He never recognised we existed or acknowledged we had a problem.
I have met a lot of principles in industry over the years and they have all been intelligent, approachable and sympathetic to any case of affects from their industry or trades on people’s lives.
Not this man he is from a different world, he is inhuman and I just want to tell him what I think of him before I kill him.
Not sure her Majesty the Queen would be happy to bestow such an honour as Sir on a man who treats simple hard working families that dare question him like a piece of dog dirt on the sole of his National Grid shoe.
It is a unique and beautiful house set in a self-made perfect environment. Fairways was much admired by many family and friends with passers -by thanking us for the new environment we had created for the area.
It was just so overwhelming and nice, nature had returned in abundance with the sound of singing birds not heard here for the last hundred years.
Regular enquires through the letterbox asking for first refusal should we sell.
Not anymore, the site is back to where we started, blighted and sterilised in the extreme with 58 Pages of safety information from National Grid. A new duty of care and safety zones, limits of approach, all in our air space all without consent for 400,000 volts.
Restrictions imposed on planning, agricultural, commercial and leisure activities. None of which we had before.
The house and land could not support a loan application for £50K to fund legal help from our bank.
From a £1M to zero was devastating.
We just could not function normally and nobody would help us.
The risk of death by electrocution if we encroached the safety zones or limits of approach along with the restrictions were in the sale particulars. The Home Information Pack was a ticking bomb, nobody would take it on.
Couple all that with a very high public perception of a serious health risk attached to living next to high voltage power lines, childhood leukaemia, we were screwed.
The singing birds have gone and replaced by the buzz from the 400,000 volts
Extreme happiness and contentment was replaced with extreme fear, pain and anger.
For me the saddest moment of all was when Janet recently announced she never liked like the house and living there.
The dagger plunged deep into my heart to join all the others that were bleeding me to death.

This time the drive home was deliberately silent; I was transfixed on Marie and did not want any distraction that may dilute this wonderful and new feeling.
I parked the beast up and entered the house. It was cold, quite, and I felt desperately sad when I drew back all the curtains and turned on all the lights.
The mood in the house seemed to improve slightly with my arrival as I stood perfectly still, silent and alone in the middle of the lounge on the dusty timber floor.
The lounge was the focal point of the downstairs of the house with its wide and long open plan layout dominated by that single bright red concrete circular column that I hugged.
The two sets of window seats were still there admiring the exclusive views this time through dirty windows.
The beautiful timber floor sat next to a redundant and cold open fire with a huge square dusty mirror above.
The theme and design for the house was built on straight lines, with high ceilings and little in the way of doors. The less in the house the better it always looked.
Every wall was white. A bedroom each for the kids and their own bathroom, the master bedroom with en-suite and changing room with a gallery landing with the glass roof made the upstairs.
Open plan kitchen and dining room, snug, cloakroom, play room, utility room, loo, a split level lounge and office made up the down stairs, a simple design for a simple family.
The internal garden was manicured with a new timber post and rail fence separating the livestock from the living quarters.
You could sit in the early evenings watching the cattle graze around the house.
No view, no window was the principle; for a house full of glass.
The only thing on the white walls was dust and the mirror that would very shortly be put to good use.
The pitch pine floor was specially imported by the Mike from New York and still looked pretty good today although neglected for a few years now it still had the capacity to grab your attention.
The very same floor had worked so hard over the years supporting a decade of turmoil, heartbreak, sadness, and despair.
It was badly stained with the tears and blood of both the young and old.
It was scratched from the years of drunken falls with broken bones and twisted knees.
I stood and admired the floor for a few more seconds, before I walked quite deliberately from one end to the other so I could hear the distinctive sound of my footsteps against the timber, yes the floor was still alive and it was lovely to hear that special contact again.
Although dirty and dusty the floor was truly beautiful and appropriate for the house when it was first built but sadly it had not fulfilled its true role and purpose until now.....
I was going to dance.
I positioned myself nervously in front of the mirror, fixed my attire, smiled at myself and shrugged my shoulders to say what the hell and pressed the start remote to the stereo for the music and my lyrics to explode into my mind.
It is a track that I always loved and had performed many times in the beast and now the time had come to dance to it on the floor.
“Ring the Bells”
The track starts with the rapid instrumental introduction and quickly slows to the first line of lyrics.
I started to move but immediately felt very uncomfortable, awkward, and out of rhythm.
I couldn’t dance; it was such a long time.
I pressed the stop button and re-wound and stood for a while, was it my age, had I lost all my natural movement and the ability to feel the music, certainly not the case with the beast.
I looked in the mirror and shouted, “I AM GOING TO DANCE OK” only to see a reflection in the mirror of a scene from Jacqui’s wedding with her dancing with her new husband Gary with such a smooth rhythm whilst holding a full glass of wine in one hand,....
Dermot was dancing like a shadow boxer with his arms up in defence as if he was giving himself a series of upper cuts, spinning around without moving too much.....
Then there was Sinead with Kerion, in her emerald green bridesmaid dress.....She too was spinning around, and shouting her favourite line of the night “dance with your dad”.
I smiled and turned away from the mirror after quickly deciding the best and easiest way to get going was to copy Dermot’s style of dance and take it from there
I pressed the start button again and James obliged.
I raised my two arms and clenched my fists like a boxer in a defensive position and then pulled my shoulders in and rocked them in and out, moving my fists up and down and slightly side to side at the same time, my feet were not moving but it felt pretty good.
I felt myself blush and start to sweat but carried on.
The music and lyrics were more than accommodating; the track with its long intensive fast pace and slow interludes helped the student concentrate and progress.
As the instrumental slows to join the lyrics my movement was still a little slow but only slightly out of time, I was getting better.
My blush had cleared and I begin to enjoy myself. My confidence and co-ordination grew with the intensity of the track and the immense pleasure I derived from the miming and howling came to the fore.
It was so uplifting to be dancing as well as shouting and balling with the music on the floor.
It felt so comfortable; I was in the right place, on the floor, dancing for the first time to my favourite track. This was the real thing; this is why I built the house, where was everybody?
With Marie in my mind and my confidence sky high I was happy.
I moved my hips and turned in a slow circle with my fists still moving up and down, my shoulders moving in and out, I rocked my head from side to side, I was dancing alright and it felt good.
I continued to sing and howl as the track develops into a magnificent crescendo of music and rhythm that was perfect for the first dance.
The track quickens again and sends me into a quicker spin and I am transfixed in dance, pleasure, and release when........
She is there..... right in front of me.
The spotlights in the ceiling all trained on her as she spins.
She is dressed in the same clothes with her hair still wet, still smiling, she kicked off her flip flops, and danced and oh my god, Marie could dance.
The same style, the same speed, the same moves; she mirror imaged everything I did as we spun around the room together
I was now in heaven, happiness all around; the house was bouncing with music and dance with James in full flow.
The track comes to an abrupt end and I fall into the red column sweat and tears stinging my eyes as I try to hold on tight before sliding down to the floor exhausted.
It takes a few moments for me to recover only to open my eyes to see Marie has gone.
The room was suddenly silent, empty and cold again as I got to my feet.
Sweat pouring from my face I smiled as I killed the lights only to look back again at the floor, I studied it for a few moments and decided to leave all the curtains open and all the lights on as I headed for the door with the words,
“Let everybody see what a great place this is”

♫Ring the bells
Wake the town
Everyone is sleeping
Shout at the crowd
Wake them up
This anger inside of me is deeper than sleep.
Got to keep awake to what is happening.
I can't see a thing through my ambitions,
I no longer feel like God is looking after me ♫
Got to tell the world I have been dreaming
That this is not the end, it’s a new beginning
I no longer feel my God is watching over me.
Let the doors of life swing open
See through all my walls
♫On all my floors I’m dancing
Now I’m in deeper than sleep
Got to keep awake to what is happening.
I can't see a thing through my ambitions,
I no longer feel like God is looking after me
Got to tell the world I have been dreaming
This is not the end, it’s a new beginning
I no longer feel my God is watching over me.
When you let me fall
I grew my own wings ♫
Now I'm as tall as the sky for
When you let me drown
I grew gills and fins
Now I'm as deep as the sea
When you let me die
My spirits will be free
♫There's nothing left to challenge me.
Dermot Finnigan 1010
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:45 pm

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