Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

Subscribe in a reader

Showing posts with label Holyhead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holyhead. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Biographical Tid Bit #2 - Conclusion

I was alone on my bench.

Being alone was no problem. In fact, given the company that I'd been keeping over the last ten was preferable.

I spent the first night of the trip in London...where a man was kicked out of a bar because he would not stop telling me, the bartender, and the clock on the wall how much he loved my "Texas" accent.
There was the girl from San Fransico who'd given me a stern lecture on the racial history of Mississippi in a hostel kitchen...that was a real bonus seein' how all I had to do to get it was tell her I was from Mississippi. It's not like I could argue with her though because her credentials were impeccable...she'd once driven through the state.
There was the old man on a train who I'd had a pleasant enough conversation with until he started insisting, a little too insistently, that I come to see him the next time was in London.
Of course Holyhead was where I met Bevis and Butthead, but it was also where I was chased onto the ferry by a randy woman who had dragged her kids across the Irish Sea so she could buy and drink cases of duty free Fosters.

I was due some alone time.

It's the cold I couldn't handle. I'm uncomfortable when it gets under 60 degrees and that night, on that metal was like layin' on a block of ice in a fishtank filled with liquid nitrogen and pranhas.

I tried everything...I unpacked my duffle bag and stuck my feet in it, covered myself with the contents, and put my head in a sweater...none of it did anything for the two feet of empty, icy air-space between me and the floor.

When I did doze off for a second or two I'd wake up mumbling about the degoba system. I dreamt that a rugby player had killed a sherpa with a fork. I woke up unable to feel my feet, frightened for a split-second that they had been eatin. It was time to get up.

I didn't know what I was gonna do. I was exhausted, but unless I kept movin' I was certain I was gonna freeze to death. So, I went to the was about the only activity available. I noticed it was slightly warmer in there. It was still cold enough to hang meat, but I was willing to take a few degrees whereever I could get 'em. I was thinking I'd get my stuff and pile up in there as I stuck my hands under the dryer.

As the warm air pushed beads of water around the back of my hands and they began to thaw...I realized I could make it through the night.

I got my stuff and piled it as high as I could under the hand dryer...and sat against the wall. Whenever I felt the vicious cold slithering around my neck and into my ears I'd reach up and hit the button...warmth. I actually managed to get a few hours of sleep that way and finally the morning came.

I had a lot of time to kill before the train came...I had candy-bar for breakfast and wandered around Holyhead...

The trip back was uneventful. There were two American kids on the train from someplace here in the states where people communicate at a volume just below yelling, but I was too wiped out to be bothered.

When I got to Heathrow it was late, but I was able to change my flight to one that was leaving first thing in the morning. That process had not gone off entirely without a hitch. The old fella at the counter had called me a yankee. After three days without a shower, sleeping in basements and bathrooms I probably looked and smelled the part, but I informed him in no uncertain terms that I was not a yankee. Fortunately the lady standing with him smiled at me and said "he's a Southern boy."

I returned the smile with hearty "Yes ma'am." It was the first bit of comfort I had felt in days.

The old man grumbled.."You're all yanks to me." Whatever.

I found a chair and settled in, but before I could drift off there was one more visitor. A bag lady wondered in through the sliding doors, walked straight to the wall where I was sitting and began...well I'm not gonna get into it...let's just leave it at disgusting. There wasn't a lot of room in my chair but I did my best to get further away...she looked down at me and hissed..."Look at me again and I'll kill you."

"Lady if you're lookin' to scare a gonna have to find somebody that hasn't spent a night on a Greyhound bus...get on from here." She did.

So did I the next morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bigraphical Tid Bit #2 - Installment 8 Recap

It's gettin' close to midnight and I'm all alone in the port station at Holyhead, with no where or way to go until the next morning...on a bench. A bench of grated metal dipped in rubber. It's cold...very cold.

I'm tryin to get back to Hiedleberg Germany where I was stationed with the US Army.

Three days earlier, in Dingle Ireland, I realized I didn't have any money in my wallet. What little money I did have in the bank, 30 pounds maybe, couldn't be got in the Irish Republic. I needed access to a British bank. So I headed to Belfast with my Irish rail-pass...which, as it turned out, was no good in Northern Ireland...but, thanks to God gifted Southern Charm and a porter's fascination with Elvis I was able to sweet talk my way onto a train for Dublin. There I found a bunk for 5 pounds, but rather than conserve my money, I decided to spend one more night on the town. Next day I don't remember much except being on the ferry to Holyhead trying to change my luck with the slots...BIG MONEY BIG MONEY...wrong.

We got to Holyhead just in time to see the train for London pulling out. I barely had enough money to eat on for the next day...finding a bed was out. So, I picked a bench for the night and prepared to hunker which point I was engaged by two tweekers that mistook me for an undercover cop and soon split the scene in a fit of paranoia...leaving me all alone on my bench.

All installments can be viewed and read by clicking on the Holyhead label to the right.

That's where we resume our story...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 - Installment 7

The talker looked at me like I had an answer for why is squirrely friend had split. Reflexively I shrugged my shoulders. He got up and went to find his buddy.

I was alone and now had the biggest buffer in the everyone in the room had positioned themselves to be as far away from me as possible. It was just as well. I hadn't showered in two days.

I was just starting to notice a burning sensation on my rump and a slight scrambling sting across the exposed skin of my face neck and hands...when the talker reappeared on the bench.

"Look he says he'll come back if you'll tell him to his face you're not a cop."

Well thank heaven for that. The thought that I'd never see him again was just worrin'th'ell outta me.

"Will you do it?"

I shifted my weight on the metal bench to one cheek..."Sure, why not."

He dissapeared again and with a whince I shifted my weight again. My butt was goin' numb and the stinging sensation across my skin was becoming a steady burn. I had to face was cold, cold-cold. As I began to consider the consequences of this...

"Ok...tell 'eem your not a cop."

Beevis and Butthead were back.

"I am not a cop."

The talker looked at his buddy expecting to see relief I reckon, but he wasn't convinced. He looked down shaking his head and mumbling...then bolted again.

"Sorry. It just freaked him out when you asked what we were doing in Ireland...that and the hair."

The same short cropped hair that had an old bar maid in Cork fantasizing about me being her son-in-law had sent a young tweeker in Holyhead over the edge into full-blown paranoia...and I couldn't take credit for any of it. The Army made me do it.

He got up and followed his buddy out again...stopping to wave with a shrug at the door. I was heartbroken it couldn't work out too.

With that my last distraction for the night was gone. In fact it seemed as if everybody had gotten up and gone...picked up and taken to some place warm for the night. I had the biggest buffer in Wales now...I was where I was gonna be for the night and it was just me and the cold.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 6

I'd missed the train and there wouldn't be another one until 10 o'clock the next morning.

Two minutes before I had edged my way, as politely as I could, through a clamour...snippets of plans for the night, bags banging against the wall, laughter, rolling wheels, somebody spotted a loved one, the happy chatter of a crowd that had reached it's destination.

Now the crowd was gone replaced by streaks of relfected flourescent light across the floor and silence. The concession workers had locked down their stand and were spweepin up.

I wasn't the only one that had missed the train...a handful of people sat in small groups of two or three as far as possible from one another. There were just enough of these huddles that I was gonna have to break somebody's buffer.

I looked for a group of fellas...the last thing I needed at this low point was a dirty look from a female. I decided on these two that were around my age and obviously feeling no pain...they probably wouldn't even notice me and might be good for a laugh if they did.

They did..."heya...did you miss the train?"

"I'm afraid so."

"Us too...we've got somebody comin' to get us though...hopefully."

While one fella did all the talkin' the other just kinda rocked back and forth...his stare locking and unlocking on me suddenly.

"What were you doin in Ireland?"

"Just messin around. Nothin' really."

"We just went over this mornin'."

"What were y'all up to over there?"

His friend stopped rockin' at that point and locked in on me for a moment...and then ran...ran right out the door.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 5

The only thing I remember between deciding to go back out and getting on the ferry the next evening was being woken up in the middle of the night by a bunch of rowdy Austrailians.

The next morning and afternoon are just a blank...memories that have slipped beyond my reach. It's frustrating because I know I didn't teleport from Dublin to the middle of the Irish Sea, none the less we re-join our story in front of a slot machine on the boat.

I had about 14-15 pounds in my wallet when I left Ireland. We were suppossed to make it to Holeyhead just in time to catch the train. I figured 9 or 10 quid would be more than enough money for spending the morning in an airport...besides what if I won? I could stay a few days in London before heading my mind the narrative of the last few days had been building to just such a moment...I'll hit the jackpot! Whoo Hoo...drinks for everybody!!! I'll be at the Number One in Kings Cross when I wake up tomorrow just in time for some of that mushy sausage and beans...It was gonna be AWESOME!

No it wasn't. I didn't win. I lost.

Now I was down to it...if I didn't get back in a few days I was in trouble. I was barely eating as it was, and there was no chance of me paying for another bed. I needed to be on the on the train that night. I looked up at the clock on the was gonna be tight.

It was one of the lonleist moments I can remember...standing on the platform watching that train dissapear into the darkness.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit # 2 Installment 4

The sketchy budget I had devised for gettin' back to London was very delicate and did not include buyin' a train ticket. So, I played the Forrest Gump was the only one I had.

Of course...I don't sound like a baboon on cough syrup...I have an actual Southern accent.

"Sir I don't know what I was thankin'...I juss I didn' realize...I come up 'ere for what little money I had left...I kant buy anotha ticket...the Army'll be lookin' for me and if I don't get back..."

"Just relax...relax son..where are you from?"

"Mississippi Sir."

"Oh Elvis!"

"Yes sir, Tupelo...what'm I gunna dooo?"


I was off.

The only thing I remember from the train ride back was seeing some kids on a platform hauling around hurling gear...I thought that was neat (I can't imagine that tykes are actually allowed to beat one another half to death like that...maybe it was field hockey or something...but it's a better memory if it's hurling it is). Anyway, I got back to Dublin too late to catch the ferry, but I was prepared for that. I went straight to the first cab I saw and spoke to the driver...

"Where's the cheapest place to find a bed brother?"

"Gardner St."

I thanked him and started walkin that way. Sure enough I got a bottom bunk in a basement for 5 pounds. Once downstais, I sat on the bed for a minute or two while my wallet got hotter and hotter...and started tryin to work one more night on the town into my budget.

If I caught the early ferry the next day I could be at Heathrow by supper time and with any luck I'd be on my way back to Germany at least by dinner time the next day...hopefully...maybe. I didn't need a whole 25pounds for that...and besides when was I gonna be in Ireland again. I had spent two or three nights in Dublin the week before and I knew wouldn't have to spend much of my own money anyway.

I didn't make the early ferry the next day...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 3

Crows don't stop off in Belfast on their way from Dingle to Dublin...but crows don't need money for cigarettes do they? I did...and for a bed and food. That meant finding a British bank.

Technically I wasn't broke broke. I had left 50 bucks in my account so I wouldn't be completely busted when I got back to Germany. At the time though Irish banks and their ATM machines wouldn't process cirrus debit cards., it was off to Belfast to find a Barclays machine.*

I got there and didn't even have to leave the station. There was a machine just waitin' to give me my money...perfect. I had 30 whole pounds....the warm sensation I immediately began to feel in my pocket was a little troubling, but I was on my way. I had my rail pass...I was ready to rocknroll...get right on the next train to Dublin.


"This ticket's no good up here sonny."

Awwwww crap...I was in a different country.

*There may have been an easier way to do this but if you haven't started to question my judgment by now...I don't know what it would take.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 2

...I was in Dingle lookin for the fish stand where I'd eatin late the night before. It was nowhere to be found. Then it started raining...horizontilly. So, I found someplace to lite and began to assess my situation. I was broke...I had about five pounds in my wallet. Crap!

I could sense I was runnin low but...5 pounds? In those days it was not uncommon for me to reach into my wallet and get a shock like that. I either had money and spent like I did or I was flat busted (Martha's reading this grinding her teeth and askin' herself what's changed...I was even worse back then Sugar). Back in Hiedleberg, in the barracks, I had ways of gettin' around being fact I was an expert at it...but I wasn't in Heidelberg.

Obviously it was time to go...only I wasn't scheduled to fly out of London for another week. That was the least of my worries though...I'd just have to try and talk them into an earlier flight. The Irish rail pass I was carryin' would get me back to Dublin. I had a return ticket from Dun Laoghaire to London. Transportation was sorted out then...or so I thought as I boarded the train to Belfast....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Biographical Tid Bit #2 Installment 1


I'm pretty sure this is the Port/Train Station at Holyhead in Wales.

It's also the place where I set a trash can on fire, where I was hit on then vigourously pursued by a drunk woman who had more children than teeth, questioned at length about my reasons for being where I was and going where I intended to be...not much different than most weekends in my early twenties.

More significantly though it's also the place where I almost froze to death.

I was on my way back from Ireland where I'd spent a week or so ridin' the train and generally being aimless....I think I went to the movies in Cork. Anyway, I did that til I ran out of Dingle of all places.

Ultimately getting back meant getting back to Heidleberg Germany where I was stationed in the Army, but first I had to get back to Holyhead...