8 Jun 2010

Appleby and Pomegranate

Pre Appleby Gypsy gathering, Teesside
I’d planned to celebrate my birthday visiting Appleby Fair with Barrie. For years I’ve had the intention of attending the UK’s biggest gathering of Gypsy travellers. Barrie was glad of the invite and the chance to escape Glesga for a day or two. The night before we were due to leave I called him on the phone to firm arrangements. He was distraught, he couldn’t face living and the thought of the trip was the furthest thing from his mind. A couple of weeks ago he was been beaten within an inch of his life- another case of mistaken identity. Three men muscled their way into his home and taught him a lesson he couldn’t comprehend. None of my cagoling could permeate, let alone lift his depression. Barrie was drowning his sorrows in a sea of discount lager. The phone dropped from his hand and he went silent. All I could hear was the white noise of pedestrians and Tannoys- he was slumped in the entrance of Central Station.  
 I found him the next day roaming aimlessly in the rain. In the car he broke down. If asked him, if he had the choice, where would he want to be right there and then? It was my birthday and we were going to make good. His sister’s home in Hamilton sprang instantly to mind- the sanctity of the family nest. By the warmth of his sister's hearth he regained his strength and complained about his aching shoulder. Barrie had fallen down a flight of stairs the week before while attempting to cold turkey- the shock to this system resulted in a fit. Pulling on a shirt was agony. His injuries spread over his back like the flesh of a peeled pomegranate- back in the car.

After an hour at the local A and E Barrie appeared with his arm in a sling- he had fractured his shoulder.

We'll try again next year.