Monday, February 18, 2008

A tale of pot-bellied pigs, a night in a pub, ploughed fields and friendship.

I lost a very good friend Sybil to cancer a few years ago. She was German and survived growing up as a small child in post-war Berlin.

In her mid-40's she moved to the Cork countryside where she was the terror of every local Romeo who came into the flower shop she worked in. "You are buying ROSES for your girlfriend? Wat hav you done - had ze affair or lost ze imagination??"

My favourite memory of her is seeing her standing on Middleton High Street, surveying the chaos of a typical Saturday around her and yelling out in a very loud voice "these DAMM Irish, zey do not park ze cars, zey ABANDON dem!"

For all her exterior toughness, she had a heart of gold, a wicked sense of humour and was one of the best dog-handlers I have ever seen.

She was not so hot however with pot-bellied pigs. Hers escaped and had to be chased across several muddy fields by torchlight.

How could you not love a woman who greeted you on the walk home from the pub with the words "get your torches, the pigs are out!”? A few Friday night pints of Guinness only carries your good mood across so many ploughed fields and ditches. Typical of Sybil though, she had whiskey indoors that night which was distributed with Irish generosity to the pig-chasing posse once the bandits had been recaptured.

I am still wondering who was the tall handsome middle-aged man was who came to see her in hospital when she was there in her last days. I thought from the look of him he was a farmer. I even went as far as to speculate he was someone who she was very intimate with. I only got as far as looking him up and down before I was shoo-ed out of the room for his visit. When I came back, I never asked and she never told but she had a very naughty glint in her eye.

Everywoman is allowed to keep her secrets but I would give my eye teeth to know what the story was there.

So in memory of my friend, the well-loved one-woman German scourge of a small Irish community, I am going to do a sponsored race to raise funds for cancer research. I am just grateful there are no pigs or coverts involved. Unless the Blackheath race for life organisers have some very perverse ideas for race routes!

Anyone wanting to give a £1 can use the link above and it would be very much appreciated.




Violet said...

What a great story...what an interesting sounding woman...what happened to the pigs after she died?

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hi there, came over via Swearing Mother. Great blog will be back. Am running the Race for Life too so good luck.


Istvanski said...

I clicked on the link from my blog to yours and I was presented with this warning page from;

"Content Warning
Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable".

Has someone grassed you up?

Karl said...

I got the "content warning," too, FYI. I plan to donate in the coming weeks, when I have a little more disposable income. The holidays really tapped me out last year.

overnighteditor said...

Such a beautiful pen-portrait of a dear friend. I particularly loved the paragraph about the pig-chase.