Just sitting here in sunny Belfast, Northern Ireland waiting to get home once the rioting has stopped. The radio just informed me that the road home is closed, so that got me thinking about the first piece I ever had published. I had totally forgotten about it.
It was probably around 1985 and at that time I owned a garage (I’m a mechanic by trade). We were driving back to it and I noticed that the road was closed by the police. Now you have to remember that this was at the height of all the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland. I turned to my dad and said “wouldn’t it be weird if there was a bomb in my garage?’ THERE WAS.
A taxi driver had come in for a service and had a bomb taped below the car!!!
Now, by sheer luck, I had a camera in the car, so I took it with me and basically demanded to be let through to see what was happening. They reluctantly let me through at my own risk and I snapped away at the bomb disposal squad doing their thing (just for the fun of it, you understand. We’re a weird lot here in NI) and thought nothing more about it.
The next day, the two local papers wanted interviews and details, so I offered an exchange. I would supply them with the only available photographs, if they let me write the article. (where did that come from?)
Anyway, I took over the front page in both the Newtownabbey Times and Newtownabbey Guardian and all the editorial was mine. I even got a ‘by line’.
Seems like I’ve always wanted to write, even though I might not have realised it. Wish I still had the copies.