Irish Navvies


About thirty years ago, when I was living in Cheltenham, there was a bar manager of the Cotswold Inn, Portland Street, called Ian Morrison. I spent quite a few hours talking to Ian ๐Ÿ™‚ . One time he told me a story of some Irish Navvies working on building a new out-of-town housing estate. Seems that these guys would, from time to time, take themselves off into the town to have a few drinks and invariably get into a bit of bother with the locals. After one time the police drove out to the building site, the following day, to have a word with the site foreman about this behaviour. The foreman cordially invited the policemen into his portacabin for a chat and a cup of tea. He kept them talking for a little while, meanwhile some of the building workers got busy with an excavator and buried the police car in a huge hole they had dug. So when the policemen finally came out the foreman was like “You had a car with you, you say?”
Oh dear, how do you explain that back at the nick?

Another time Ian told me a story of another Irishman involved in a car chase with the police, one night. The guy was so drunk, he lost control of the car on a corner and fortunately ended up going through a farm gate into a ploughed field. So off he drove, across the field. The police, sensibly, stopped at the entrance, knowing that the guy wasn’t going anywhere. The fellow decided to stop and then leapt into the back seats, but left the drivers door open. So when the police finally found the car in the dark and walked over to it all they found was someone in the back of the car but no driver. “Oh he ran off, across the fields constable”.

Apparently the fellow got away with it as the police actually did believe that he was just the passenger. Nowadays the police would have taken his details and asked for those of the driver too.

I imagine Ian got these stories from the clientele to the Inn. There were quite a few Irish people in Cheltenham, when I lived there, 30 years ago. Many came over for the races at Prestbury Racecourse. Especially Gold Cup week, which takes place around St Patrick’s day, 17th March.

Cheltenham Racecourse (staticflickr.com)

St Patrick’s day hair ! (staticflickr.com)

One time, I helped out with the car parking over the Festival period. We got free entry to the races. I found it really exciting, standing next to the home straight, with all these horses thundering down the track. I never was a betting person – in that sense, I just have a peculiar knack of making bad investments ๐Ÿ™„ .

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