Gordon - based on your comments, I went looking on Google for a copy as our
library here in Ontario doesn't have one of course. I found a used one for
$Cdn79 all the way down to ordering a NEW copy from Lulu.com at $US12.95.
I'm anxious to read it when it arrives in abt 2 weeks.

Thanks for the tip
Jim McKane
Kitchener, Ontario


On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 12:12 AM Gordon Wilkinson via CoTyroneList <
cotyronelist@cotyroneireland.com> wrote:

> We've mentioned "Bob, the Protestant Horse" by Michael McDonald.
>
> Once I started to read it, I couldn't but it down. It is a humourous,
> whimsical and very true description of Irish rural life in the 1950s.
> Loved his dry Irish humour. I can vouch that what the author says is
> true, every word! I suspect that it is a real account of his early life
> experences 'down on the farm'.
>
> The memories it brought back to me. My paternal ancestors came from
> Blackwater country near Dungannon, and on the maternal side, from
> Portadown, although my parents were born and bred in Belfast. Like our
> wee Michael in the book, I too was not born in Ireland, but in England,
> and when we returned to Belfast during the war, I was always referred to
> as the foreigner. My story is so much a mirror of wee Michael's I could
> have almost written it. I recall the "brown" of Belfast - clothing,
> decor, everything seemed to be brown!!! Even the black & white,
> hand-coloured photos of our family taken at the time are with brown
> clothes! The memories kept swarming back: the wet cobble stones and
> square-sets of the roads, the draught-horses slipping on the ice, the
> smell and noise of the city, the Saturday night tin bath in front of the
> fire - coal in Belfast.
>
> Living with my grandparents until we emigrated to Australia, I recall
> G'dad's taciturn nature. He adored my younger sister, but had little
> time for an over-active 6 yo.
>
> Then spending summer holidays on Robbo's farm (the Robinsons had a farm
> at Hillsborough, Co. Down) helping with the harvest, early morning
> chores like milk, eggs, water from the pump in the yard - no running
> water, earthen floor. I can't recall wearing anythig but wellies, except
> in summer when we went barefoot. Rationing on all things except chewing
> gum and ice-cream, making butter in the churn, coal fire in Belfast,
> peat in Hillsborough, the new Ferguson tractor (father's business was
> making agricultural machinery and selling tractors), oh the awful
> butter-milk which, like wee Michael, I just couldn't stomach. Then the
> religious divide - so real and so unnesessary. I think that that was one
> reason my parents chose to emigrate. But perhaps the most striking
> feature of the story, written in conversational style, is the
> phraseology. It is so like our family conversations. The words, the
> expressions, the dropped letters, the way the sentences are structured -
> I can hear, now, my aunt, mother and gran in the kitchen, all talking
> simultaneously to each other and yet each following the other's
> conversation perfectly. A lovely story, thanks for mentioning it.
>
> Gordon
>
> BTW, when we arrived in Australia in '48 my sister and I spent several
> summers with an aunt and uncle in rural Victoria. Although the most
> densely populated state, that town wasn't connected to the grid until
> 1968, so we were already accustomed to the oil lamps and wood-fired stove.
>
>
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