WELCOME HOME YE LADS OF THE EIGHTH ARMY. There
had to be some defiance in it because it was painted along the
demesne wall, a banner headline over the old news of REMEM-
BER 1690 and NO SURRENDER, a great wingspan of lettering
I hurried under with the messages.
In a khaki shirt and brass-buckled belt, a demobbed neigh-
bour leaned against our jamb. My father jingled silver deep in
both pockets and laughed when the big clicking rosary beads
‘Did they make a Papish of you over there?’
“Oh damn the fear! I stole them for you, Paddy, off the
Pope’s dresser when his back was turned.’
‘You could harness a donkey with them.’
Their laughter sailed above my head, a hoarse clamour,
two big nervous birds dipping and lifting, making trial runs
across a territory.