After all that work, it is little wonder that we favoured a great fanfare launch when – at long last – our new ball-bearing buggy was ready to be inflicted upon an unwary world!
There was little cause to pre-arrange things. News had leaked out anyway and all our mates were breathless with expectancy. You see, our only workshop was our back yards which themselves were open-plan, and our mates had all along been watching and listening from neighbouring gardens. The constant hammering and sawing, and swearing when things went wrong, had been closely noted.
One had merely to casually mention a date and time and a huge throng could be guaranteed to assemble about the front gardens, spilling into the ‘Greens’.
The most difficult part then was in persuading fathers and older brothers, who had been chiefly instrumental in its construction, to allow all the glory to rest with the owner of the new buggy! The older ones must stay strictly off-side, keep a low profile and pretend to have taken no part. The young fellow, who would claim authorship as well as ownership, must, by then, have been well primed in construction technique because he would be closely quizzed before the official launch.
Having given an erudite synopsis of new capabilities and difficulties encountered in construction, he would issue the traditional challenge to all and sundry, to test their old buggies against his new model.
Since this had been expected, all the other boys had been busy that morning in preparing their own machines for the coming challenge. A great crowd, including older brothers and occasionally the odd father – though these were most unwelcome – would make its way to the race’s starting point up at the Egyptian Arch, most of them dragging their ball-bearing buggies behind them.
It was a long climb, before the construction of the Derrybeg Estate. We went via Orior Road, the Pighall Loanan, The Wheel and up the main Camlough Road. There was a great air of anticipation.
On the way we’d check the chestnut trees overhanging that main road, to see how our ‘conker’ harvest was progressing. That was the next ‘season’.
That was the next ‘season’.
…………. final ‘buggy’ episode to follow shortly ……………