Building your Buggy

What was called for was an appropriately long bolt of precisely the correct diameter to fit through both burned-out holes – that in the front axle and directly above in the buggy board – and with sufficient numbers and sizes of nuts and washers to do the job-in-hand.

Meadow Rangers:  All once fitted on one ball-bearing buggy.  It must be true.  It was in Newry Journal!

A tall order, unless you were familiar with (or knew someone who was, or had a brother or friend who was) an employee of Haldane Shiels on Monaghan Street – facing Leo Geoghan’s shop (now Brian Savage’s)! Haldane’s also was the source where you scrounged your riding board and two axles.

The riding board had to be 5′ – 6′ long and 2′ – 3′ broad and a half inch thick. The axles had to be 6′ longer than the breadth of the board, perfectly flat and thick enough to need paring at the ends to take the ball-bearings. The front axle – the moveable one – had to be longer than the back. We’d get a short length of string or rope here too, for guidance.

Oh, we were the fussy customers indeed – we knew what we wanted – despite the fact that we were paying for nothing!

My Bridge partner Cathal O’Hara, who then lived in Ardoyne in Belfast, tells me their guiders (yes! That’s what they called them too!) were enormous and multi-varied, some complete with armour-plating (battered out Roses tins, and the like). They quickly adapted to the pram-wheel variety too. The Ardoyne Guider Race was famous throughout the city and beyond. 


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