He might have been Joe’s father or grandfather. Certainly he displayed signs of similar mental function. The time was back in the war
and he had travelled to Birkenhead where there was plenty of work on account of the war, and all the young men being away fighting.
People had been warned of the Blitz and told where their nearest air-raid shelter was. Barney’s was down by Birkenhead market. It was large enough and people congregated deep within it where some comfort could be had and a sense of camaraderie prevailed.
One young woman took Barney under her notice and approached him, close to the exit.
‘Don’t you realize, Mister,’ she said kindly,
‘that it’s much warmer in the middle with all the people there?
Why don’t you come and join us?’
‘Ah, no fears, daughter dear,’ says Barney, sucking on his pipe.
‘For when those bombs fall and hit this shelter,
Sure there’ll be an awful rush for this door, and I want to be the nearest one to it.’