A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner
Granda McAreavey would take us across the road to the Dunville Park. We'd play quoits, aiming a big 10p for chipped painted circles on the tarmac. Then we'd gather up seedy helicopters, dusty wings swirled back to the thin dirt in slow motion. At first we had to be lifted into the basin of the derelict fountain, eventually we could navigate the smooth boundary wall ourselves. I can still feel the round pink acned stone on my bare legs. Pocked by decades of dirty rain. As the Black Staff belched the Victorian folly crumbled. The centre of the fountain was good for a clamber but we were always a little afraid of it. The dark internal pit was lined with black ashes soaked in urine and the scorched iron skeleton reeked. We would perch on a portal each but wiry wee hard men would see us off their tongues too quick for us. The Dunville Park was like much of a Belfast childhood in the seventies. You knew that bad things went on there after dark but you didnt know what.