Leila Peden


It wasn’t funny at the time but it’s funny now, my mother, she just took these turns, she’d hold on and not let go. My da, he thought she was dead. She took a turn and he didn’t know where she was, nobody could find her and she was up at the morgue, where all the bodies was, and my ma was in there. I don’t know whether my ma worked or not, I don’t think so. She must’ve been out somewhere and she took a turn and my dad couldn't find her, nobody could find her. They went everywhere. There was a lot of bodies sitting in the morgue and we’d arrive and he happened to see her and my da says, “she’s not dead.” And your man says, “oh she is!” He says, “she’s not, she’s in a turn.” And that’s what it was. See, she could’ve stayed in a turn, if she got annoyed she went in these turns. And something must’ve annoyed her, and she goes in the turn for a quite a while, you have to wait until she comes out of it. But anyway that man from the morgue thought she was dead! And my da said “no she’s not.” So I says, “well, you better get up out of there! They’re going to bury ya!” But she was all right after it. She could’ve taken those turns all the time, you know.

When you were younger what did you do, what was the entertainment when you were younger?

I always went out with my sister, you know. I was the youngest, you see, of five daughters, no sons and no brothers! There is only two of us left. Our Jean and me. I didn’t go anywhere. I was quiet, frig’s sake! They would’ve taken me round the for willicks [whelks, sea snails that were boiled and eaten] and all. Lily and her man they would have brought me all over to get willicks and then done the potatoes outside. Our Lily, they’re good dancers. And they used to go to Silver Slipper, round over the bridge. That’s where it was. Just at the bottom of the Boyne Bridge. The Colosseum used to be there too. Silver Slipper. I went in there. I was wee, I wasn’t big, and I just watched them dancing. They brought me everywhere. 

And then my da was in the band, you see. The Dummy Do Band, fuck sake. The Dummy Do Band, that’s where he started. My daddy played the side drum, he always brought my mother to Scotland and all the places, with the band. Sometimes I went to things with them too, the bus runs! Oh no it was good like.

My mate’s man is German, Lutz. Well I call him Lutz, I don’t know what his name is! I don’t see her, now, my sister, she went to Germany. He went first, he worked down in the shipyard, he was a cawker, they were all getting the sack. And he went over to Germany. And my sister, whenever she was younger, my dad used to call her a German! She used to shout all the time, and he says, “Hitler was her da!” Fuck! God forgive me. Our Jeanie went over there and she had four kids: three boys and one girl. But she was thirty years there. 

What was your memories of the Twelfth?

Awk, well we always went over, whenever my dad was in the band you see. They’re doing them [the bonfires] too high, now. That’s what our Dom was saying last night. He says, whenever we done them, the bonfires in Gaffikin Street, and I would have been out and had hot soup and stuff, I would’ve went out with them. And that was good then, but now it’s all fighting. But the Market ones, they always come down too and beat them. All the Market ones would have come up and stolen their wood, sometimes steal the flags! 

He says that more or less every street had an arch. 

Oh aye, there was! Reid’s shoe shop used to have one outside, they played music and all in Reid’s and people used to dance there, you know. They were good like. The Catholic ones want rid of it anyway. They want rid of the Twelfth. We all go the one way (death). Aye. 

There used to be a whole lot of chippies and all in Sandy Row, and the bars: The Bluebell, The Lily and The Klondyke. My dad worked in it. And the Big Boyne and the Wee Boyne. the Wee Boyne was in Gaffikin Street And the big one was at the Boyne Bridge. Dad worked in the big one and then he worked in the wee one and The Royal, and the Ranger’s Bar. I don’t drink and I never smoked. My mother, she smoked. My da, he worked in Murray’s Tobacco Factory, so he’s bound to be a smoker.

I was a winder in the factory. Just winding [in the spinning mills] the spools, the thread, it wasn’t thread, it was yarn. You’d done the yarn, and then I remember the wee things, and then you put it up and then you started winding them and it went out to the warpers, the fellas, they would’ve done the linen. Linfield Mill, It’s still there. Jeanie was a weaver, she had two looms. Up and down, up and down.

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