When we were building the shop in the early 70’s we encountered the monolithic machine that was the Electricity Supply Board (ESB). This National institution provided employment for thousands of people and worked in very mysterious ways.
The plot where the shop was built was slap bang in the middle of two supply poles (all electricity was provided by overhead lines) and we were told that a new pole had to be erected alongside the plot.
Fair enough, we had finished the wiring in the shop and were waiting to be connected. Then an astonishing series of events unfolded.
First off all, on the Monday, a truck arrived and 2 men dropped the new pole and promptly drove off before the ould lad could collar them.
On the Tuesday a team of 6 men arrived and dug the hole. Well one young lad dug the hole and the other five annoyed the mother for water in order to have a brew. The ould lad was starting to boil over.
“FFS 6, fecking 6 men to dig a fecking hole” says he.
On Wednesday a team of 4 men arrived to erect the pole.
“FFS 4, fecking 4 men to put up fecking pole” says he.
On Thursday a team of 6 men arrived to interrupt the supply of electricity for the day and connect the wires to the pole.
“FFS 6, fecking 6 men to run a wire between two fecking poles” says he.
At this point myself and the mother were thinking of moving out for a couple of days as the ould lad was getting unbearable to live with.
On Friday 2 men arrived to run a wire from the pole to the mother board and when they were finished.
“At fecking last, now where’s the main fuse” fumed the ould lad
“Not our job” says man 1
“Specialist job that” says man 2
“FFS it’s a mickey mouse job you fecking eejits” he was on form that day.
“Union rules” says man 1
“Union rules” repeated man 2
After telling them what he thought of them and their union they departed. He got on the phone and repeated his opinion to the area manager and went into overdrive when he was told that the “main fuse man” wouldn’t be out until Monday. He gripped the phone and his knuckles went white and I retired to a respectable distance as he stood holding the phone and swore constantly for a good 5 minutes. The eloquence and delivery of this tirade was wondrous to behold and I stood there in awe at his rich and varied vocabulary. I think that even the area manager was impressed, despite the fact that his ancestry, birth circumstances, personality and everything else was drawn into the mix.
On Monday a suited and booted man arrived, put in the main fuse, and sealed it. At this stage the ould lad was worn out and didn’t utter a word.
A total of 8 days and 21 men to put up a pole and run a wire to the shop.