Jimmy was an old boy who was a surrogate parent to my mate Mark. We all knew him as Mark’s grandfather but were never sure if he real was not. Mark lived mostly with old Jimmy in his small red-brick terraced house and I used to love going round to visit. The old boy would allow us to congregate in his house, smoke cigarettes and listen to his crude humorous tales of his wild drunken nights out. When Jimmy was not looking I would steal an apple from his fruit bowl which sat on a mahogany table in the middle of his tiny living room. On a few occasions I would eat all of the apples. He gave me the name ‘Applehead’ as a result.
"Who ate all of my fuckin' apples?" he would shout. I would look sheepishly at Jimmy.
"Applehead! I might have known!” he would shout at me followed by a hearty laugh.
In this house life was great. We could smoke, curse and feel free. It was almost Heaven.
One Sunday morning Mark and I were passing time in Jimmy’s sitting room. He asked us to help him rearrange the furniture around in his front room. Jimmy told us that he felt like a change of scenery and moving chairs and a settee would help see the world from a different side of the room. Keeping Jimmy sweet was our objective. By doing so he would reward us by letting us use his house to gather in.
With our ulterior motive in mind of having a warm and dry smoking room we got stuck into helping the old boy move the settee, chairs and china cabinet. We moved the furniture around the room a few times until he was finally happy with the arrangement. After the job was done Jimmy went to the pub while Mark and I sat in his house listening to music, eating his food and smoking. This was much better than the alternative of standing at a street corner in the biting cold.
It was early evening when Jimmy returned home completely drunk. He stumbled into the room and greeted us with an announcement;
"I'm steamin’! FULL!”
No surprises there I thought. Mark and I watched as Jimmy went to sit on his settee, in the position it had been before we moved it earlier. In a moment that seemed to happen in slow-motion, Jimmy sat down on nothing. He fell backwards and cracked his head off the china cabinet. Jimmy let out a yell as he lay on the floor with us trying to pull his large round frame upright while trying not to laugh.
"Who moved my fuckin' settee?" yelled Jimmy clenching his head.
"You did!" we replied.
"Yes! You're a stupid oul' bollox!" we both replied in unison.
"For fucks sake, why didn't you tell me?!" shouted Jimmy.
He looked totally bewildered as he massaged the rapidly growing bump on the top of his head.
Jimmy Ringland was a legend. If you never met him you lost out.