Journey to Wembley by GC
It was the summer of 1987 and my friend Peter and I were bored. We cut grass to make money. We were only fifteen. By July, we had enough money and we decided to go to London. That night we told our mothers and they agreed. A week later we packed our plastic bags and headed for the ferry to Liverpool.
We were afraid we were too young to travel, but we were able to buy our tickets without a problem. The boat left Dublin Port at eleven o’clock at night and was due to arrive in Liverpool the next morning.
It was my first time on a boat. The ship was rocking and I felt sick. We played video games and watched movies. There were lots of drunk people falling around. A neighbour with his kids was on the boat. He told us we would not be allowed off the boat without an adult. He said we could travel with him.
When we got off the boat we saw the bus for London and boarded it. We ate the peanut butter sandwiches Peter’s mother had made. The journey took over five hours. We got off at the terminus and phoned Peter’s brother, Martin, who lived in Wembley. He told us to get the tube line to Wembley station. We got off the tube and walked to his address. Peter’s brother was not pleased to see us. He shouted at us to go straight back home where we came from. Then he asked us whether we had return tickets and any money. We shook our heads. He was furious! His wife tried to calm things down. She suggested we go for pizza and talk about what to do next. It was decided we would stay with them and sleep on the couch.
The next day Martin got us jobs on a building site. We were general dogsbodies – clearing up rubble, getting messages, making tea, carrying bricks, etc. At the end of the day we were stiff and sore and our hands were blistered. But we had our first job and we were rich! The lads on the building site treated us very well. We knew them from Dublin.
We continued to work on the building sites until well into the next year, but went home for Christmas. Peter and I got separated as we worked on different sites. After Christmas, I moved into a house which I shared with my brother and other friends. It was great to have my own room. There was plenty of work.
One day, Peter’s brother phoned me. Peter had been attacked by another builder and was badly hurt. He could not work and had no insurance. We waited a week for him to get better and then decided to go back to Dublin for a while.
We returned a year later to London, but things had changed. We were not kids any more. We stayed in London until the job market in Ireland got better. We then came back to Dublin, older and wiser.