After the terrible events of today in London and because of the many, many e.mails I’ve had from all you lovely, lovely people out there, I know you’d want me to write some more about this incredible, shy, very quiet man that I feel fortunate enough to have married,
It hardly seems enough to say that as well as being a full time reservist in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and when not needed in the province, bringing three girls up on his own, he actually found time to have a life of his own.
After Dave had completed his training in Belfast, (which took two years) they decided that he wouldn’t be allowed to live in the province, so they shifted him and his girls to Glasgow in Scotland.
He told me later that although he loved Glasgow and it’s very special people, he encountered more religious intolerance there than he ever did in Belfast!
He was very fond of relating a story about a new years eve party he gate crashed in Glasgow, let me explain.
Many Glaswegians do not drink at all on New Years Eve until the church bells ring on the stroke of midnight, but then! Oh my God, I think it’s fair to say that they partake of the odd wee drink or so!
He was half way through a two month leave from the province, he had money in his pocket, a baby sitter at home for his girls and he was rearing to go, he went into a couple of pubs in the Springburn district of Glasgow, had a drink or three and kept an ear cocked for whispers of a party.
The bar was called “McSorleys” and a big hairy guy was drinking heavily and telling loads of obscene jokes, he had the bar in stitches and once the bells had rung, he turned to Dave and said,
“Get yerself a wee carry oot and we’ll find a wee party”
Dave hefted his already full carrier bag up from the floor, added a few more bottles to it and linked arms with the big fella to go in search of a party.
He told me that the big fella seemed to be quite well known which surprised Dave ‘cos he said he was quite, well, windswept and interesting, was how Dave described him.
“Hey big Yin” said the guy who opened the door of the dingy tenement and ushered the party in, it was then that it dawned on our hero, although he wasn’t famous at all then, he was in the company of the Scottish lunatic called Billy Connelly!
“Honest Jack” he told me, “Even though he doesn’t drink now, he’s funny, but if you’d met him then babes, You’d have wet yourself”
Well a few years later I had the privilege of seeing Billy in a show at Derby where we lived and I have to say after only half an hour, my sides were splitting, he was hilarious!
Only a few weeks later I bought us two tickets to go and see an English singer called Elkie Brookes who I thought was brilliant, but Dave’s reaction astounded me.
It was only after he explained, that I realized the depths of feelings inside this very complex man.
After he’d been shot (see an earlier chapter) he was in a coma for almost three weeks and the first thing he heard when he came out of it, was Elkie singing an old Dusty Springfield song called “Going back”
Half way through the show, Elkie took the applause and asked if there was a Dave Barton in the audience,
The idiot turned to me and said,
“Hey Jack, there’s somebody else here with the same name as me”
Then he looked up and saw my hand above his head with my thumb pointing down to him, (A little subterfuge which I thought he might like!
She looked up at him and smiled,
“This is for you Dave” and she sang, “Going back”
I have to give him his due, that song must have brought all the memories back, the road block, the car not stopping, the ambush from behind, the bullets slamming into him, he sat there and cried throughout the whole of her song, she sang it beautifully, almost as if she knew it was special and after she’d bowed to the applause, she turned to my husband and asked,
“Did you like that Dave”
He nodded, unable to speak,
“Is it special?”
He nodded again,
He shook his head and put his hands over his eyes so the audience wouldn’t see him crying, I was devastated, I’d intended it as a tribute to my man, but the thought of the memories that song must have brought back to him, must have torn his guts out and all I could do that night when we went to bed, was to hold him and cry with him!
I can’t write any more!
-To be continued…-