The Irish Side
Good evening Peter.
What are you doing?
Sitting … quietly … listening to the radio … nothing much important.
Well, I bring you tidings of great joy!
What did you say?
‘I bring you tidings of great joy’.
What are these ‘great tidings’?
I was talking to your half-brother Bryan today. I told him I’d been phoning you regularly. He asked how you were doing.
That’s nice. We see him on the telly from time to time.
I asked him about your father, and he said he’d written up some notes. He’s going to tidy them up and send them. I asked him about your dad’s involvement with the Orange Lodge.
Did he know anything?
Very much so. He said he remembered your father being strongly into all that. So I asked if he had any sashes, or medals, or memories of marches.
He thinks he has some stuff in a cupboard somewhere — some regalia.
That sort of thing may have survived. That would be very interesting.
Do you recall anything like that?
Most clearly — but I’m going back a way, maybe 90 years. Dad was very much into the Orange Lodge. And he wasn’t just an ordinary member, not an onlooker — no, he was a TOP MAN. In fact I remember, from when I was a schoolboy, I remember his hand-made certificate. It was hand-made. A big certificate, up on the wall, pride of place — Dad was The Chairman, or some such! There it was — plain as day — ‘Chairman of the Orange Lodge, Palmerston North’. Hand-made! Illustrated! Done by hand. Nowadays they’d do it on a computer, or with photos, or what-have-you, but in those days — back then — done by hand, real proper. It was really something.
And what’s more, he cherished it a bit. ‘CHAIRMAN’, it said. Big letters.
Of course, us boys, as young men, we never found it all that interesting. But, looking back, it was really something to behold.
I discovered that your father’s brother, Alfred (the one who went to the Boer War), was a ‘Lodge Man’, ‘Brother A.P. Leyland’ of the Lodge Ulster No 62 in Lower Hutt. So it was a bit of a family thing.
Interesting. They were really into it. Marches. Placards. Regalia. They believed in it. Very anti-Catholic it was. Somewhere up there in Northern Ireland, they were all at it, hammer and tongs, Got it from their mother, the ‘Irish Contradiction’ … and … and … excuse me …
Take it easy, Peter. I can hear you coughing. Relax. Perhaps I’ve got you too excited … take it easy. I think you’d better stop talking. Shall we end this call, or would you like me to read something to you?
Read. Read to me. That’s a good boy.
Okay. I searched for the word 'Ulster' in the Paperspast website. I found this in the Evening Post, 7th February 1930.