Take a look at this photograph and spot the odd one out. Got it yet? Yes, it’s me, furthest on the left. And the reason why? Four of these men are, or were, fighters. Whereas I’m a muffin-making, tunic-ironing, toddler-wiping pussycat.
Three of these men are my brothers; the other is my dad. We come from a fighting family. My grandfather was a heavyweight boxing champion. My dad – in his day – was a card-carrying member of the Street Brawling Society. Me and my brothers were all taught to box (though I gave up very quickly as I found being punched in the face rather unpleasant). And at various times in their lives, my brothers have all got into scrapes that would make Tony Soprano think twice.
None of this violence was initiated by them, I hasten to add. It was either provoked or meted out to right a wrong. The last incident I recall was in the pub where we held my mother’s wake in January. A drinker started threatening an old school friend of mine. I politely asked him to leave, then he started threatening me. Then my dad politely asked him to leave, so he, too, was threatened. But my Number 2 brother doesn’t deal in words, just action. He didn’t politely ask this abusive piss-pot who had tarnished my mother’s final send-off with his behaviour to leave. He headbutted him in the face, breaking his nose, then dragged him outside and held him by the throat until an ambulance arrived.
I’m telling you this because I was reminded of it after something that happened on Saturday. Continue reading