"I was born in Portlaw, a small backwater four-street village in County Waterford, Ireland. My earliest memories as a child was the house where I was born in William Street along with the cool waters of the river that ran through the pastures of nearby Curraghmore.
It was in the cool waters of this river, not far from where this photograh was taken that I tasted my first experience of 'skinny dipping.' It may be frowned on in the polite parlours of England today, but back in 1957 when I was almost fifteen years old, children who couldn't sing were never discouraged from singing and even fat kids were allowed to 'skinny dip.'
My partner for that sunny afternoon was a girl called Briney Walsh who lived next door to my grandparent's home where I was born. Briney was 18 years old and being three and a half years older than me at the time, she had more than I possessed to show off to any Curraghmore bird spotters lurking nearby! This was the very first time I fell in love and every time I went back to holiday in Portlaw during the years ahead, the first person whose whereabouts I asked about was Briney.
I never did have the pleasure of seeing Briney again, although my grandmother always kept me updated in her letters to my mother in England when Briney got married, had her first three children and then sailed to England after running away from her husband with a fish monger from Skibbereen, West Cork.
Forever an old romantic and sentimentalist, I replayed the images up Curraghmore many times over in my mind during the years ahead. I wanted to believe that the 'first one' is never forgotten in the memory of a good woman as I knew there is an arrogance in the pride of the young lion that inwardly reaffirms the boast that 'the first is first and the second is nobody.' I must also admit that there was a wicked part of me that relished the notion that I'd caught my fish first and had returned it to the cool Irish waters for future capture three years before the Skibbereen marriage breaker ever came on the scene. Ah....the joys of spring up Curaghmore are not to be missed by the warm of heart in the Vale of dear Portlaw!
Now, that is a wholly true tale from Portlaw that I present today from my past, but all my made-up 'Tales from Portlaw' (for adult reading only), can be freely read on my website by accessing the link below." William Forde: May 6th, 2014. http://www.fordefables.co.uk/tales-from-portlaw.html