A Bruegellian world of busy little people working very hard and magical children repeating absolutely useless gestures: marvellous Maeve Binchy.
Eddie’s dressmaker mother is surrounded by patterns and perpetually draped in some nearly finished garment as she sews and listens to the radio. “Let’s just agree that he didn’t keep his part of the bargain, he didn’t look after his wife and son, he doesn’t deserve our interest.” It is said that his father left in a spectacularly noisy manner: “there was nearly as much noise as the night Ted Barton was thrown out” and “it will be another case of Ted Barton, with the suitcase flung down the case after him”.
For his tenth birthday Eddie gets a game of blo football “because his mother had heard from the Dunns in the shop that it was what every child wanted this year and she had paid it off over 5 weeks”. Eddie plays it on the floor of his bedroom because the table downstairs is needed for the sewing machine, even though he “secretly thought it was silly and tiring,and that there was too much spit trying to blow a paper ball through paper tubes, it got chewy and soggy.” Eddie wonders about his father.
“That night Eddie wrote a letter to his father. He told about the day and the pressed flowers…he told his father that there was a big wedding in the next town, and that his mother had been asked to do not only the bride’s dress but the two bridesmaids and the mother and the aunt of the bride as well….And that his mother said it came just in the nick of time because something needed to be done to the roof and there wasn’t enough money to pay for it. Then he read that last bit again and wondered would his father would think it was a complaint… He didn’t want to annoy him now that he had just found him. With a jolt Eddie realized that he hadn’t found his father. He was only making it up…. He crossed out the bit about the roof costing money and left in the good news about the wedding dresses… He thought that maybe his father might be in England. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if he met him by accident over there in a good job with prospects?…
Eddie writes his father often that year: about Bernard Shaw, who just died, and who his teacher told him was a great writer but had been a bit against the church, and asks him why someone would be against the church.
His father didn’t answer of course because the letters were never sent. There was no where to send them to.