The wall of one of the sheds beside Rocketts Bar in Westtown is not particularly special but it always draws my eye. It is south-facing and catches the sun, is never in shadow. It is painted a shade of cream but in some lights there is a tinge of pink to it.
The paint has chipped of in patches to reveal splotches of yellow, green and blue paint, colours and coast from other times. There is an echo maybe of warmer places by warmer seas… a nice thought on a November day.
It has been plastered but in some places the plaster is cracking and at one edge there is a chunk gone as if some passing wall-eating monster had taken a bite out of it. The bite has not been filled in merely painted over.
It is not a wall that is pretending to be a new wall or a perfect wall. It is just a wall with the marks of time etched into it’s surface standing, facing the sun full on.
There are shadows too…the purple shade of the telegraph pole delicately bruises the creamy surface and the hedges across the road throw jagged blue shapes that stain the grey road but never quite reach the glowing edifice of this shed on a hill above the wide blue bay of the town below.
Rocketts bar is closed now, has been for about a year and a half. It changed hands over the years and most recently came back into the ownership of one of the Rockett clan.
Back in the day it was famous for its bacon and cabbage and crubeens (pigs feet) and bottles of Guinness. One story, probably apochryphal but entertaining nonetheless has it that one night a local came in with an urgent message from Tom Mahers Bar in Waterford City insisting that Mr. Rockett go into town and see him. When Rockett arrived into Mahers, Tom Maher claimed to have no idea what he was talking about. Angry he returned to Westtown. On running into the messenger again some days later Rockett demanded to know what he had been playing at.
“Ah, ” he says, “..sure didn’t I want to be the first person to send a Rockett to Mahers…?”
I for one hope Rocketts of Westtown will be launched again.