In the Summer of 1992 I met Paul Joyce trough my brother, and joined forces on a camping trip to Coolderry. The guys had found this old Church of Ireland Church that was no longer used, and it was decided that this would be our shelter for the night. After we all met up we arrived at the Church in the evening with our supplies. I cant remember how we got there, but back then we cycled or "thumbed" everywhere. Thinking about it we "thumbed" all the time and never had any problems, this is something I would never let my kids do.
We set ourselves up in the Church for the night singing, "dancing", and "generally acting the goat".
While trying to cook sausages on sticks and boil water for tea I remember Paul chilling out munching on his endless supply of Pepsi & crisps. Every trip we ever went on I think that's all he ever packed, there was always a packet of discos on the go.
We made a hasty retreat from that Church the next morning when some angry local took exception to our presence.
That summer and many summers after we would be seen all over the place on our bikes, none of which deserved to be on the road they were in such a state. Paul with his little white & red BMX laden down with crisps and fizzy drinks wobbling all over the road much to the horror of local drivers on little country roads.
Glassderry woods at the back of Gloster convent was a favorite haunt of ours where we knew every track and path in there like the back of our hands, and usually navigated them in the pitch black of night.
We spent a lot of time together over the early 90s watching vhs tapes on a video player the size of a small suitcase, and we always likened ourselves to the guys from "Stand by me" the movie. Paul had a vast range of movies, and we practically lived in each others houses for that period of our lives. When we were not smoking, camping, slicing water containers with Paul's ninja sword we were immersed in Paul's collection of martial arts movies. The movie that most springs to mind is American Samurai, and re-enacting scenes from it on the streets of Cloughjordan, and then sleeping in hay sheds while we were supposed to be in each others houses.
I have far to many memories of Paul to ever recall, all of them good. I had planned on taking a time out this summer, and going home to catch up with people I have not seen in far too long, and Paul Joyce was top of my list.
We all for get our mortality and utter soundbites such as "time is precious" or "live every day like its your last", and its only at times like this that you really understand them.
Paul may have had no brothers or sisters, but in reality he had many.
Paul Joyce 1978-2011