The Bank Inspector Visits Maghera


It is not every day – a long way from Maghera – that you hear a tale of your home town.

Aside from myself, the captain was the only other Irishman aboard the ship. He was liked by everyone, not just for his easy-going manner, but for his humour.

Captain Frankie B. was from Dublin, and recognizing my accent, soon discovered I was from Maghera. I remember him saying, with a twinkle in his eye, “Maghera did you say you’re from? Let me tell you a story about your town..“.

Frankie had once been Captain of a passenger liner. At the Captain’s table one evening sat a retired bank inspector from Belfast. Over dinner the bank inspector told of a memorable visit he’d once made to the Maghera branch; so this was the tale Frankie told me…

Returning to Belfast, the inspector had to change buses in Maghera, and had half an hour to wait. With time on his hands, he decided to pay the local branch a surprise visit. He ‘dandered along the street and into the bank.

There were no customers. Then again, this was a country branch, probably Maghera Fair Day was the one day in the month when there was much happening.  However, aside from no customers, there was no teller behind the counter. “Highly irregular” he thought to himself, as he opened the manager’s door, to reveal no sign of the manager either.

No customers, no teller, and now no Manager. Out of the corner of his eye, through the back window in the manager’s office he could see the garden, and an astonishing sight. Sprawled on deck chairs and  sunning themselves were the manager and the teller!

“Belfast Head Office will hear of this” he said to himself. Then he had a better idea, he’d put the wind up this pair of country bumpkins.

Reaching across the counter to the teller’s side, he found the alarm button, and give it two good long presses. Riiiiiiiiing, Riiiiiiiiing, went the big bell on the wall out on Main Street. He stood back from the door, expecting the constabulary from the barracks down Hall Street to burst through the door at any moment…

… two, three minutes passed…. then the door swung open.
In marched the barman from the hotel across the street, past him, and out to the garden – carrying aloft a tray with two creamy pints of Guinness.

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