Lionel Gouldsbury lived in the house pictured below, in Clonbrock, which means “meadow of the badger”. How appropriate the name is. Lionel was a trapper, hunter, shooter and fisherman, and he was good at all of these pursuits. With no hint of exaggeration, he probably trapped more wild mink, shot more birds and caught more fish than anyone, anywhere, ever. His other passion – he was a collector.

Before recycling became fashionable, he recycled and reused everything. One man’s rejects are another man’s treasures, or at least they were to Lionel. With a particularly affinity for anything to do with boating, his garage was a shrine of flotsam and jetsam.

With a particularly affinity for anything to do with boating, his garage was a shrine of flotsam and jetsam. \ Claire Nash

He was a great character. His circle of friends loved to feed him stories laced with embellishments (lies), which he would retell with relish with his own additions. To this day, I’m not sure who was fooling who. He loved pranks – some are repeatable and some are not – but all are very entertaining.

These same “friends” would forever talk to Lionel about a women called Mrs McCann. The issue was that Mrs McCann didn’t actually exist. What they made up about her and her family’s exploits ranged from the exotic to the extreme. Lionel loved these chats about her.

One time, the friends told Lionel that a mutual friend had put in new windows for Mrs McCann, but that she was not going to pay for them. “Why is that?” Lionel asked. “Because the eejit made a mistake and put clear glass in the bathroom window and the neighbours all saw a lot more of Mrs McCann than anyone should see when she first used the new bathroom.” Lionel fell for it. About three years later, our mutual friend the glazier, was in Clonbrock when he met Lionel, who asked: “What brings you here?” “I’m here to measure this house for new windows,” he replied. “Well, I hope you do a better job on them than you did for Mrs McCann.”

Last story – Lionel was getting his 35x serviced (a rare treat). PJ, the mechanic, said: “Geez Lionel, there’s not a tint of oil on this dipstick.” Quick as a flash he replied: “Maybe you should get a longer dipstick”. These characters are getting scarce.

Lionel left us recently and all we can hope for is that the admission clerk was not an animal lover. At his funeral, the reverend, who would have tried much harder than Lionel to establish the relationship between the two of them, looked down on the congregation and said with more than a hint of a smile on his face...

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wild and wonderful,

Lionel shot them all.

One of the best openings to a eulogy I have witnessed.

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