Thomas Dixie Elliot writing after returning from the funeral of an old friend on Sunday.
I met Seamus away back in 1974 in Maydown Training Centrer, where we learned how to dip a brush in a tin of paint without leaving a mess. We hit it off straight away, likely because we were two headcases.
My abiding memory of Seamus, a story I've told many times over the years, is one about the training centre bus. Every night, without fail, the Brits would stop the bus at the check point on the lower-deck of Craigavon Bridge, on the Duke Street side. We'd all be ordered out and told to line up along the bus to be searched.
This particular night we were sitting in the back seat when, as usual, a Brit got on the bus and ordered everyone off. Everyone rose up and started moving down the bus, except Seamus who produced a bottle of white spirits and a rag from his bag. I hadn't a fucking clue what was going on as he hadn't bothered to mention anything to me. That was Seamus, a spur of the moment man.
He proceeded to pour the white spirits over the back seats then lit the rag and flung it on the seats. Needless to say it erupted in wall of flames and there we were, last in the queue to get off the bus. Everyone in front of us quickly turned to blind panic when they realised they were on a burning bus and the Brits at the door were brushed aside as everyone poured out onto the bridge.
The Brits started demanding as to what was going on but quickly realised that the bus was on fire. The looks on their faces was a sight to behold. The bus ended up as twisted metal melted all over the road.
Codladh go maith sean chara. Ní fheicfimid a leithéid arís ...
Thomas Dixie Elliot is a Derry artist and a former H Block Blanketman.
Follow Dixie Elliot on Twitter @IsMise_Dixie