Wednesday, 6 July 2011

tales of the charabanc

(Group poem devised during 'charabanc' coach trip to the English seaside)

along the proms down to the sea
we’re the sitting-on-benches age
on the bench with a bottle of whisky
the big dipper’s
a bit rickety

tuppence to go to New Brighton
if you were posh
if you were skint
Formby cost nothing
nothing there
except squirrels
and beach
go to the island
time the tides or you’re stuck
see the seals
bouncing on the sands
30 years ago through the summer
camping Ullswater fishing
6 o’clock in the morning rat-arsed
the little gets
threw maggots in the sleeping bag
Fleetwood fishing
Pontins has been knocked down
Lime Street to Wiltshire a 6 hour run
come on gotta get back
you never told me you joined that OAP club
proper shiny bald grandad
'Could you wear a wig when you come to see me in school?'
the things children say
I don’t want to be in heaven
I don’t want to be a star
I don’t want

a wishing well throw some pennies
take them to the lakes
are we nearly there yet?
on the ferry cross the Mersey
Colwyn, a convalescent house
my dad had been on the Burma Railway in the war
prisoner, trauma
no one ever talked about it but he had his problems
went to Colwyn every so often
I remember picking up fir cones for him from the road
on the way there
are we nearly there yet?
another time in Liverpool
he’s wearing a trilby
the pigeons on his hat and shoulders
‘D’you want to feed the birds?’

don’t forget the driver
if a hearse passed, people would stop
raise a hat and wouldn’t move til it passed on
get dropped off
and have butties on the beach
meat paste and spam
spam fritters, bucket and spade
collect shells and come home filthy
it wasn’t a good day if you came home clean
grouchy hot and sweaty
bugger this go to the beach at Bourton
a beach and big marquees
wooden duckboards, bath in an enamel bowl
what would I want with a place like Lytham Hall?
cockling on the beach
soak em in saltwater and nan would cook em
in a great big pan
about ten of us
playing a cardgame called Shithead
she asked us very posh what’re you playing
don't forget the driver, sir
rough hands
you can have the gardener I’ll have the butler
hunting ground for an ancient British tribe
death or triumph
the penultimate squire

the drinks are getting more expensive
are we there yet?
Venus after her bath
Lady Violet was rather a large lady
to be seen by candlelight
a pint of Guinness
put on top of the coffin
at every pub
milking lambing and felling
live hard and play hard
(one thing you can say about em
they can drink themselves sober)
the naughty postcards
two men sitting on deckchairs:
‘Nice to be out in the air isn’t it?’
‘Yes I think I’ll get mine out as well.’
girls in one room
boys in another, top and tail
heads and feet
heads and feet.

Group poem
Chris, Joan, Donna, Les, Pat, Pauline, Nicky, Val

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