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  • By Terry Trainor
    Jan 26, 2012
    Cassiobury Park Six years of age, year two of primary school, we are off on a school outing, The outing was to Cassiobury Park, near Watford, with a huge paddling pool, The cost was sixpence, a tanner, the unmovable rule, no sixpence no outing, Rich kids in our class paid the next day, we paid one penny a week, hard times. Three pence into my outing, we were told we had to bring a packed lunch, That was a real blow, my sandwiches always had meat in them, a sort of beef, Nobody would ever swap, as they were full of chewy gristle, dry as a bone, Biting, on my sandwich, hard meat came out in one go,and hung out of my mouth. Meat hanging down your chin, two slices of empty bread in your hand, hard to swap, Anyway my outing card had six crosses on it, I was going to go on an outing, Each day seem long, but I was happy, something to look foreward to, a day out, My father would come home drunk, nearly every night and told me I could not go. After a wait the outing day finaly arrived, we... More > stood outside school for the coach, Loud noises and a heady smell of diesel, the coach pulled up against the pavement, We had to wait in line, two by two as we got on, alocated to seats, no moving about, The fat driver turned to us and shouted a load of rules, we sat there listening hard. The coach was an old one, as it pulled away, plumes of black smoke followed us along, Poeple stopped in their tracks as this ancient beast made its way through the estate, Soon we were on a larger road on the way to Watford, the screaming engine died down, We all looked out of the window pointing out anything unusual as we thundered along. After a while we reached the park we got off the coach and ran about like excited rats, A teacher shouted and clapped her hands, loudly to tell us to come back and be counted, Soon it was estalished we were all present and correct and off we went into the park, I could smell water, fresh water with chlorine being filled up as we walked on grass. It was time to sit down and eat our packed lunches, I chewed my sandwiches for some time, Spitting large pieces of gristle into my hand, when the coast was clear, I threw them. Some of us had to be taken to a water fountain as we had no drinks with us, Warm water, Back to the picnic area to clear up our mess,put it in bins, it did not take very long. We stripped down to our underware for a paddle. If you could only see some of the pants, Some of the pants had ben tucked in and sown up as they were a hand me down from a father, Others had large skid marks in them, big baggy leg bits, with splits in them, years old, Looking at the teachers faces they were surprised that kids had to wear rags, these days. As we all splashed and paddled, kids ran wild with one hand holding up baggy underpants, The other hand was used to scoop water onto the others in the pool, soon we had to get out, All of us standing by the edge of the pool, some could pull there pants up to their shoulders, Shivering as we waited to be told what to do next. finaly we dressed and got on the coach. We were all queiter on the way back as we were tired and hungry, looking foreward to tea, I had a mouthful of orange from a rich kid, warmed by the heat of the sun in a plastic bottle, The nicest drink I have ever had, the smell of orange, plastic, rubber will always be with me, I will never forget my outing, I still cast my mind back to those days with a lump in my throat, The kids that were there are scattered across the for corners of the earth, some have passed on, I often wander if the day that will haunt me forever is the same with the others on the day out? I can see the children in the pool, their faces, creased with happy laughter and unrivaled joy, One small event, means so much, it was my day of days, it was my past, it was how it should be. Siren The noise of windy drills deafening, in the the hanger, turned factory, Clocking in at three minutes to eight, why the extra three minutes, Making my way to my work bench, heads bowed, depression deeply embedded, The foreman checks his watch as I take off my coat, and don my overalls. Machine punches, feet away from where I work, a crash of thunder every minute, A pile of jobs left by my bench, all bad jobs, must have upset the foreman, Do the easier jobs first, gets me started, nine hours in this place,true hell, At the weekend you dread work on Monday, on your Saturday night, down the pub. A siren screams out, like the start of 'Rhapsody in Blue' the tea trolley arrives, Ten minutes dead for a tea break, tea scolding mouths as men try to be on time, We had the tea break down to a fine art, tea, two cheese rolls, a game of crib, As the Gershwin siren went again, we were back at out benches, bang on ten minutes. Over the other side of my gangway, men were on piece work, counting their tasks, It was like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, by Sillitoe, down to the last hate, Lunch time the break was for forty minutes, so we played football in the car park, No rules, the nastiest bloke always wins, we spit in his tea when he is not looking. The afternoon shift was the worst, boredom reached its peak and tiredness moves in, Covered all over with dust and dirt, from the grinding tools in the windy drills, If you could reach your targets early it was off to the wash room, reading the papers, The foreman would regularly march up and down the toilets, listening for a page turning. At the end of the day the siren would blare out again, but this was good, home time, Hundreds of men jostled to get the clocking machine to punch out, happy for a while, Factory workers spilled out onto the street and road, all talking about anything bar work, Going home to their houses that are terraced, thin walled, then up the allotment for peace.< Less
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Product Details

January 26, 2012
Hardcover (dust-jacket)
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.96 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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