A Break In The Poetry

After delivering a Holocaust Memorial Day poetry workshop at a Leicester primary school, I drive up into Evington where my next two workshops are, this time at a large secondary school.

I locate the school, now in a brand new Building Schools For the Future (BSF) building.

I drive around a bit to assess parking possibilities. Onsite or off? I decide ‘on’ and drive into the village to find lunch.

I’m in limbo time. Distilling the morning session and realigning my head ready to work, using the same materials but with older children.

I decide to go to the large pub, The Cedars, in the centre of the village. I was last here in Evington just over a month ago, a week before Christmas, the funeral of a friend. I didn’t visit the pub.

Today I’m the first customer.

The place feels blank, a couple of shifters moving filing cabinets from a van into the pub and out back or upstairs.

I order fizzy water, a packet of cheese and onion crisps. Choose a table, which is always more difficult when every table is available, sit with my back to the bar and look out through slatted blinds at the road.

Think about my Mum and Dad who are not very well. I give them a call on my iPhone that wants me to hook up to the pub’s corporate wi-fi. They’re okay.

The water is good and cold and when I drink it quickly gives me a satisfying pain behind my right eye. The crisps go down well too and I’m back aged five sat on a wooden crate in the beer garden of the Horseshoe Hotel on Bellhouse Road, Sheffield. A bottle of Ben Shaw’s orangeade and a straw.

Right, time to write. Put my coat on and leave for the school passing pensioners in for lunchtime specials.

this dull ache
under a bare tree

Paul Conneally
Leicester 2014

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