Although it was an August day, the blotchy clouds were in a headlong rush,
As we waited at the road side stop, for the old, brown, Bedford bus,
It had been lent out to our Chapel, as a special treat to us for happy day away,
A reward to all we youngsters, for our attendances at Sunday school on every Sabbath day.
We were going to the sea side, which we knew was miles and miles away,
And thought when there of donkey rides, of kites to fly, and crazy golf to play,
There’d be arcade penny slots, and bagatelles with noisy gongs and flashing lights,
And a red striped kiosk on the beach, for staging Punch and Judy’s grisly fights.
I had my grey woolly trunks, a towel, and Mum’s florin in my hand,
A new red bucket, fishing net, and spade for digging moats and castles in the sand,
I also had some orange squash and two pilchard fish paste sandwiches to eat,
And then came thoughts of ice cream, candy floss and anise flavoured sweets.
The bus was several minutes late to arrive at our agreed place of meet,
Then we, in a noisy ordered line went in, and sat upon the hard bench seats,
Each covered in worn green moquette, with horse hair poking through the seams,
And as the bus moved off a drizzle rain began, unlike the day we had imagined in our dreams.
With ever faster revs and fumes of black exhaust, the bus just topped the hill for our first sight,
Where chorusing, “I can see the sea”, we pressed our noses to the wetted glass in glad delight,
But when we reached the shore the tide was out, and sea weed lay strewn upon the sand and shale,
And the sea wall railings was a seat for noisy gulls to screech, and peck their orange beaks into the gale.
There were no deck chairs on the beach, and the striped kiosk was safely stored away,
And because of the bad weather, a notice chalked on the wall informed, “No donkey rides today”,
The arcade was still open, so played at the ‘slots’ until my florin was all blown,
Then finished off my sandwiches and orange squash, and wished I was at home.
B. John Burr