This is my latest project – a poetry memoir of childhood and adolescence growing up in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire.
I have been looking out old photographs from the late 1940s /early 50s and I was forcibly struck by how “ Victorian” they look. Everyone seemed to wear a hat and suit, even on relaxed occasions. The pram in the photo looks ancient. I remember that my mum pushed me around in something called a Tansad – a cross between a pram and a pushchair, made by the Tansad company, hence the name, and widely in use at that time.
ON THE BEACH WITH MICHAEL.
The adverts for Cleethorpes boasted
five miles of glorious golden sand –
no mention of the biting East wind!
The Meggies*were always a hardy bunch –
a daily dose of mind-numbing fresh air
an absolute must for the health-conscious locals.
My mum and friends believed in bracing walks.
She would push me in the old Tansad**along the Kingsway –
fine when I didn’t have to share it with Michael!
Oh how I hated him, loud, impatient, whiny,
sharing the pram with a boy was humiliating.
The only recompense a choc-ice at the end,
bought from Mr Oliphant’s open-all-hours shop
crammed with buckets, spades and kiss-me-quick hats
exuding cheerful optimism on the sea-front
Familiarity breeds contempt, they say. How true!
It is only now, living as I do in a landlocked place,
that I find myself frequently craving the wildness of the seashore
*Meggies – folk originating from Cleethorpes. The origin of the term is disputed.
**Tansad – a type of pushchair with adjustable footboard in use
in the 1940s/50s. Tansad became a generic name for a baby buggy