When my husband announced the other day that he was going to have a sort out my heart sank. My husband has a habit of not looking properly at what he is chucking out and I always end up going through the recycling bin and saving bits of paperwork. This time however things have been slightly different. Amongst the paper debris he found this poem I had written many years ago. I cringed when he handed it me. I had forgotten I used to write poetry but as I read it I started to laugh as I recalled the disastrous date that inspired this rhyme.
To give you some background, my husband (then boyfriend) had decided to take me on a ‘romantic’ date to the Black Country. The Black Country is a part of the Midlands that is named after the black soot that came from the industries that covered the area during the 1800′s. It is also famous for its ale and meaty pies and many Black Country Tours have sprung up that will take you around the area’s pubs before ending up in a local pie factory, notably Mad O’Rourkes. These pub crawls became very fashionable in the 1980s and 90s and it was during that time that my boyfriend decided to treat me to a barge cruise through the Black Country. Unfortunately, as you will read, it wasn’t as romantic as he had hoped.
July the 4th is the time
When I make up a silly rhyme
To celebrate my first date
To my boyfriend John, a suitable mate!
There’ve been times of fun and distress
And times when we’ve been in a terrible mess
But through it all we have come
To value each other as a chum!
Our ventures have been amazing too
From rambling through mud to holidaying in Looe
But there is one event we both remember
For it occurred one wintry December
A party on a barge it was supposed to be
To eat, drink, dance and be merry
Alas the barge was very poor
With broken lights and a tatty dance floor!
We sat at our table in total gloom
As people whirled around the room
We looked at each other and whispered a thought
A plan to escape is what we sought
Suddenly a shout came from above
“A pub ahead, lets stop guv”
The barge slowed down by the bank
We peered through the window and our hearts sank
From what we could see there was no pub
Just a steep bank of yukky mud
When we asked where we were going
We were told “to the pub where the beer is flowing”
The barge moored, we disembarked
Onto the bank where it was cold and dark
Scrambling through mud and over a fence
I laddered my tights and grazed my legs
We found the pub with some delight
But on entrance, oh what a sight
The only loo door hung ajar
Whilst cross legged people queued by the bar
In desperation we found a phone
And looked for a means of getting back home
No busses were running, nor trains either
So a taxi it would be for a fiver
The cab turned up, we jumped in
Glad to escape the terrible din
Once settled in the leathery seats
We rapidly fell into an exhausted sleep
Our special date was to be a treat
But rapidly proved to be an arduous feat
They say odd dates you always remember
This was certainly true of our date in December
This poem now comes to a happy ending
For it is good wishes and love that I’m sending
To my boyfriend John who will grin and bear
Another silly rhyme that I’m sending this year!
PS: though I initially cringed at finding my old poem, reading it brought back some happy memories. It felt good to remember our date and to laugh about it together. It was also good to remember what I was like before becoming a mother; I just can’t believe I had the time to write a silly rhyme. Perhaps I should take it up again!