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'Celebrations'
November 2012


 01 December 2012


Breath of the Holy Spirit - Celebrating Pentecost

Each breath of wind is an angel’s kiss
Stillness an angel’s sigh
Fly forever free, oh wind
Spread the kisses of angel’s
Lift the stillness, release their sighs
For the Holy Spirit is here.

Each breath of wind fall on tongues
To share and to prophecy
Speak forever free, oh tongues
Speak the word of the Lord
Lift the apathy, release their doubt
For the Holy Spirit is here.

Each breath of wind carries dust
Sprinkled by angels’ hands
Fall forever free, oh dust
Spread the kisses of angel’s
Upon heads bowed in prayer
For the Holy Spirit is here.

Jan Hedger
GROW




Celebrating a Mi Hermano Poeta Louis Reyes Riivera

A bembé encircles
the date that we met
at the voices from the belly
Spring of 1980
at la Galería Morivivi
at 1671 Lexington Avenue
hosted by Roberto Ortiz Meléndez
as he wrote your name on the wall
as the ebony voice of Ismael Rivera
alegría bomba e
your words which became a living history poem
like the winds of the wisdom
in the tradition of Arturo Schomburg
from a humble seed
as a tenant straight up from the Marcy Projects
listening and talking con la mayor de edad
the airs echo the night chants of a doo wop song
which became a living life poem
as you emerge as a professor
and taught the history of the people
for family for friends for strangers and enemies
a war dance which is an alive strong love poem
I remember that deep thought at a distant point
at West Quinnipiac at that Saturday morning
in which Ted Wilson called of your transition
into the ancestors
I remember your words and our words
with your friendship with The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective
and at Sista’s Place your honor and our honor
as a people’s poet, your words must be sung in celebration
we got to celebrate right now
Presente mi hermano Louis Reyes Rivera

©3/4/12 Carlos Raúl Dufflar
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective




Celebrations

Christmas is everywhere
The snow
White, fluffy
Like santa on his sleigh
The smell of turkey roasting in a warm oven
The fir tree with light bulbs
Tinsel, pretty
Carols
'Tis the season to be jolly
In a shop, on TV
Christmas is everywhere

Yoro
GROW




my hair is natural
(inspired by some works of victor ekpuk)

i am celebrating natural hair/life
my gift from God
as is—
my crown
to do with as i will

black hair is always yearning
to be free
straighten it
and the rain introduces
new birth

i like my quirky curls

i like seein sistahs in
twists braids locks
those little pom poms
on their heads

this is our legacy
our ancestors brought these genes
over the middle passage
they have survived
through the beauty
in those genes
survived the imposition
of master’s wives
demanding it to be covered
to enforce their aesthetic

i choose to celebrate

black hair is striving
to be free
because
its ancestors could not
neither
can its owners

i wear mine short
to the point
like an exclamation
mark
i am!
black woman strong
trying to express
the depth
of my existence

i am celebrating
my natural
hair.

Jacquese Armstrong
Writer's Block



'My Fed 2012 Experience'

I had a pretty good time at the festival this year! It was nice to see many familiar faces again if a little frustrating that during the day there wasn't much time to just 'sit around and chat' with people. Still, with any one day event this is always going to be difficult.

My group and I arrived late due to roadworks and a seemingly endless diversion so as soon as my bags hit the sofa in the student lounge I was off towards the first morning workshop. I attended John Malcolmson's 'Flash Fiction' workshop and found it very interesting and quite a challenge. The new one and a half hour time slot did not help things much on this occasion however and John did not really get enough time but everyone who attended wrote something and gave feedback at one point or another so the workshop was a success never the less.

After a coffee break I attended the 'Book Stalls' session. Hosted by Andrew from Goodmayes Writers (and Roger) the time was used to allow members of the FED a chance to introduce their latest works and or publications to everyone. Various people read passages from books they had for sale and I got to introduce 3 CD's of my own which would never have come into being without the positive effect previous FEDfests have had upon me.

Lunch was as delicious as ever I had two cups full of Lucia's fantastic soup. Later, the was also a selection of wonderful cakes and sponges that were enjoyed by all as well...

Having had a long journey and a somewhat rushed morning session I chose not to attend the AGM this year. Instead I went to room 303 and prepared for my afternoon Workshop - 'The Soundtrack To Your Life'. The workshop itself did not go quite as well as I had hoped (I still have a lot to learn about how to put a workshop together) and I was a bit disappointed that only 5 people attended. Everybody wrote plenty though during the workshop and so I'm sure most enjoyed it even if I did end up 'winging it' a little in places!

After more coffee Roger took to the floor in the students lounge and conducted the Plenary session. Its always good to get some feedback from the floor and hear first hand what people have gained from attending the workshops. I do think now (with sadly dwindling numbers attending) that six workshops each slot is too many (four would be better) though. A lot of work goes into preparing a workshop and if on the day workshop leaders only get a few attendees it is likely to put them off running a workshop at future festivals. Perhaps members could be asked to indicate their preferences in advance of the actual day as in a restaurant menu at a works Christmas do? This way, any proposed workshop that does not attract much interest can be scratched and the final timetable for the day then finalised and sent out to members? I felt really sorry this year for one lady whose workshop failed to attract a single person. Surely things could be done to avoid this situation happening again?

Lastly, I got to compare the 'Celebratory Reading' session this year. This was great fun for me and a hark back to my old DJ'ing days! Everybody who wanted to read got their turn and the session was good natured and light hearted. During the hour and a half we heard a bit of everything really. Interesting, whimsical, 'Naughty' (Bruce and Agnes, really! HA HA), poetic, heart wrenching etc, etc and I got to finish this years festival off by singing a song of mine fittingly entitled 'Genius'.

A big THANK YOU to all who made my day so special and to those who bought copies of my CD's especially Matt from Stevenage Survivors who has been a long-term supporter of me and my work.

I hope we can do it all again next year...

Tony May
G.R.O.W (and Shorelink Community Writers)




Remembrance Sunday

A cold sharp Bradford day, but we shed the duvet and grab the bus for town. 'The Last Post' has sounded, the crowd have marched away, leaving behind poppy wreaths at the War Memorial. A small group are there with some musicians and a small p.a system . A lass, forgoing dark clothing for a purple tie dye shift places a wreath of white poppies. Dying probably doesn't enter her head, or ours as we sing Peace songs . Above the Memorial is an extravagant stretch of sky, almost clear, just the one vapour trail dissecting the blue. And 'If I had a song, I would singing it'- of this morning.

Bruce Barnes
Friend of Fed




HARRY’S END OF TERM CHRISTMAS BONANZA

PART 1: THE SCHOOL CHRISTMAS DINNER

Both doors to the school corridor burst open, their partitioned glass rattling as they collided against the white washed walls with a loud ‘bang.’

“Okey dokey!” shouted little nine-year-old Harry Craddock, at the top of his voice, as he skidded along the freshly polished parquet flooring, before losing his balance and falling flat on his face against the hardened symmetrically patterned surface.

Still stunned and shocked by the fall, Harry slowly looked up, coming face to face with three pairs of platform shoes, with adjoining flared jeans.

As his eyes followed further upwards, Harry gulped and his face froze in terror, for he became confronted by three figures, each with a blue snorkel shaped head, the darkened areas, within the circular strips of furry hair, looking down at him.

Who were these mysterious figures?

Were they alien beings from outer space coming to take over the earth?

Or, were they another part of Harry’s bizarre dreams?

No! They were none other than Harry’s friends donning their parkas.

One of them, to the right, helped Harry up off the floor.

“Thanks Matthew!” said Harry, as he brushed off the dust from the front of his green parka, and favourite pink flared jeans (with a blue embroidered seahorse on each leg), before shaking his blonde hair until it fell tidily into place.

“No, I’m Matthew,” said the figure, to the left, as he removed his hood to reveal a mass of fuzzy ginger hair, which bounced out like a Jack leaving its box.

“All right!” said Harry. “Stop jesting. You must be Earnest.”

“Spot on!” he said, as he removed his hood to reveal a brown haired head with rounded
spectacles.

“You must be John then,” said Harry, pointing to the largest of the three, who pulled down the snorkelled top from his head to reveal a large head with long curly hair.

“How could you tell?” asked a confused yet surprised John.

“Well, look at the size of you man,” teased Harry, laughing in the process. “Can’t miss you. You look like a barrage balloon with that parka on.”

Harry felt the left arm of his parka being pulled.

“Girl told me to give you this,” said a small boy, who handed him a pink envelope.

He snatched the item from the boy, before rapidly opening it and removing its content to read it.

“A flaming Christmas card from Veronica Dribbleswaite,” said a stroppy yet embarrassed Harry, who was trying to shake off the slobbered envelope from his fingers, throwing the card onto the floor in the process.

“Ah! Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips,” mocked John.

“Shut up!” shouted Harry.

“More like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton,” teased Matthew, as he started to imitate a playing violin, accompanied by the humming of a romantic tune, which drowned
out the chatter of the now lengthy queue.

“Watch out!” snapped Harry, as a girl’s nose pushed against the back of his parka, an action, which he himself repeated to the person in front.

For this very domino effect had escalated into what seemed like a never-ending chain reaction leading in the direction of the bolted doors of the dinner hall.

Suddenly, the bolts slowly rattled, echoing through the now silent corridor, a silence, which was short-lived as the doors flung open. Hoards of screaming excited children were thrown forward, like moving puppets, whose strings had been cut, unable to stop yet trying to maintain their balance.

The unfortunate dinner lady, who had had the task of breaking down the barrier between the crowded noisy queue of the corridor and the silent emptiness of the decorated dinner hall, slowly staggered to her feet, straightening her hair net. She placed both hands on her hips and breathed down her nose stroppily, shaking her head slowly as swarms of children, oblivious to the smell of sprouts mingling with the stench of stale floor polish, fought to sit at tables next to their friends, amidst the scraping of chairs.

Veronica Dribbleswaite, who had just straightened her pink checked ruffled sleeved dress, stopped a girl, who had just managed to secure a seat at one of the long rows
of tables.

“You can’t sit here,” she said at the top of her voice, whilst tightening one of her pink
ribbons. “I’m saving this place specially for Harry.”

Bouts of laughter belted out across the dinner hall, as Harry turned round embarrassed.

“Over here, Harry!” shouted John, who had secured an empty seat on the other side of the hall.

Harry rushed over to where his friends were sat, warily looking over his shoulder in the direction of Veronica, whose tear ducts appeared to be on the verge of breaking point.

Sitting down with a sigh of relief, Harry looked down at the neatly positioned cutlery. He picked up the fork, staring at the item closely, before rubbing the stainless steel handle between his finger and thumb. Harry suddenly jumped up, pushing his chair backwards.

“Uri Gellar!” he shouted out excitingly, whilst holding up the fork.

“Bend, bend, bend, bend,” chanted a young boy at the other end of the hall, breaking the
silence, caused by Harry’s actions.

“Bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, bend,” shouted the rest of the children, who had followed suit, stamping their feet up and down, the vibrations causing the banner, ‘Merry Christmas 1973’, to sway to and fro, and the painted north eastern Darlsbrough town coat of arms mural to slide onto the floor. “Bend, bend, bend, bend.”

“Silence!” shouted out a balding, thickset middle-aged man, donning a black gown, who had just stormed onto the stage. “Stop this racket at once!”

The headmaster’s piercing eyes scoured across the now deafening silence of the hall.

“Right! If I find out who is responsible for that broken window, not only will they pay for it
once, but twice just in case they decide to break it again.”

A bunch of children, sat at the middle row of tables, looked down and away, guiltily, in the opposite direction.

“On a more positive note,” the headmaster continued, “I’d like to thank all of those, whose parents contributed food parcels to the party.”

“Mr. Thompson should be in ‘The Guinness Book of Records’ for having the widest hair parting,” said Matthew, causing brief chuckles of laughter around the table.

“There will be an extended break after the Christmas dinner,” announced Mr. Thompson. “You will then go back to your classrooms for the giving out of reports, before returning back here for the party.”

Mr. Thompson marched across the stage, and down the wooden side steps, before approaching a grey haired man, donning black thick framed spectacles, and a buff
coloured overall.

“Ready when you are, Mr. Lawson,” ordered Mr. Thompson, as he left the hall.

Mr. Lawson slowly ascended onto the stage, staggering towards a record player, which was neatly placed on a small table, situated near to where Harry was seated.

Harry began to feel quite nauseous, as the odour of polish and lemon scented toilet blocks, from Mr. Lawson’s overall, began to waft up into his nostrils, making his eyes water.

Lifting up the Bakelite lid, Mr. Lawson switched the record player on, before picking up a “45 sleeve and pulling out a black vinyl disc. He blew off the dust, twitching his nose and blowing the fluff off the grey bushy moustache through his nostrils, coughing and wheezing in the process.

“By the sounds of it,” whispered a chuckling Harry. “He’s dusted that record off for the
last time.”

Placing the disc onto the turn-table, and carefully positioning the needle at the very edge, the record began to play, letting out irritating crackles, before breaking into the opening lyrics to ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ which strained out of the dust-ridden speakers.

In a dull Cockney accent, Mr. Lawson began to repeat the lyrical tale, almost word for word, drowning out the original.

“He should be in breach of copyright,” shouted a voice across the hall.*

“Get on with it,” exclaimed another child.

“Yes, that’s right,” said Mr. Lawson. “You’ll have wonderful things to eat, and wonderful
games to play.”

As the last lyric, still drowned out by the accompaniment of Mr. Lawson’s parroting empty vesselled voice, was nearing to an end, the hall doors swung open. An array of
teachers entered, in single file, donning brown paper bags, with slits made for eye and mouth holes; the tops, on each side, tweaked to resemble ears.

“Wow!” sighed the younger children in amazement, with opened mouths and widened eyes.

“You’re not teddy bears. You’re teachers with stupid paper bags on your heads,” shouted Harry, soon feeling irritated because no one was listening to him, for they were too wrapped up in all the excitement.

Like mechanized toys, the teachers walked over to the serving hatch to pick up trays with plates of neatly displayed hot steaming turkey and trimmings, roast potatoes, carrots and sprouts. They proceeded to walk over to the tables, placing the meals in front of the anxiously waiting children, who then tucked into its festive contents, amidst the smacking of lips and the screeching of cutlery on china.

Suddenly, ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ blasted out, so loud this time that the surrounding
speakers let off a high pitched sound, which made Harry nearly jump out of his skin, and put his teeth on edge.

“I’ve just about had enough of this,” he said angrily.

Looking around the hall to ensure that no members of staff were watching, Harry took a catapult out of his back pocket. He thumbled about in his front pockets, finally locating a fifty pence piece, which he fired at the record player. The coin rebounded off the stylus, scratching the record, before flying off one of the speakers in the direction of the fire alarm glass and shattering it, causing a deafening ringing. The coin continued skimming through the air until it landed in Harry’s hand.

“Okey dokey!” he cried out.

“Right! Everyone assemble in the yard!” ordered a teacher, as children slammed down their cutlery and threw back their chairs, in angered frustration.

***

“Everyone queue up, single file, in your allocated classroom,” ordered Mr. Thompson, as
streams of children were leaving the building, the last person being Mr. Lawson, who was trying to keep pace, coughing and wheezing.

“You mischievous little ilks,” he shouted, lifting up the record and waving it about angrily. “For years, I’ve been playing this. Now look at it. Ruined!”

“It’s all right! Mr. Lawson,” said Mr. Thompson. “I can ensure you that the culprit will be found and punished.”

“It was Gerald Albright,” said a female voice.

Recognising this voice, Harry turned round to see Veronica Dribbleswaite smiling at him. She winked.

“Thanks!” muttered Harry, who was relieved that he didn’t get found out.

But this momentary relief was cut short when Harry realised that Gerald, who looked across at him with wild piercing eyes, was the school bully.

“I’ll have you Craddock!” Gerald threatened, pulling down his striped t-shirt over a pair of
grey shorts, before wiping his hand across his flat like nose and scratching the left cauliflower ear.

And in the words stressed in many climaxes of American action and science fiction programmes of the early 1970s, ‘To Be Continued’.

Mark Crittenden
GROW




"Friendship"

I rather be you
than me.
I feel cornered
like a rat,
when you are asking
me questions like
what makes me ticking,
and when I am going
to brake down,
when you are bumming
a free cigarette
from me.
Have a one, two,
have five
to celebrate
the end of friendship
which exploded
like fireworks.

I rather be you
than me:
free computer
and paper,
free lunches.
Boom,
there goes
one friendship.
Inside, deep inside
- ouch - it hurts.
You said
you changed.
I guess you did.
Next time,
when I'll meet
your cat
I shall bring
him a present:
a box from Altoids
full of
very hungry flies.

Marie Neumann
POW!




She's Three

On her third birthday
They went to Kids’ Corner
Where she had her party
With food for the kids
And a tab in the café
So that the adults
Could have tea and coffee.
One guy was greedy;
Had burger and chips.
Still, it can’t be helped,
Some people are pigs.
Just after noon,
While she was happily
Eating fish fingers,
They brought in a cake
Alight with three candles.
She blew them out
And they sang “Happy Birthday.”
She didn’t like it
And cried for her dummy,
So they plugged it in
With a kiss from her Mummy.
The kids all got party bags
Packed full of sweets.
Each got a balloon
And then they went home.
When she got indoors
She opened her cards
And unwrapped her presents
All over the floor
And she’ll get some more
Next year, when she’s four.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




November 2012 Day (He still loves us)

A sunny day in November
When thoughts are wondering on
Of gifts and cards for Christmas time
You wonder where the year has gone.

With money tight and dear ones near
What can we get that’s good
To help them at this time of year
For we know we should and could.

A kindly word or card does help
To be remembered well
A phone call also shows you care
More than gifts can tell.

It’s nice to know God loves us too
More than words and thoughts will show
Who gave his best gift – His son
More than gifts that we can know.

Jesus can satisfy the heart
Gladness and peace he does impart
Each passing day, all through life’s way
Jesus does satisfy the heart.

James White
Bexhill GROW




Grandson

The bump has gone down,
The baby's arrived.
He's sucking her breast
To make sure he thrives.
They cannot decide
What name he should have.
Perhaps he'll be Rodney,
Named after Dave.

(Just been born. Last two lines inspired by "Only Fools and Horses").

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers



CHRISTMAS 2007

Our first Christmas my darling
it’s so exciting!
I wait with breath held
Soft and tremulous, for you
to arrive home from work
To taste our first Christmas kiss
Before sitting beside
our first Christmas tree
To share your delight
as we open our gifts
and be children again
did we ever grow up?
Working side by side
in harmony and joy
for the rest of the morning
cooking together
our first Christmas meal
before our two guests arrive
and I have to share you
but I know you are mine
The best Christmas gift
I have ever had.
Then all too soon
you will have to leave
to return to work
Escaping the washing up!
But taking my love with you
And as I snuggle down
On Christmas day night
I’ll smile at the magic
Of our first Christmas
And lock it away
In my memories of you

Jan Hedger
GROW




Remember, remember
(Huitain)

Dancing lights sparkle in the black
Making patterns of pure white light
Keep well away from Jumping Jack
Rockets fly in projected flight
Catherine spins with all her might
Roman Candles burn orange flame
Symbols of a November night
Celebrating in Guy Fawkes name

Jan Hedger
GROW




It’s Pudsey! (Huitain)

Pledge your cash via Radio 2
Children in Need, on the tele
Phone donations from me and you
Bathe in custard, chuck a welly
Race to eat platefuls of jelly
Don a daft costume, sing and dance
High jinks in aid of charity
Giving our kids a fighting chance!

Jan Hedger
GROW




The Marriage

My daughter’s getting married, she’s spending all my money.
People think it’s wonderful, but I don’t think it’s funny.
We’ve booked the hall, we’ll have a ball. The band will cost two grand;
But I may get a discount if I give them cash in hand.
The caterer’s inclusive, he’s doing food and booze.
He told me, with the proceeds, that he’s going on a cruise.
We got the invitations, they cost a nice few bob.
Six hundred quid charged by a kid who’s, clearly, out to rob.
And then there is the wedding dress, the cake, the cars, the hats,
The photos, flowers, the Minister, the sitters for the cats.
And with every extra bill, someone trades on my goodwill.
So if your daughter’s getting wed, be mindful of my tip off.
Encourage her to live in sin, or else you’ll face a rip off.

Oh yes.
As for her fiance, whose heart she's claimed to conquer,
She chose him to annoy me 'cause he really is a plonker.
And if it all ends in divorce
They’ll have to pay me back of course!

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




The Wedding

Today’s my daughter’s wedding day,
I’ve finally given her away.
She’s cost me plenty through the years,
I paid in cash, blood sweat and tears.
But now I have a son in law,
A clever lad, about to soar
And earn himself a nice few quid.
So he can keep my youngest kid.
They met at University,
A place where one matures and grows;
Where, to display her intellect,
She had a stud put through her nose.
They both worked hard for a degree.
Canoodling while they watched TV.
They drank a bit, were drunk a lot,
And all they learnt they soon forgot.
As students they made friends for life,
And now that they are man and wife
They both have cause to be euphoric
For a match well made in Warwick.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Happy New Year

I looked at the candle alight on the table;
I stared at the label stuck on the bottle.
We’d finished our dinner, drunk all the wine;
Another new year and the dining was fine
In a posh restaurant with wife and with friends.
There were kisses all round as we sang Auld Lang Syne.
The end of a chapter, to start one anew;
With hope for a good one, just like the last few.
Not like the guys sleeping rough on their own,
Begging for money for drink and for drugs
So they can forget how they’re taken for mugs
By our affluent society that won’t give them homes
Or jobs and support to get off the streets.
Like TV, a story so full of repeats.
And as we move on and the year passes by
I wonder how many more homeless will die.

Andrew Diamond
Goodmayes Writers




Celebration

I met them at the meeting: grandmother, mother and daughter with her own children. There were four generations of women coming. Mother was ill and still coming to help others. Mother was dying. There was a funeral. I didn't come, because I overlooked a notice in the paper. I didn't go, because I hate funerals and forgot to come for the living. After the funeral I asked: how was the funeral? "We celebrated her life."

Marie Neumann
POW!




HARRY SAVES THE SILVER JUBILEE DAY


Little thirteen-year-old Harry Craddock jumped out of bed, and changed out of his pyjamas into a white t-shirt, his favourite blue flared jeans, and a red cap, after shaking his blonde hair until it fell tidily into place.  Leaving his bedroom, Harry slid down the stair banister.

“Okey dokey!” he shouted, before jumping off at the bottom and colliding with the coat stand, creating a loud crash in the process.  But Harry wasn’t bothered that he had bashed his knee-cap, during the collision, for he was too excited, as not only was it the half-term holidays, but June 7th 1977, the day of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, which meant a massive street party, with many games to play and lots to eat.

Rushing into the backyard of the family’s red-bricked terraced house, Harry led his red Chopper bike into the ginnel, oblivious to sister Maureen, with spiked up bleached hair, pierced safety pinned ears, and donning punk rock clothing, who was stood in the kitchen doorway smoking a cigarette and listening to The Sex Pistol’s ‘God Save the Queen’.

Mounting his prized possession, Harry rode it at full speed, letting go of the pedals and raising his legs outwards.

“Weeeeeeeeeeee!” he cried at the top of his voice as he raced, so fast that his red cap blew off his head, away into the distance.  “My red cap!” Harry shouted out as he skidded around the corner, suddenly breaking in front of a girl donning a red ruffled dress.  “Ooooh!” he cried out as he slid off the seat and collided with the gear stick, before falling off.

“Let me help you up,” said the girl, who was roughly Harry’s age.

“Veronica Dribbleswaite! Going to be following me about as usual,” he snapped, forcing her arms away.

“Am not!” said Veronica stroppily, fiddling about with one of her red ribboned tied bunches of hair. “It’s a free country. I can go where I like. Anyway, where are you going?”

“Not where you’re going!”

“But Harry!”

“Shut up! Shut up!” snapped Harry, as he picked up his bike, and rode it up the street.
“Now I’ll never look the part, without my red cap,” he thought, oblivious to the ribboned decorated doors and windows, the sound of strings of flags being hammered into terraced house walls, balloons blown up, tables being positioned, and a banner of The Queen’s head heaving upwards.

***

As the town hall clock chimed 2 pm in the distance, the whole street was a hive of activity. People were singing and dancing to ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’, which was being played on an out of tune piano. Harry’s Grandma Flo, donning Purly Queen clothing, the silver studs reflecting the afternoon sun, did The Waltz with her neighbour to an accordion playing ‘Roll out the Barrel’. Others were sat at tables, either waving flags, or tucking into trifle and cakes, or seafood, courtesy of Harry’s Grandpa Bert, who had spent the whole weekend at sea fishing.

Suddenly, the whole street fell into silence. A black Rolls Royce braked. The driver got out and opened one of the back doors. Everyone gasped in amazement as a balding short stocky man, with a moustache, donning a black suit and a large gold chain, stepped out onto the pavement.

“Have one of these love!” said Grandma Flo, who was holding a tray of filled sherry glasses.

The Mayor looked in the other direction, and took a pint of beer from a nearby onlooker.

“Don’t mind if I do. Ta!” he said, before gulping down the contents, leaving the glass a third full.  The Mayor mopped his brow and gave off a sigh of relief. As he was about to take a second gulp, something white plopped into his glass. He looked up. Everyone followed suit.

Suddenly, the whole sky darkened, for a mobber of seagulls descended down into the street towards the tables. People ran into their houses screaming. Others took cover under benches.

“Fish! Fish!” screeched the seagulls as they started tearing at, and eating the seafood, flapping their wings and cawing menacingly.

Harry suddenly had a notion, remembering how, at school, he had learnt about seagulls being afraid of owls. He rushed into the house, emerging five minutes later, in an owl costume; that very costume he had taken a dislike to yesterday when given to him by his parents.

Jumping up onto one of the tables, Harry glared at the seagulls, finally scaring them away.

“Okey dokey!” he shouted, removing the owl head, before waving his arms up in the air, whilst jumping up and down.

But a seagull, on a nearby window ledge, had spotted Harry removing his owl head. It let off a loud caw; as others landed onto the roofs, each one glaring angrily in the direction of Harry, ready to make an attack. He froze in terror, making a gulping noise in his throat, which had turned dry.

As the seagulls flew towards him, Harry fiddled about in his costume until he pulled out a catapult, which he loaded with a piece of glass, firing it in the direction of a piece of string, finally slicing through its fibres.

A net flew down, battering the side of one of the houses. Hoards of red, white and blue balloons floated down onto the tables around Harry, popping loudly as the seagulls sunk their claws and beaks into them, the bursting sounds so loud that they flew away into the distance.

“Easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” Harry cried out, amidst a cheering crowd.

“Well done, Harry lad!” praised The Mayor, helping him down off the table, and out of his costume. “As Mayor of Darlsbrough, I proclaim young Harry here as King of the Jubilee celebrations.”

“Oh yes!” said Harry. “And who’s The Queen then?”

“None other than my daughter Veronica.”

“Oh no!” exclaimed Harry.

“Hello Harry!” said Veronica sweetly, before giving him a sloppy kiss, causing his whole face to blush.

Now Harry was definitely dressed for the occasion: red face, white t-shirt and blue jeans.

Mark Crittenden
GROW


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