CHILDHOOD trips to Barry Island, on a bus from Pontypool,

Filled with children and their mammies, courtesy of Sunday School.

Nearly there, the competition, who’ll be the first to see the sea?

There’s a shout as someone spots it! A toddler grizzles for a wee.

Mams, all carrier bags and costumes, soothing lotions, crisps and pop,

Trail behind their rushing offspring when the bus rolls to a stop.

Dance around the little kiosk for a spade and bucket bright,

Then sandals cast in all directions when the sand comes into sight.

Sinking barefoot into Heaven, golden grains between the toes,

And the smell of salt and seaweed wafting up to tease the nose.

Mams all ease into their deckchairs, village gossip up or grabs,

While their kiddies search in rock pools, huddling round to look for crabs.

A seaside dip, and someone’s darling wends her way with tearful pleas

Back up the beach, with knitted costume now stretched down below her knees.

The afternoon is growing older, and little hands all beg their share

Of copper pennies, which are needed to spend an hour on the fair.

Hurtle down the helter skelter, path all shiny, smooth and slick,

Try to take avoiding action where a girl has just been sick.

Screams galore aboard the ghost train, brave boys pretend that they don’t mind,

But then yell out as something nasty reaches out from just behind.

Coconuts remain unseated, more money wasted down the drain,

And parents walk away complaining, “The blighter’s glued ‘em in again!”

Time for home, the sun is dropping, wave goodbye to sea and fair,

Half the beach is bound for Ponty’, between small toes, in sun kissed hair.

In each homestead, baths are calling, soapy flannels soothe and dab,

While on the silent bus is crouched a lonesome, homesick, kidnapped crab.

Lorna Pearson