Motorway spray races across the car window –
I pick a winning droplet, in the frame of the passing linen sky.
Soon, we spot seagulls,
And a first glimpse of sea,
“What time will we go to the arcades?” – the refrain from the backseats –
As my brother and I fasten our shoes,
And brush crumbs onto the floor.
Bloated fish nibble at the pond surface behind us,
While we stand sniggering,
Grandad’s shirt and tie refracted behind frosted glass,
The back door peeks open,
“Not today, thank you” – the ritual greeting –
We giggle, and bundle inside
To wafts of pastry and gravy.
Triaging each familiar comfort –
Our Nana’s twinkle-eyed embrace,
The measuring of just how tall we’d grown,
Pink iced fingers, yellow French Fancies,
Dandelion and Burdock –
Our adventuring, up and down the house,
Can begin in earnest.
Pillaging salted peanuts
We scan over cousins’ school portraits,
Smoothed under glass table top,
Carpet curls tickle our toes,
We press our noses against the enormous pane
And fight over binoculars,
Looking out at icy foam and black liners
Carving through the English Channel.
After lunch – and Grandad’s apple slices –
We bounce through hedged park squares
Towards the Promenade,
And drop two pence pieces
Into moving treasure chests,
Throw our plastic parachute men cliff-side,
And watch them spin in the biting current
As evening draws in.
Back inside the walled garden
We chase after the fish,
Fall about on the grass –
Energies finally spent –
Rosy-cheeked we watch The Pink Panther
Then drift off under the covers
To Famous Five adventuring,
And the thrill of doing it all again