The Ride Home - A Poem

I get on my bike.
The more I peddle the brighter my dynamo light shines.
A good thing as I’m cycling on an uneven path.

I’ve been to Guides, 4th Laindon.
Mrs Freeman is our Captain.
I’ve got two stripes on my beast pocket and
a lanyard with a whistle attached.
I am a “Sixer”

I speed by the hedges as fast as I can.
They loom at my side as I pass.
I dismiss the thought of someone jumping
out into my path to assault me.
Things like that don’t happen in Laindon.

That’s better.
I’ve left the unmade road.
I slow down a little as I pass Markhams Chase
my old primary school.

I was unhappy when I had to live with Nanny
and go to a school in Barkingside.
My mum was having my baby sister
and she was quite unwell after the birth.

She had a hard time and if Dr Chowdhary and
Nurse Broom hadn’t assisted her I doubt
whether my sister would have survived.
And when my sister was seriously ill
Dr Chowdhary visited her every day!!
Mrs. Winfield the vicar’s wife also came.

I pass the railway carriages on my left.
The lady who lives in them breeds rabbits
for the table.
I wonder what she does with their pelts.
Aunt Rose keeps chickens and I love
the smell of the mash she feeds them.

I’m at the bottom of the road now.
St. Nicholas Church in front of me.
I help at the Sunday School and
I’m taking confirmation classes.

The Reverend Winfield is holding them
at St Peter’s little wooden church,
next to Hiawatha, at the bottom of
St Nicholas Lane.
There is always a musky smell of damp wood
and paper in the church.

I’m on the home strait now.
I’ve just passed Pound Lane where
a new housing estate is being built.
Dad hopes it will mean more trade for him.

I cycle up on to the forecourt in front of
our shop.
Dad is trimming cauliflowers in the fruit
and veg section.
I wave to him and open our side gates.
I like to ride up the side of our bungalow
across the garden and straight into our
air raid shelter.

Many years later I take this ride to Guides
in my mind.
I think it sad that a child of today will never
know the safety I felt when I lived in Laindon.

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