His eye moved, once forgetful, across the face of the waters and the buildings of memory. The scents and smells of youth caught in the curling stench of caustic Jeyes born bleach and ripening ale. A pub sump dish dregs, below a hand pulled slop pint pump. Licensed for the sale only on the premises. But a jug to take home would help.
Miners in permanent coal dust eye liner drinking before small back to back home, small tin bath bathing and a kitchen fire. Behind the drying, behind the damp. Long Johns and wet. Drinking before eating, Ox tail, pig trotter and black tripe saved from yesterday and the day before. Cut the dust of deep pit seam working with splits of brown and bitter pumping strong ale. Nothing better, than brown and bitter, they said.
Etched bar sash windows, no loose stools on the bar and barred mad, always mad, dog in the yard at the back. Black coal washing and open steam from the pit laundry steam.
A parlour with a pit pike in a case presented at the turn of the century. A buffalo head for the lodge that fascinated in its dusty spiderish frame. A room not allowed, keep out and a spiral stairway for buffed brass stops sliding down. Hurt yourself, they said, and don't come crying to me.
Sup that pint because you can and grasp a silvered tossed tanner to play only Telstar on the new puke juke painted box. Turn that bloody reason racket off. Allow folk to speak cheeky little bastard bugger. Play the pianola instead to cheek the more strange fun. A beer made from nettles treat after a Monday wash day and a Friday fish.
Back yard machinery, rotting rusting for no reason and open tiled coughing fishmonger in front. Blue tiles, clog cobbles and and striped gut apron. Expensive brown ice and fly blown fish heads sliding blood. Chips in paper, read and eat. Battered and bits. Offal bins and open oil rainbows on the water of a brown barge straight canal. Winging, swinging bridge with barges, coal boarded and black loaded, constant until they closed.
Meemawing mothers in curlers and ash flicked acted cough bandied about gate gossip all day. “He'd never stop a pig in a ginnel.” “An am that clemt woman I could eat a scabby pig”. “Is me Dinner on? Mother?” “Then jump to!” " That one at 19 is no better than she should be!"
National pit heaps of coal collecting with an old pram and sack. Jump explosive from the fire burning rugs. Get your mark chit from the mine and buy the mine bread to break in church on Sunday when his eye moved across the face of the polluted flow. The day thou gavest Lord is ended in poor light and gas hissing. The light is fading from the chimney fog and forget, you never will.
© Copyright 2017 Ken Simm. All rights reserved.
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