Back in the day
The Chamber of Commerce
attracted tourists by calling this town
the sunniest corner of Devon.
We all laughed and said “Is that a fact?”
but the tourists came to see the famous market
and to take in places marked upon the map.
Coaches drove down scarred roads
to set down in the long-stay coach park.
Drivers guided old folk who shuffled off the bus
to follow the trail.
“I’m glad I brought my coat,”
they splashed along pavements
emblazoned with flattened splats of bubble gum.
Crisp packets skittered in the wind.
Twisted drinks cans and bottles
vomited from stuffed-up rubbish bins.
Used condoms lay vanquished in the gutters,
their flattened swell bragging sticky acts
of safe sex in the back of rattling vans,
and the public lavatories stank.
I overstated the rain;
we’ve been known to suffer or enjoy weeks of dry heat,
but the Chamber of Commerce knew
that their claim, too, was exaggerated.
They updated their slogan; these days the bywords
are “ancient” and history.
The long-stay coach park has been demolished;
these days, less guests are treated to the sight
of flying litter.
In September, the kids go back to school
so most of the holiday makers have gone.
They miss our laughable carnival.
A factory ceased supplying lengths of bright nylon
to drape around the floats
since it closed, many years ago,
The nylon has been replaced by crepe paper,
which is a shame;
all the locals know
it always rains on carnival day.
This is a bit rushed as I’m going out for a celebratory meal in about an hour, but I couldn’t resist the prompt, since today is Carnival day in my town. Watching though my window, I see parents trudging, children skipping, on their way to watch the display. The pavements are wet, but it’s not raining. The procession starts in half-an-hour. The floats will already be ruined, and now I see drops of rain appearing on the glass.
Word of the Day Challenge: Carnival
©Jane Paterson Basil