Mungrisdale Writers Group

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Sue Banister

Sue Banister lives and works in Keswick. She has recently completed an MA in Writing Poetry but still feels there are miles to go. She writes poetry which is edgy and looks at the underbelly of life.

Soup and Crackers

Grand father always had soup for lunch; red soup with crackers crumbled in. We thought he was a vampire! More proof later. He would sit at the small table to the left, a table mat with a picture of Durham Cathedral protected the shiny varnish of the table top.

Grandfathers hair was varnished too, slicked back a la Valentino. See what I mean about the vampire? He was the lead baritone in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Too vain to wear glasses in public he had developed a peering stance. There was a large cupboard in the other corner we called the Bat Cave because he alwys sprang up guiltily whenever anybody entered the room. Actually thats where he kept his secret brandy and his glasses.

Being short-sighted (and vain) he aquired the biggest television possible at the time. At night he would cover it with a green chenille cloth, like putting a budgie to bed. All the neighbours came in to exclaim over this new, glorious gadget, lining up respectfully.

Coronation Day. We children were sat in front of Pop- a row of subdued ninepins in size order, biggest to the right. Any giggling or wriggling and Granfathers foot shot forward to prod the naughty one.

The programme began with a loud fanfare and, I suppose we were ecstatic, expecting wonders from this thing called television; something only seen in shop windows before. Wed watched the test card for hours last night. Althogh the screen showed black and white somehow we painted it in our own colours.

It was the crunching of the carriage wheels; the tattoo of horses hooves; and the collective throaty roar of the massed crowds I remember. The music- well it was that churchy stuff sung by posh choir boys their faces cupped by pie frills. And when the tiny queen disappeared beneath the canopy to be anointed we all sniggered, wondering what was going on.

The little one tried to crawl away several times but was chivvied back into line with the toe of Grandfathers leather slipper. It was a very long day. Looking at the footage now I can see how icinic it was. For us children it was a long day. Soup was nice though.

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