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Found on the shores of The West Midlands. The Coventry Conch tells the tale of a young girl's experience growing up in Coventry in the 1990's.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Every other Thursday, Nanny Pam can’t pick us up from school, because she has a shift on the fag counter in Tesco’s. This means my friend Roxy’s Nan, Maggie, has to pick us up.

Maggie waits outside of school in her car and beeps the horn until we get in. The car smells like cigarettes, fir tree air freshener and digestive biscuits. She’s playing her Robson and Jerome tape, which I hate, Dad says Robson and Jerome are one of the reasons he’s thinking of leaving the country.

Maggie tells Jenny and me that we didn’t look both ways when we crossed the road to get to her car, and she’ll have to tell Mum, because it’s a safety risk. I’m sat in the front and Maggie makes me hold her cigarette, while she starts the car. I waft the smoke away with my book about the Vikings.   

We get back to Roxy’s house and go upstairs to her bedroom. Roxy says she lives with her Nan because her mum doesn’t have a settee or anything to sit on and she stays up too late.

We play with Roxy’s toys for a bit. All of Roxy’s Barbies have shaved heads and tattoos that she has drawn on with felt tips. Roxy says she wants to play Blind Date with naked Barbies who are alcoholics.

I go and see her hamsters, Bill and Ted, and she takes them out for me.  When we’re called for tea Roxy shuts the hamsters in a tiny drawer by her bed, because she wants them to have babies.

I’m worried when I see dinner because it’s a burger with chips and beans. Mum says we can’t eat burgers because of Mad Cow disease. I remind Jenny after she has had a bite, and we both say we’re not eating it. Maggie says we’re ungrateful, and that in the war she had to eat her pet rabbit Floppsy, with two mouldy potatoes and her own tears, and it was the best meal she ever had.

Maggie sits with us and makes us eat some chips, while she has a cigarette and drinks a Slimfast.

I say I’m going to the toilet, but I go to Roxy’s room and put the hamsters back in their cage.

Mum comes and picks us up. On the way home, I tell her about Maggie trying to kill us. Mum says we were right to not eat the burger, but we should have just chopped it up and hidden it under the beans.

She asks us if we crossed the road properly. I say we did, but Maggie couldn’t see because her car was so full of smoke it was like Stars In Their Eyes. Jenny says ‘Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Skeletor’, because that’s what we call Maggie.

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