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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, 19 June 2016



We're going to watch the football at Grandad's new house tonight. I haven't seen Grandad in ages. Mum said he went away and got some money and now he’s back and has bought a big new house in Solihull. Candy has started going out with him again, and they've had a baby! So, today, I'm going to meet my baby uncle, Gary. 


We pull up to Grandad’s house. There's a drive and the front door has pillars outside! Dad asks Mum, ‘What’s he done to pull this off?'

Grandad has a tan, and even more gold jewellery on than usual. He gives us a tour of the house. There are five bedrooms and a Jacuzzi! Jenny asks Grandad if we can go in, but he says he's not wasting a tenner heating it up for us to piss in it.

In Grandads bedroom there’s a giant picture of Candy in her bikini kissing a dolphin. Grandad points at a smaller photo of him on the bedside table, in it he’s got even more of a tan and dreadlocks. He says, ‘That’s me, dressed as Bob Marley at a Jamaican night in the Costa Del Sol…bloody brilliant it was! Candy went as Jamaican Cher!’


The football is on in the living room. Uncle Gary is sleeping in his car seat in the corner, and Grandad’s mate, Ladders, is eating Doritos with one hand down his pants on the sofa.

Ladders gets up, shakes Dad’s hand, and gives mum a sloppy kiss on the cheek. I’m glad he doesn’t try and come near me, because his fingers and lips are all orange and cheesy from the crisps. Dad smells his hand and goes to the toilet.

England are playing Germany in the semi-final. Grandad and Ladders keep singing the Dad’s Army theme tune. I think they’re both drunk, because there are beer cans everywhere, and when Ladders gets up to shout at the TV he sways and forgets what he’s shouting at.

Me and Jenny practice our goal celebrations. Jenny is going over the top as usual, she does a cartwheel and ends in the splits. I do a star jump and clap.


At half time Candy comes into the living room holding a cake she's made and say's,  ‘Happy football day, everybody! Look, it's shaped like a football especially...'

Grandad says, 'What round? Aren’t all cakes round anyway?' 

'Well, yeah, but…oh shut up you tosser!'

Grandad snaps a big bit off with his hand and eats it, then he says, 'Candy what did you use to make this cake?'

'You know I used a packet mix. I bought it from Londis, with you! What are you getting at?'

'Oh nothing, sweetheart, it just tastes like you made it out of dog shit that's all.' 

Ladders sniffs the cake, pulls a stupid face at Grandad, as if he’s dying, then asks Candy, 

'Any of them Clubs left?'

Candy slams the cake down in front of Grandad’s feet on the coffee table, and tells Grandad to stop showing off to his alchy mate.


Grandad says he's got me and Jenny an England shirt each. He goes into the cupboard under the stairs and pulls out a bin bag, then chucks a shirt at Jenny. 

Nobody's eating the cake, so I help myself, to make Candy feel better, and because I quite like the taste of really salty stuff anyway. 

Grandad says to me, 'I've only got XL left for you Holl, but you'll soon grow into it, the way your putting that cake away. I'm sorry to say it love, but it looks like you've got the family fat gene off your Nan.'

I say,  'Nanny Pam's not fat!'

'No, love, but she could be if she ate more.' 

I have no idea what Grandad’s on about. I know I don't want to wear Nanny Pam's fat jeans though, the last time I wore her jeans was a disaster! I think about whether I’m fat and decide that I’m not, but I stop eating the cake just in case.

The shirts don't look like the ones everyone has at school. We put them on and start singing 'Three lions on the shirt…' then Jenny points out our shirts only have two lions and they look more like beavers. 


Ladders wakes Uncle Gary up by shouting and swearing at the TV. Candy lets me hold him for a bit. He's fat and tiny at the same time and his face is all squashed up and red like Grandads. He grabs my finger in his little fist, and I sing Football's Coming Home to him, which I think he likes, because he kicks his fat little legs. 


England lose, and Grandad kicks off. He says ‘I was there when the bombs
were coming down, those cheeky little fuckers still owe us one!’ 

Mum says, ‘You were born in 1946, Dad! Now stop swearing and being a racist prick in front on the kids!’

Ladders is definitely drunk. He’s been on the floor since the penalties started, when he fell over showing Grandad how to take one. Grandad gets a big bottle of red booze from the shelf above the TV. He opens Ladders mouth and starts pouring it in, then he asks Dad, ‘Who does Ladders remind you of?’

Dad says ‘Right, it’s time to go, get your shoes on kids’.

Grandad say’s ‘He’s Gazza, you know, doing the dentist chair.’

Ladders is coughing and laughing at the same time, and the booze is going all over his face and the carpet.

Candy comes in looks at Grandad sat on top of Ladders, and shouts ‘Get the fuck out you two!’ Then she looks at me and says all nice, ‘Holly, do you want to take the rest of that cake home, sweetheart, you looked like you were really enjoying it?’


In the car on the way home, Dad says that we’re not ever going round Grandad's house again, but he always says that. Me and Jenny sing, ‘Two lions on the shirt’, and do impressions of Ladders pretending to be Gazza.

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