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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.

Monday, 17 October 2016




It’s Harvest Festival at school. Usually, I like Harvest Festival because we have a massive assembly, which means we don’t have to do any work for a whole morning, and just have to sing songs about food and Jesus instead.

Every year for Harvest Festival, Mrs. Minty the school receptionist, asks us to bring food in for poor people. Before she takes it to the church, she makes a massive display in the assembly hall so everyone can see how much food we’ve got. Everyone’s pointing out what they’ve bought in, if I was in a better mood I’d look in the display for the out of date tin of beans and sausages Nanny Pam gave me to hand in, but I’m too busy worrying.

Yesterday I told a really big lie.



Some people from my class are sat on the climbing frame in the playground talking about stuff.  I’m stood underneath, by the slide, with my cousin Amy listening to them all, and looking at Tom. Tom say’s that Jet and Wolf from Gladiators were in Coventry opening a new Safeway on Saturday, and his mum saw them! Lisa tells Tom how she went to see Gladiators with her Aunty and that she saw Shadow outside afterwards. I feel weird watching Lisa talk to Tom, my tummy starts to flip round, and before I can think, I start telling Tom and everyone else the lie.

‘I was at Safeway on Saturday with my Nan, because she wanted to try a frothy coffee in the new cafe and I met Jet…’

Everyone looks down from the climbing frame at me. Lisa starts laughing and says ‘Yeah right, chinny chin chin’  (Everyone say’s chinny chin chin at the moment when people lie, it’s one of the stupidest things I‘ve ever heard).

Amy is staring at me, she knows I was at her house watching TV all weekend, but I stare her out, and try to tell her to shut her face with my eyes. She doesn’t say anything.

I feel really hot and know I’ve gone red but I can’t stop lying, I say ‘I did meet her, ask my Dad, I got her autograph.’

Lisa says ‘Bring it in tomorrow then!’

I say I will, and then go to the toilet because I feel like my whole tummy is going to come out of my mouth. I lock myself in a loo and start crying.

Amy knocks on the door. She says ‘Are you ok Holl? What are you going to do?’

I tell her that I don’t know, and that I think I’m going to have to move school which makes Amy cry too because she can be a bit soft like that sometimes.


I run out of my classroom even faster than usual and grab my little brother Josh,
who is in the little school cloakroom trying to do his zip up. I yank his coat shut and make him run up to Dad who’s waiting in the playground for us.

I whisper to Dad ‘Don’t say anything to anyone we need to get to the car and go home now’.


In the car on the way home, I tell Dad all about the lie and start crying again. I ask him if we can drive to the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham where they make Gladiators and try to meet Jet.

Dad says he’s got a better plan.


I don’t eat any dinner, even though it’s my favourite, Findus Crispy Pancakes, I’m too nervous about Dad’s plan.

I go and get my autograph book from my special box in mine and Jenny’s room. Nanny Pam bought it for me when we went to meet Shefali, the weather girl from Midlands today, at West Orchards Shopping Centre last year. So far it only has Shefali’s signature in, but it’s about to have Jet’s.

Dad practices what he thinks Jet’s signature might be for a bit and I write what I think Dad should put in the book, on a scrap piece of paper:

Dear Holly,

It was really cool meeting you in Safeway on Saturday. When you’re eighteen you can definitely be a Gladiator with me and Wolf! I’ll speak to John Anderson and see if we can get you in soon for a VIP tour and a go on the Travelator.

Friends Forever,

Jet xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Dad says that it will look more real if we just write ‘To Holly, Love Jet ’, because she wouldn’t have time to write a lot.

Dad does big girly writing, draws a smiley face inside the o in love and does a big X at the end.




When we walk out of assembly I spot the beans and sausages on the display table next to a bottle of Orange Tango and a box of Mint Matchmakers, I think about someone having all that for dinner and it makes me feel a bit better.

I sneak back to my classroom and keep my head down when I walk to my table, I can feel everyone looking at me. Lisa comes over and say’s ‘Did you bring it then?’. I pull out my autograph book and can feel my hands shaking, Tom comes over with Kevin to have a look as well.

I open the first page and Tom asks ‘Who’s signature is that?’ I tell him it’s Shefali’s and say that I met her at West Orchards last year. He says ‘You met Shefali? What was she like?’

Lisa looks at her shoes while I tell Tom all about how me and Nanny Pam met Shefali, and how nice she is, and that she told us what the weather was going to be like for the next few days, before she’d even said it on the news. Then I show him Jet’s signature but he’s not really as bothered. Lisa goes back to her table in a sulk, and me and Tom talk about other stuff for a bit.

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