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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.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017



I wake up, open my eyes, remember it’s sports day, and shut them again. Sports day is the worst day of the year and I’m not even allowed to skive because Mum got a letter home last week about me having too much time off school.

I sit up in bed, look at my Hi-Tec trainers in the corner of the room and think fuck this! I’ve been swearing quite a bit in my head lately, I think it’s because I’ve been hanging around with Tasha more. The other day I accidently swore out loud in front of Mum and she made me say sorry to God.

Eventually I get out of bed and put my kit on. My cousin Leanne's old puma shorts, the fake England shirt Grandad gave me and my rubbish trainers.

When I get downstairs Jenny and Josh are already having breakfast. All they’ve left me from the selection box is Cornflakes! They’re having a mega mix of honey Nut Loops and Coco Pops. I tell them that I need the extra energy today, and try to shove my spoon in their bowls, but Jenny puts her hand over hers, and Josh spits in his.

In the kitchen, Mum lets me smash a Kit Kat up in my Cornflakes to make them taste a bit better. While I eat them, she strokes my hair and says, ‘Nanny Pam will be there cheering you on today Hol! You can only do your best. Just remember it’s not in your genetics to be good at sport. I couldn’t even do a forward roll until I was twenty-five, and that was by accident one night in The Pink Parrot!’


I walk round to Amy’s before school. Amy hates Sports Day just as much as I do, but at least we have a plan this year. We both got picked to do the 200m race and so neither of us come last on our own, we’re going to run at the same time as each other, crossing the finish line last, together.

When I get to Amy’s, Aunty Karen answers the door.

‘Hi Love. Look at you all ready for sports day. Poor Amy can’t come because she’s got a nasty tummy bug!’

I can feel myself getting really hot and angry, but say to Aunty Karen dead nicely, ‘Really she was absolutely fine at school yesterday can I go up and see her?’

‘Yeah go on then, you might cheer her up a bit, poor thing’

 I open Amy’s door really quietly and watch her for a bit, she’s sat up in bed watching The Big breakfast and eating Frosted Shreddies. When she notices me she starts coughing and says in a croaky voice ‘Hi Hol’.

‘Thought you had a tummy bug not a cough.’

‘I’ve got both!’

I think about which way to do this and decide to start by begging and if that doesn’t work use force.

‘Amy please come, I need you, please, please, please! I’m going to come last and look like a right loser in front of Tom, please…’

‘I would Hol, I actually really wanted to come, but I’m really ill!’

‘Yeah right, chinny chin chin!’

I go up to Amy’s bed and pull the duvet off her.

‘You have to come, we promised! Get up!’


I let go of the duvet and Amy grabs it back. Then I say something really lame that I heard on Saved By The Bell.

‘This Friendship is void!’

I kick the door open and monster stomp down the stairs. Aunty Karen asks me if I’m ok as I walk out of the front door, I tell her Amy’s nearly finished her Shreddies and seems to be A LOT better!


When I get to school, Sammy and some other girls from my class are stood in the playground doing stretches to show off in front of Tom and the boys. Sammy’s got new Nike Air Max’s and Addidas Poppers on.


Nanny Pam and Maeve have come to watch me and I'm allowed to sit with them on the field until I'm called up. Maeve starts telling one of her daft stories about how she used to run for the County until her boobs got too big and she couldn’t afford to keep buying gaffa tape.

It’s the boys 100m race first, Sammy screams her head off for Tom to win. I pretend not to watch and try to concentrate on Maeve talking about her boobs instead.

 ‘Of course, my Graham loves it, he buries his head in them for hours some nights. But when I saw that Sally Gunnel opening the new Tesco the other day, I thought it could have been me cutting that ribbon...’

I look over at the start line. Mr. Haywood says ‘On your marks, get set, go!’ Kevin and Tom get out in front straight away. I turn back to Maeve.

‘I can just about squeeze into a H cup now, but it’s a two man job…’

I look back over at the race. Kevin’s in the lead with Mark second, I look for Tom but he’s way back at the start line, lying on the grass with his head in his hands and his Mum’s stood next to him.  Sammy’s started screaming for Kevin to win.

Mr. Haywood announces Kevin as the winner then tells us all to check our shoelaces are tied properly because he doesn’t want any more accidents like Tom’s!

I feel really sorry for Tom, but when I bend down to check my shoelaces I think it doesn’t matter if I come last now because Tom did too!


From the start line, I watch Maeve being told to put her fag out by Mrs. Woods, Tom arguing with his Mum about his laces and Nanny Pam giving me a big fat double thumbs up!

Mr. Haywood says, ‘On your marks, get set, go’ and I go for it.

I come second from last, but Nanny Pam and Maeve run up to me screaming like I’ve won gold at the Olympics! Nanny Pam gives me a big fat hug and I look over her shoulder at Tom who is still sulking next to his Mum. I think that I fancy him a little bit less today.


On my way back from school, I call in at Amy’s.

I open Amy’s bedroom door really quietly, she’s sat on her bed watching Round The Twist and is eating Golden Drummers with chips and beans.

I say, ‘Hi’


‘Are you my friend?’


Then she lets me sit on her bed and have a Golden drummer dipped in bean juice, while I tell her all about how I totally smashed sports day.

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