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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, 6 August 2017



Dad’s turned the taps on in the bathroom so we can’t hear him sobbing. He’s been in there for over an hour.

Jenny knocks on the door.

‘Dad, please come out, we need to talk about the funeral arrangements.’

Dad flushes the toilet, sobs a bit more then finally opens the bathroom door. Me and Jenny give him a big fat hug.

Yesterday our cat Tosca died.


From Mum and Dad’s bedroom window I watch Dad digging a big hole at the end of the garden. Carol from next door is pretending to check if her washing is dry, but I knows she’s just trying to see what Dad’s up to. Carol’s been dead nosey lately and I keep having to spy on her to see when she’s spying on us.

Dad’s been the saddest out of everyone about Tosca dying; I think she was probably Dad’s best friend. When he’s had a bad day at work he comes in and slags his boss off to Tosca while she sits on his lap purring her head off.

After a bit Dad stops digging and starts crying again. Mum comes out and strokes his back while Carol checks the same damp bra for the hundred millionth time.

I stare into the mirror in Mum and Dad’s room and start crying too. I watch the tears roll down my face while I think about Tosca, then I think about Tom and wether he’d fancy me if he saw how sparkly my eyes look when I cry.


I walk out into the garden, Dad’s nearly finished digging the hole. Carol shouts over the fence ‘You better make it deep otherwise the foxes will tear her to pieces’.

Dad shouts back, ‘Yeah, cheers Carol!’ Then whispers ‘You daft bint’.

Dad wants us all to wear black for the funeral to show our repect. Me and Jenny look in our room for stuff for black stuff. Jenny finds a black Kappa Tracksuit in a bag of old stuff our cousin Leanne gave us and I put on the outfit I wore when I was a goth for the day a few weeks ago.


In the garden Mum, Dad and Josh are already stood by Tosca’s grave. Dad’s wearing the suit he bought for Aunty Mandy’s wedding, Mum’s wearing a leather skirt and her black Bon Jovi t-shirt, and Josh is wearing his batman costume.

We all talk about our memories of Tosca for a bit. Jenny talks about the time Tosca got trapped in Carol’s house and pooed in her kitchen. Then Dad talks about when she was a kitten and followed him all the way to the Chip Shop. He had to put her in his inside jacket pocket while he ordered, and her little furry face kept popping out to sniff the fish.

Josh says, ‘Remember when she ate the hamsters?’ Mum tells him it’s not the right time to remember that story. Jenny reads a poem she wrote for Tosca and Mum says The Lord's Prayer.

I give Tosca one last stroke and tell her how much I love her, then Dad puts her in the hole and starts to cover her up with soil.

Josh keeps asking Dad all sorts of stupid questions like, ‘When can we dig her up again?’ I don’t think he gets things being dead yet.


We hear somebody trying to get in through the back gate. It’s Grandad! He swears his head off until he eventually opens it with a massive kick.

‘Bloody hell! Why didn’t you answer the front door? I was stood out there banging me arse off, until that miserable neighbour of yours told me you were having some sort of séance out ere’.

Grandad looks at Dad.

‘You got a court appearance or summit? I’d bang you up for wearing that baggy arsed suit alone.’

Jenny shouts at Grandad, ‘Tosca’s dead this is her funeral, now please show some respect!!!’

Grandad looks at mum, ‘Are you going to let her speak to her Grandad like that?’

Mum says, ‘She’s right Dad, now show some respect or piss off home’

Grandad goes red and looks really angry, but keeps his mouth shut for a bit.

I remember that I invited Nanny Pam to the funeral this morning, and she said she might come round for the wake after her shift on the fag counter. I secretly hope she can’t make it now that Grandad’s come round, I can’t be arsed with those two going at each other today.


Mum’s done a picky tea for Tosca’s wake. Grandad grabs a scotch egg and stuffs it into his face while he sits on the sofa and reads TV Quick. He gets little orange bits all over the pages and bits of grey meat and yellow egg come out of his mouth when he starts talking.

‘Repeat..repeat…seen it on pirate…that Lovejoy’s a smug prick…bloody national lottery! I had a fiver on and won eff all…repeat…now I’d like to go inside Linda Barker’s Changing Room…Noel Fuckin’ Edmonds…

 I can hear Nanny Pam’s heels clip clopping down our road and go to open the door.

‘Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry, you loved that cat didn’t you?’

Grandad shouts from the sofa, ‘Come for the free food have you Pammy?’

‘Don’t you start! I’ve had the day from hell! Maeve rang in sick this morning and someone tripped up on a pack of Camel Lights when I was doing the re-stock, said they’re gonna sue! So I don’t need you giving me jip n’all!

‘Alright calm down woman! You’re at a funeral you know, show some respect!’

Grandad winks at Jenny and she gives him one of her killer evils.

Nanny Pam sits down on the opposite side of the sofa to Grandad and I sit in the middle. Grandad picks off and eats a bit of Scotch Egg that was stuck to Anneka Rices's face, on the front cover of TV Quick, it leaves a a greasy mark on her cheek. Nanny Pam calls him a dirty pig under her breath.

I look over at the armchair Tosca used to sit in and start crying again. Sometimes she’d leave bits of dead birds on it, but that’s just nature, so I didn’t mind.

Nanny Pam hugs me, then Grandad wipes his  fingers on the side of the sofa and shuffles up to hug me too. Nanny Pam wriggles out the way when Grandad tries to put his arms round her as well. Nanny Pam's perfume mixes with Grandad's eggy fag breath, it makes me feel a bit sick so I slip down and off the sofa, leaving those two to jump back to opposite sides.

It’s getting dark and I walk to the end of the Garden where Dad is on his knees next to Tosca’s grave lighting candles. I kneel down next to him.

‘Are you ok Dad?’

‘I loved that cat’.

My Dad inspired this post a few weeks ago when, after a few beers he asked me if I’d be interested in breaking into our old house and sneaking into the garden with him. He wanted to exhume Tosca’s remains and repatriate her to his new garden. Mum talked him out of it, and Dad saying he’d ‘even ask the new owners permission’ didn’t seem to convince her for some reason.

I'd have loved to of seen the look on Carol's face!

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