Thursday 18th October, 2018
I find myself back at The Crown in Southwold this afternoon. I’ve chosen to come a little later in the day, at the end of the lunch period. Pubs would traditionally close at this time of day, the demand of licensing laws, and a lot of rural pubs still do. You can see why: The Crown is very quiet this afternoon, it’s just myself and a solitary couple in the charming little back bar.
I like this room very much. It’s very light. The corner where I am currently sat faces the bar and has muntin windows to the outside. The room is panelled with light, vanished oak and sports heavy-framed paintings of sailing boats. The bar is also panelled oak, with eight taps for draft. Behind the bar the back wall is a window, steel framed, and looking through to the front hall of the building, and beyond that the street.
Another fellow has come in and he’s talking to the couple. The couple are on holiday and the lone fellow is a local. They are complaining about the lack of standards and morals in modern life. The pub has had its bell (to attract the attention of the barman) stolen a number of times in recent weeks. “They’ll steel anything!” “What do they steel when they are asleep?!”
In a minute I shall turn my attention back to the poem I started on Tuesday. The story of Darren – the kid at school that would take on any dare, do anything to get a laugh. I like what I have so far – a single scene with Darren atop the RE portacabin classroom, trousers around his ankles, about to moon not only the school but the various parents congregating at the school gates. I have some other scenes in mind. It’s a strange piece, not written anything like it before, but I like what I have so far.
The poem was a suggestion on Tuesday morning from a friend of mine. I was telling the story of this kid at my old school to her kids and mine – a humorous cautionary tale – and she suggested it would make a good poem. People do this when you’re a poet: You should write a poem about that! Usually these suggestions are terrible, but there was something in this one. And I figured since I was here in the pub to get inspiration from the people around me, it might be a good place to start.
The couple have left now. It’s just me and this old boy and his pint. The Crown is dozing through the afternoon. To work!