The title actually says, Old Eastwood Town. For those of you who dont know, its where a certain Mr D.H.Lawrence spent most of his life. I had the misfortune to spend some of my teenage years in that godforsaken place. Not a happy time in my life. Eastwood is on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border and the accent is a strange one. Men often refer to each other as youth or blue and a lot of words lose their first letter. Eastwood becomes more like Astwood, but the oo is shortened to sound like u. So Eastwood becomes Astwood, becomes ‘astwud.
The whole area was a coal mining hotspot. Every town and village for miles around had its own coal mine [pit as they are called in the area]. Sadly, in the late 70’s early 80’s when I was there, most of the pits closed and the area went rapidly down hill. I lived in foster care at the time. When I left school with no qualifications, the chances of me finding gainful employment were about nil. The years from 15 to 19 were a period of time I prefer to forget. I hope that comes through here as just what a horrible place in time I was at. Somewhere that D.H.Lawrence loved, very nearly became my final resting place. Thankfully, I was offered a way out. I grabbed it with both hands and have never looked back.
The only real evidence that D.H.Lawrence ever lived there, is a plaque on the wall of the house he lived in. For one of the most prominent UK authors of his day, I think thats rather sad.
The dole is what everyone called Unemployment Benefit and around the time I spent in Eastwood, there were over 3.5 million unemployed in the UK. That, quite frankly, was a very conservative estimate.
‘astwud blue? top o’ tha hill,
The reply to the question I asked,
Seat of my youth and hazy days long passed,
Yet a sadness in me it silently masked.
‘astwud yu sae, has one claim to fame,
A young author,D.H Lawrence his name,
Wrote poems and books, based in his day
Whiled the long evening hours away.
Carefree, young, in Lawrence’s ta’an,
Ma’re pubs than pits,yet still coal the black gold,
Skittles in yards played with laughter and beer,
Yet my thoughts of that place asail me with cold.
That were back then when he were a lad,
Nothing that happened was terribly bad,
But now I jump forward to my time spent there,
A lifetime wasted in foster care.
A ta’an urged and inspired a poet to create,
Yet days of despair were oft it gave mae,
Drink and drugs bound me to that fate,
For that was all there ever could bae.
Days sniffing glue, nights sniffing coke,
The bong fully laaded, ready tae smoke,
A cheap bottle or two of old barley beer,
Dour was life, never much cheer.
No prospects, no job, a life on the dole,
My future was planned, I watched it take shape,
I was slowly sinking into a massive black hole,
And yet, somehow, I still made my escape.
So Mr Lawrence, you can shove your old ta’an,
All it was doing was dragging me da’an,
Escaping for me was a very close shave,
I managed to avoid a very early grave.
Posted in response to a prompt over at dVerse. If you haven’t already, pop over and have a read of some of the excellent work you will find there.