You can keep your Monte Carlo

your islands of celebrity.

Give me Haven Holidays

a blissful week at Allhallows on Sea.


You can keep your crab and langoustines

by candlelight in harbour bars.

Give me whelks, cockles,

a plate of mussels,

chips and a bowl of Haagen Daas.


You can keep your romantic settings,

tropical playgrounds under palms.

Give me a mist on the estuary,

a couple of pints at the Sailor's Arms.


At Allhallows on Sea, you can't catch a train,

the Orient Express is nowhere in sight.

But stone containers go right past

to the terminal on the Isle of Grain.


There's cabaret with the Haven Girls,

karaoke in the bars at night.

and a soap star comes just once a year

who starred in panto, been on Strictly,

his fandangos are out of sight.


You can see the stubs where they planned a pier,

for twenty P you can see the sea

through eye level glasses over to Sheppey,

and scruffy people who watch for birds,

others with dogs picking up turds.


You can keep your James Bond type casino,

there's a corner shop selling scratchcards and Beano.

Vapes and ciggies, there's workers with vans,

less hassle than a trip to Cannes.


I know it's not the Costa Wotsit,

but it's cheap to get there

and cheap to stay,

and you never feel far from Canary Wharf,

much better than Montego Bay.




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Tue 11th Dec 2018 16:12

Martin, great about the seagulls. I spent one caravan holiday killing wasps; a complete invasion. I do like the intimacy of the space for a while. Glad you found a flavour of the past here!

Kate, thanks - that does express it nicely!

Beno, I owe you a full response after all your trouble. I did think the place name has a grandeur to it and it is intriguing, which is in stark contrast to the failed nature of the place as it is. It is certainly off the beaten track. I think you need to read into this a character who has a defensive attachment to seediness and lacking in imagination (not me). Your assessment is spot on. I equally poke fun at both extremes of leisure experience, as I think it fair game. I hope you can rise above the pitfall of me just having a go for the sake of it. (Not the case).

The corner shop has a purpose to serve- at least it is honest and open. That line 27 to me is justification alone for me not owning a dog. I know I sound hard, but it's just a fact in my case. As for bird watchers, I admire and respect them of course. I don't judge scruffiness alone. As for holiday camps, my parents took me, and they were a mixed blessing. I found the travelling by steam trains the most enjoyable bit. I'm not one for ritual, nor regimentation, which was prevalent after the war.

In a nutshell you are right about individual choice how we behave and enjoy ourselves. The fact remains that there are structures that serve us in our pleasures, and some of them are nauseatingly ingratiating at the top end of the market. Again thanks for giving the poem so much thought, much appreciated!
I think I'd better get my coat.

<Deleted User> (19913)

Tue 11th Dec 2018 09:00

Simple pleasures, not always a world away. Love this Ray.

<Deleted User> (18474)

Tue 11th Dec 2018 07:47


Was the title meant to be ironic?
tr.v. hal·lowed, hal·low·ing, hal·lows
1. To make or set apart as holy.
2. To respect or honor greatly; revere.

I’m not sure who’s deriding who in this poem, but for me it pervades the whole thing from beginning to end.
There’s some kind of reverse snobbery from the holiday maker, and the writer seems to be scoffing at the holiday maker.
It all made me want to look away coz its so uncomfortable to read, which was reflected in line 27, about the dog turds.
I always feel a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable when I walk passed someone picking up there dogs turds. I’m not sure why. I always want to look away and pretend I didn’t notice. I got the same feeling reading this poem.

They way the writer has described the 'scruffy' birdwatchers. Ouch!

My Mum and Dad used to take me to Butlin’s when I was little, and it was completely magical. The memories have kind of remained untouched, until now.

I like to do most things in this poem. I love eating fish by the med. I love a pint in the pub by the sea. It’s funny how some people can’t let themselves enjoy all things equally and they confine themselves by their own petty snobbery.


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Martin Elder

Mon 10th Dec 2018 23:03

some evocative memories her Ray I think for anyone of us who have experienced such holidays, particularly those out of season which my family and have often done. Not least because it is cheaper. I can remember a holiday in Cornwall in a caravan with large heavy footed seagulls running across the roof!
Nice one mate

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Sun 9th Dec 2018 19:52

Hi Brian. I havn't been to Haven, but I've done Warners a couple of times and visited Allhallows- rather a sad place that never really became the Blackpool type destination envisaged originally. If you have kids it all makes sense, but Warners are mainly for oldies. In my career as musician I've been to most resorts from Worthing to Monte Carlo, - I'm not easily impressed; it's a great leveller when you have to go through the kitchens.
Thanks for your interest.

Cheers Big Sal, it's nice to be appreciated, really. My darker side (not really, you probably havn't seen that yet!

Thank you Peter. I do have a cold at the mo', but it comes in handy for voice effects! I'm pleased you picked up on the fact that the poem is really just the expression of a certain type.

Thanks Trevor. Yes, I can recall those days too. I once went to the camp featured on Hi de Hi . quite regimented and obligatory fun. Caravans were a move up for my folks, but they did hire them
when I was a kid. I'm sure you have a light footprint.

Season's greetings too Rich, Jon Anya and Jennifer Ray

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Trevor Alexander

Sun 9th Dec 2018 14:34

Takes me back to seaside holidays in the 50s & 60s on a caravan site. Nowadays I do stray further afield, not feeling quite guilty enough about the carbon footprint to stay 'local'!

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Peter Taylor

Sat 8th Dec 2018 15:59

Lovely to hear your voice on this one, Ray - you old sea dog, you. "Gravelly" is a good word but doesn't quite do you full justice, so the sound comes into its own. Your characters are always beautifully put together, well done yet again.
Peter T

Big Sal

Sat 8th Dec 2018 01:08

"his fandangos are out of sight" - I love this line, Ray.

The entire piece was awash in imagery like I can only imagine this place you speak of is.

Well done is often not enough, is it? But excellent sometimes is.?

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Brian Maryon

Sat 8th Dec 2018 00:42

Ray - have you been to Haven? If so I would have expected you to mention the Tiger Club. I went with my wife and kids to Devon Cliffs three times about twenty or so years ago. Great family holiday, Easy to be sniffy about it I suppose.

We're upmarket now,,..Benidorm and Torremilinos. Dos cervesas por favor!

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