The Lifetime Of A Holiday

Hey everyone. As today is Glasgow Fair Monday I thought I would write a poem on childhood memories of what Fair Monday once meant and how Margaret Thatcher killed this great Glasgow institution.
You see it didn’t matter wheather you went for a fortnight to the Costa Del Sol or day trips to the Costa Del Clyde everyone went on holiday during the fair fortnight. Coming up with a title for this poem was never going to be easy so I gave the task to the respected folk musican Bob Leslie who came up with the title The Lifetime Of A Holiday. I must admit I really like this title as not only does it give a twist on the Holiday Of A Lifetime idea it also illustrates the fact that the fair fortnight was destroyed by the Margaret Thatcher led Conservative Government. I hope you enjoy what I believe will be both a nostalgic and thought provoking read.

The Lifetime Of A Holiday

When I was a child
fair Monday meant
day trips to the coast
Largs, Salcoats, Troon,
Girvan, Ayr
In the hope it never rained
and I could build sandcastles on the beach
avoid getting too much sunburn and sand in my sandwiches

At the end of the day
just before the journey home
the family would often get tucked in to fish suppers and ice cream
exhausted I would sometimes
fall asleep on the train
back to Glasgow
a city that shut for a fortnight
till the summer of 79

I was 18 that summer
my birthday came before
the start of the holiday
on Fair Friday
my dad lost his job
in the place he had worked
for 30 years
a grown man wept tears of anger
not just for the weekly wage
but at the closing of the gates
on that rain soaked day

Apart from a brief spell in a bakery
in the early spring of 81
the engineering inspector never worked again
like hundreds of thousands of others
comrades, sisters, brothers
the sun had set on his working life the man whose job defined his character

A pedant and perfectionist
my dad was among the first casualties of Thatcher’s crusade
on that fair Monday we made a last trip to the coast
knowing it would rain
and that the Glasgow holiday would never be quite the same again

@ Gayle Smith 2015


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