Last Train


The caravan was dusty and Mum
scoured all the plates before we ate.
I longed to sprawl in nearby dunes, sheltered
from the wind, then paddle in the surf.

Merging with drizzle we braved
the fairground, hunched in raincoats.
Our King Charlie dog kept dry, goggle eyes
peering out of Mum’s large shopping bag.

A treat was eating at the Lobster Pot Cafe,
with fishing net decor. Our window seats
overlooked boats undulating in the harbour;
plates piled with vinegar doused plaice and chips

Slumped in lumpy beds, gas lights flickering
we listened to the hired radio, cheering
when Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group sang –
Last train to San Fernando, last train to San Fernando

Clowning, Dad joined in with falsetto voice –
If you miss this one, you’ll never get another one
Bee-dee-bee-dee-boom-boom to San Fernando.
We laughed, gasping into our pillows.

Today those familiar strains blast out
from You-tube. Forty years later they divorced.
Now both have travelled on in separate seats,
aboard their last train.

© capricorn 2023
Views: 3570
critique and comments welcome.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Smashing, I was lucky my parents and I stayed in my aunt & uncle’s house in Dorset, to look after their chickens while they went on holiday, we spent most days at Mudeford or Bournemouth, but my girls and I holidayed in caravans, and I can remember those lights and lumpy beds. You have written this so well, I can see it all so clearly. Sue 🙂


Those of us with long enough memories will identify with this. Been there done that, but although my family hols back then were on the Yorkshire East Coast it all sounds much the same, even to the dog.
A very nice nostalgic memory jerking walk through time past.


Lovely write you took me back to Blackpool, and Southport in the late forties and fifties. Thank you.

 <span title="Pro Commenter" style="font-size : small; color: red;">***</span><p>

A skilled write, crammed with colorful details so evocative of English seaside holidays. Manages to arouse all the senses – of sound, smell, taste, touch and sight – with its wonderful descriptions.

The ending is unexpectedly sad – yet still beautifully and aptly fits and fulfills the anticipation set up by its title. Excellent piece!

Flag Content