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'Back Home to Badsey'

Competitors were asked to write a poem or prose on the theme 'Back Home to Badsey' for the literature cup at the Badsey Flower Show. Here is a selection of the entries reproduced with the kind permission of the authors.

Back Home to Badsey
Tammy Willson

Long before the village appears, the memories flood back. Lining up on the verges of four different routes into Badsey they welcome me home.

Evesham Road reminds me of moonlit walks home with friends after nights out - saving the taxi fare and enjoying the excitement of what felt like rebellion.

If we approach Badsey from Willersey I automatically hold my nose at Poo Corner even though the pig farm hasn't offended my olfactory glands in years!

Badsey Lane transports me to carefree family bike rides down to what is now the bypass, watching the diggers move in and cut a swathe through the countryside.

And then there's the usual route. Through Wickhamford, where every other building holds memories of a school friend, baby-sitting, birthday parties and Grandma. Driving carefully round the last bend onto Golden Lane the beautiful horse chestnut trees conjure up images of children dropping their bikes with gay abandon to throw sticks at the prickly conker cases every Autumn.

Badsey has changed ... No more Post Office opposite St James's Church where my sister and I would take it in turns to hand in Mum's Family Allowance book, no more tennis courts behind Pool House, no more small yappy dogs to terrify us at 'The Colonel's House', no longer a little shop on the corner of Chapel Street and Brewer's Lane where Mrs Wheatley helped me cut forbidden bubble-gum out of my little sister's hair.

Two very special things haven't changed though and will continue to bring me back home to Badsey. The Flower Show - an annual treat - and 'home'. A place where the whole family - this year with two beautiful new additions - will gather to laugh, reminisce, relax in the beautiful garden, sleep well and eat too much. Life doesn't get better than this.

Back Home to Badsey (1)
Brian Smith

There was always fierce rivalry
Between the Badsey team and Bret.
But in the early fifties
Came the fiercest derby yet.

In the semi-final of a cup,
Played on the 'Old Boys' ground,
An epic battle there was fought
With incidents abound.

Badsey Rangers took a two goal lead
And looked set for a win,
Then unexpectedly, a sickening 'crack!'
Heard from as far as the 'New Inn'.

There had been a brutal tackle,
You could see by players' faces
The injury was serious,
A leg broken in two places.

Badsey's inside right was stretchered off,
(The culprit he stayed on.)
Rangers centre half took his revenge,
Sent off - now two were gone.

Bad blood between the players
Had turned the game into a war
With numerical advantage
'Old Boys' were sure to score.

The nine men began to buckle
At half-time the score two-two
The coach addressed the players:
"Now, here's what we must do."

"Let's take Bret, back home to Badsey,
For a replay we can win,
Defend our goal until you drop,
Rearguard action must begin."

Badsey then completely 'shut up shop'
It was all backs to the wall,
The 'keeper made fantastic saves,
Still level at two-all.

With super-human effort
They prevented further score,
All nine men played like heroes
You could not ask for any more.

At last, the final whistle,
Their objective had been met.
The:replay deservedly achieved,
A moral victory over Bret!

When 'Rangers' got back home to Badsey
They won the replay seven-nil
And then went on to win the cup,
Old men talk about it, still.

The above is simply fiction
But certainly not far fetched
These clashes caused the sparks to fly
(Imagination was not stretched!)

Back Home to Badsey (2)
Brian Smith  

I was never a religious man,
I lived a coarse and selfish life
Never gave a thought to my poor children,
And caused misery to my wife.

I'm stuck here with the Army,
Pulled back to this French beach
Trapped like rats inside a barrel
And to the Navy, out of reach.

Hell is raging all around us,
Shells exploding everywhere
Thousands here and more arriving
Thick black smoke pollutes the air.

Darkness is fast approaching,
Standing in water to my chest.
A leg wound gaping open,
So much in need of rest.

A German fighter, screams towards us,
Spitting bullets as it dives
The sea around us turns to red
And many lose their lives.

At this low point, in desperation,
I try to strike a deal.
I ask God if he will spare me
And the details I'll reveal.

"Lord, if you get me back home to Badsey
I will become a different man,
I'll be devoted to my family,
And help others if I can."

"If you get me back home to Badsey
And deliver me from this Hell,
I will give my wife my wages
And not drink them in the 'Bell'."

Not long afterwards, a cheer goes up
The first small ships appear,
Little craft of various shapes and types
Such brave men to bring them here.

These first arrivals soon load up,
Packed to the gunwales every one.
The queues in front reduce a little,
The evacuation has begun.

After a further twenty hours have passed,
My turn has finally come.
"A trip around the bay, please,
Then full speed ahead for home!"

When I get back home to Badsey
I do not forget the deal,
I'm now a caring dad and husband.
They say the change is quite surreal.

Back Home to Badsey (3)
Brian Smith  

I am locked up in a prison cell,
The year is eighteen-thirty-two,
Held awaiting transportation
For a crime I did not do.

I tried to apprehend a thief
He dropped his haul and got away.
I was arrested, tried, convicted,
He did the crime, I have to pay.

I must get back home to Badsey
For I did not do the crime,
And say goodbye to my Eliza
For the last and final time.

The jailer turns his back on me,
I strike him on the head,
Take his keys and slip away
Not knowing he is dead.

I make my way through the County Town
Using dark and narrow alleys,
Away into the countryside
To familiar hills and valleys.

I must get back home to Badsey
For I did not do the crime,
And say goodbye to my old mother
For the last and final time.

Ahead of my pursuers,
I emerge from Badsey Lane,
Eliza stands there by our door,
I must see her to explain.

Wait! - a man comes down to greet her,
They embrace - I've been betrayed!
There is nothing for me here now,
I leave unseen, can't be delayed.

I have returned back home to Badsey
For I did not do the crime,
I wish I could have kissed her
For the last and final time.

Arriving at my mother's house
And hammering at the door,
Her neighbour shouts to tell me
She had died the week before.

Three burley men confront me,
I am clubbed, thrown in a cart.
They say that I will surely hang,
And from my Birthplace we depart.

Yes, I got back home to Badsey,
A grave injustice caused my crime,
And twice I failed to say goodbye
For the last and final time.

Back Home to Badsey
Tim Pinner  

" 'Ow come," Bert I says, " 'as we on'y ever goes to Chelt'num fer an outin'?"

"Well we did go ter Weston Super Mare wunce." 'e sez, "It were like this; we'ud saved ower odd coppers up fer two year fer the charabanc and the crates o' ale in the boot.

"We sets orf and that old bus were a rattlin' along soundin' awful. We'ud on'y got just past Aston Subedge when it gives out an almighty bang and comes to a sudden stop. The driver, 'e gets out and starts a tinkerin' about under the bonnet so we thought as 'ow we'd better try that ale afore it went orf in the 'eat. By the time as that driver told us as 'ow 'e thought 'ed fixed it, there weren't a lot 'o that ale left.

"Anyway, on we goes a splutterin' along on ower way to Weston. It wus about a mile just this side o' Chelt'num when that bus stops agin. The driver, 'e sez as ow Ed after walk into Chelt'num and get a spare part. By a bit o' luck we just 'appened to be by a pub called the George and Dragon so we thought as 'ow we might just as well try out their ale to see whether it wuz as good as that what we'd already 'ad. Well in we goes, and it wuz pints all round. We 'ardly noticed as it were about four 'ours affore that driver got back and fixed the bus.

"'Well' 'e sez, 'it aint the proper part so it warnt last long. What do you want to do?'

"On'y wun thing forrit we slurred - 'Back Home to Badsey!'

"We 'ad such a good time we've been to Chelt'num ev'ry year since."

Come Back to Badsey
A Country Calypso by Will Dallimore

Come back to Badsey, come back today
Come back to Badsey, my darling May
I've loved you madly, right from the start
Come back to Badsey, come back sweetheart.

May and I's been courtin' since we were seventeen
Till she flew to Buenos Aires there to meet an Argentine
His face was on the label of a tin of bullied beef
And as soon as she had seen him she was smitten
But Juan the handsome gaucho was deceiving little May
For Juan he had a lover, called Juan, and they were gay
May wrote to ask for my advice, whatever could she do
I said "May, come back to Badsey, now that Juan and Juan are two."

Come back to Badsey, come back today
Come back to Badsey, my darling May
I've loved you madly, right from the start
Come back to Badsey, come back sweetheart.

May and I's still courtin' though we're now fifty-one
When she left me for a man who ran a pub in Bretforton
His face was in the Journal by a giant round of gras'
And as soon as she had seen him she was smitten
But May became disheartened by his Morris dancing friends
Who prance around like nancies every minute the Lord sends
May rang to ask for my advice, whatever could I say
I said, "May, come back to Badsey, 'fore the BRASS BAND starts to play!"

Come back to Badsey, come back today
Come back to Badsey, my darling May
I've loved you madly, right from the start
Come back to Badsey, come back sweetheart.

Back Home to Badsey
Chris Helm  

Where is home,
When one has to roam?

Is it where I was born in Doncaster,
And spent time as a youngster.

In my youth I lived in The First Garden City,
Which when I left I thought was a pity.

Or is it where one lives now for many a year,
To savour the friendship over a beer.

I am confused where my true home can be,
But I guess at present it is here in Badsey.

Visit the Badsey Flower Show website.

Copyright is retained by the individual authors.