Bristol Temple Meads

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Bristol Temple Meads

Bristol Temple Meads

“Temple Meads, Temple Meads.”
Passengers on the platform shuffle
rearrange themselves to get closer
to opening carriage doors. Steam
hisses out from the engine in great
white and grey clouds. He gets out
asks a porter, “Is this Bristol Central?”
“No, son. This is Temple Meads.”
The young boy gets back on the train.

Next stop, Bath. “Is this Bristol?”
“No, son. This is Bath not Bristol.
You should have got off at the last stop.
You’ve over-run your ticket mate.
There’s a fine for that and you’ll have
to buy a new one to get back to Bristol.”

“But I asked them if it was Bristol Central
and they told me it wasn’t.” “Playing silly
buggers they was, son. Bristol Temple
Meads is Bristol Central, well, sort of.
And you’ll have to change platforms.
Go to the ticket office, over there, tell them
what happened, and maybe, just maybe,
they’ll let you take the next train for free.”

Commentary: Funny place, Bristol Temple Meads. I heard lots of funny things, all told in a West Country accent, or fluent Bristolese, while I was passing through there. Loved confusing passengers, they did, but more about that later. As for accents, well, the West Country accent and the Bristol accent are very different, but neither go well into prose, “coz, thee’ll never git a gurt big ‘ead like thine in a tiny l’il ‘at like this.” Thank you, the Wurzels. And as for reading and writing accents, click here.

Bristol Temple Meads
[Prose]

“Temple Meads, Temple Meads.”
The train slows, comes to a halt with a hissing of steam and a shuddering of brakes. Passengers waiting on the platform shuffle towards the edge of the platform, re-arranging themselves to get closer to opening carriage doors.

A young boy, not yet a teenager, gets out carrying his grand-father’s overlarge suitcase in his hand.
“Is this Bristol Central?” he asks a porter.
“No, son. This is Bristol Temple Meads.”
The young boy gets back on the train along with the other Bristol passengers who are travelling to Bath.

When he gets there, the young boy gets out of the train and again approaches a porter. “Is this Bristol?”
“No, son. This is Bath not Bristol. If you wanted to go to Bristol, you should have got off at the last stop.”
“But I asked if it was Bristol Central, and the porter told me it wasn’t. So I got back on the train.”
“Playing silly buggers he was, son. They’re like that in Bristle. Bristol Temple Meads is Bristol Central, well, sort of. He should have told you that.”
“What can I do now?”
“Well, you’ve over-run your ticket, mate. You’ll have to pay extra for coming on to Bath. And you’ll need a ticket to get back to Bristol. But it’s Temple Meads, mind. Don’t let them fool you again.”
“I won’t.”
“And you’ll have to change platforms. Tell you what, just go to the ticket office, over there, tell them what happened, just like you told me, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll take pity on you and let you take the next train for free.”

A question: Is the piece better in poetry or prose? Each version serves a different purpose, but I think the narrative rules. I’ll welcome any opinions you care to share.

 

4 thoughts on “Bristol Temple Meads

  1. On accents, Bristolian is very distinctive as you say. I was at a supermarket, in Sydney a few months ago and the assistant had a strong accent I said ‘ Is that a Bristol accent I hear ? She said I was the first customer ever to get it right!
    Funnily enough yesterday I jeard my own voice one word with a bit of an Aussie twang. The Scottish relatives say I sound Aussie not here I was asked not long ago ‘Are you English or just posh?’
    On the pertinant question I prefer the poem

    Liked by 1 person

    • POSH: the ships to India … Port Out, Starboard Home. That’s POSH for you. I have so many accents I’m a parrot. Nobody knows where I come from, but they all know I’m not local. I did a lovely story, three accents: Irish, Welsh, and English. Wonderful. Two minutes with someone, and I end up talking like them As my friend from Jamaica said: “Are you taking the p*ss?”

      Like

  2. I was there last month, and was equally fooled! I wonder how many have been confused by that over time? A great little story. Chuck

    On Thu., Jun. 20, 2019, 11:18 a.m. rogermoorepoet, wrote:

    > rogermoorepoet posted: ” Bristol Temple Meads “Temple Meads, Temple > Meads.” Passengers on the platform shuffle rearrange themselves to get > closer to opening carriage doors. Steam hisses out from the engine in great > white and grey clouds. He gets out asks a porter, “Is this Bris” >

    Liked by 1 person

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