Those Flat Share Girls is a collection of light verse, written in easy to read rhyming couplets, containing an old man’s recollections of his young life in London in the 1960s. It begins in January 1960, when he bids his school goodbye with the thought that:
I knew I’d never use again
A logarithm or a sine
But the trappings of a cultured mind
I knew exactly where to find.
And, not long after this, while strolling to a local coffee bar, he and a friend sense that:
There was a fire about to burn
And of that flame we had both caught a spark.
That warm summer’s evening in Grovelands Park.
And so, life moves forward through the years with the usual parties and musical delights of the superb jazz bands to be found performing in the back rooms of pubs for twopence ha’penny and the emerging electric bands who would sell black rhythm and blues back to the USA. Unfortunately, he misses most of this scene’s excitement because:
Far from the fuss and ballyhoo
I was on my way to Kathmandu
On what became known as the Hippie Trail. Then onwards to a couple of years in Australia as a roustabout ‘swagman’.
A few further adventures follow, an attempt to walk the Pennine Way amongst them; and there are several unconsummated romances along the way until he eventually finds himself ‘complete’ in the comforting arms of a loving wife.
And finally, back in a local park, an old man minding a friend’s dog. He sits observing the changed world of 2022, sixty odd years after he sensed a fire about to burn and ponders contentedly:
There really is no better place
To see first-hand the changing face
Of our noble, ancient ‘Island Race’
Than in a local park on a Sunday morn …