Happy New Year everybody! Christmas is nearly (officially) over. I hope you all had a good one. I’ve been super busy writing a poem a day throughout Advent for my Poetry Advent Calendar which was posted on my Instagram account (@LAOverend) – some of them should be viewable in my feed. But that’s not all I did in December, oh no, there was more…

There’s some moments in life that everyone remembers where they were when they happened. Everyone remembers where they were when they found out that Michael Jackson had died. Everyone remembers where they were when the Twin Towers collapsed and everyone (on O2 at least) remembers where they were when the network crashed for a day. I was in Durham.

I was in Durham trying to find The Waddington Street Centre for a Poetry Jam. It was an open mic night with guest poets (Tom Kelly, Ellen Moran and Henry Raby) courtesy of Steve Urwin, The Writer’s Shack, Talking Pen and the Waddington Street Centre. I wanted to test out my material in front of an audience, but first I had to find the place.

Durham isn’t huge but it’s big enough to take a wrong turn. As the network was out I couldn’t Google where anything was and had to resort to directions. It didn’t help that Durham was having their nativity play in the city centre on the same night so roads were closed, the place was rammed and I had to give way to some camels.

I eventually found the place and was met by a friendly group of people and we chatted, drank tea and ate cake. I watched for a bit before braving the floor but I was met with a warm reception and some applause which was nice. I opened with my poem ‘A Proper Brew’ (see below) and followed it up with the Old Mac Donald poem.

 

A Proper Brew – A Poem by Liam Overend

 

It’s time for a brew, it’s time for some tea

And English Breakfast is the go-to for me

How do I take it? However it comes

Milk with no sugar and biscuits with crumbs

 

But everyone is different when making their drink

I go into auto – I don’t tend to think

And however we make them, there is always one

Who tells you you’re wrong, that’s not how it’s done

 

‘What are you doing? Milk doesn’t go in first!

‘That’s sacrilegious, that’s simply the worst!

‘Everyone knows you pour the milk last’

And other remarks are made in aghast

 

‘You shouldn’t do that, you’ve removed it too soon

‘The tea-bag should not be disturbed with a spoon

‘It should be allowed to sit for three minutes

‘To release anti-oxidants and caffeine that’s in it’

 

‘Woah, hold on sunshine, where’s the teapot?

‘Where is your etiquette? Have you forgot?

‘And why is that milk not being poured from a jug?

‘We didn’t win the war to make tea in a mug!’

 

No matter how you try, some folk you can’t please

Some want a decaf, some want tea-leaves

And although all these varieties can be a strain

If it’s warm and wet, it gets drunk all the same

 

Sometimes, if I’ve left mine too long and it’s cold

I’ll pop it in the microwave, even if a day old

No! people scream. You should make a fresh brew!

Why do you care? It isn’t for you!

 

In all of my years, all the times I’ve been booed

If the tea was too weak, or if it had stewed

I’ve only had one cuppa thrown back at me

He said it was too milky – and I had to agree

 

I’d like to thank Steve, Tom, Ellen and all the others for their kind words at the end of the evening. I had a good night and felt remarkably at ease reading my poetry out to a group of strangers which is reassuring, as I have foolishly signed up for some stand up open mic events in Newcastle in June and July courtesy of Red Raw. I’m fairly confident but I need to up my game which means I have a lot of work to do. A lot!

 

Take care and thanks for reading!

 

Liam

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