A Requiem for Coppice Pit

Trevor Morton
11th September 1934 - 23rd January 2003

I believe that every boy needs a private, magic place to which, in childhood, he can retreat to escape the vicissitudes of the surrounding adult word. Later, in adulthood, his memories of this magical place will bring back to his mind the real essence of being a child.

My such place was a little pond, Coppice Pit, where we fished through the endless summer days - and many of the cruelly cold and short winter ones as well.

Having tried to revisit Coppice Pit on a return to Middleton after an absence of many years I realised one of the sad, eternal truths magic places of childhood should only be revisited in the mind!

Coppice Pit is no more - the Langley housing estate now covers its site. Oh how I wish I had never found out!

A Requiem For Coppice Pit

Ah took a walk ter see a mate, lived on this new estate
Wheer they'd central 'eated 'ouses, fitted kitchens, really great.
There was tarmac roads an' garridges, gardens front an' back,
Lace curtins, telephones an' all - nowhere fer t'nutty slack!

An' as Ah walked up Linwood Grove - wheer Birch lane used ter be
An' Ah thowt "At last they've gorrit reet! 'Tis 'ow it oughta be!"
But then Ah got me bearin's an A thowt "Ang on a bit"
"If this lot 'ere were once Birch lane, where the 'Ell is Coppice Pit?"

"Wheer's t'pond Ah spent 'o t'summer days an' 'alf o' t'winter too?"
" Wheer we'd cotch a dozen roach a day - aye! - an' a carp 'er two!"
"They can tear up 'alf o' Cheshire to open th'airport up a bit"
"They can rip o' t'guts from t'city - but they durnt fill Coppice pit."

But they 'ad yer know, they'd filled it in, them Wimpeys an' the like
An' when Ah think o' what that place once were well Ah could fairly skrike!
'Cos it were sanctuary theer from Mam an' Dad, from discipline an' skoo'
An' we'd cotch a dozen roach a day - aye! - an' a carp er two!

Theer was dragonflies o' roun' th'edge an' we'd watch 'em fer a bit
While we knocked off fishin' an.' et our bread at t'side of Coppice Pit.
Some said as it were bottomless - er else an owd mineshaft!
Ah said there was giant pike - but t'rest said Ah were daft!

Some said they 'ad caught pike theer but we knew as that weren't true
But we'd cotch a dozen roach roach a day - aye - an' a carp er two.
It were theer Ah learnt o' caddis flies an' watercress an' sedge
An' a proper gradely skoo' it were, wi' t'birds' nests o' i'th' 'edge.

It were theer Ah caught mi fust big fish - By Gum! it give me pause!
A gleamin' silver monster, across wi' Moby Dick an' Jaws!
An' though if Ah should see it now it'd not mean much no more
Ah weighed it - down at Grimshaw's shop an' that perch weighed one pound four!

Well, Ah worked it out an' Ah found t'place where Coppice Pit once stood -
A Chinese tekaway's theer now! Tekaway ? Ah wish Ah could!
Fer though o' t'kids 'ave their bellies full - fried rice an' thirty two
Wheer do they cotch a dozen roach, much less a carp er two?

When Ah were a kid - no Chinese meals! -
We'd o' goo short a bit
But they can 'ave their prawn foo yungs fer me -
Wheer the 'ell is Coppice Pit?

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