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Once uon a time, there was a Tavern 2



I came out of the Accident Hospital on November 23rd, I remember lying in bed staring up at the ceiling unable to sleep, My Dad not wanting to leave me alone must have lay there awake listening to my moans..
People never told me that even with your eardrums burst there was still a roar going through my head that seemed like it would never end..
I remember the most awful thing of all...the smell of my hair that had been reduced to a small frizzled stubble..I had taken several pieces of glass under my right armpit, one through my knee, my left eye (thankfully missing the eyeball itself) a few more in my leg and one to my hip...
On the whole...I'd much rather have been in Philadelphia...
I remember my family coming to see me over the next few days...My Uncle Les, a huge man being reduced to tears as he hugged me.
My Uncle Tommy Brennan, unable to face me because he was Irish...silly, silly man, I loved him very much.
I made my way up to the Bathroom to try to get myself cleaned up, when I looked in the mirror at my peeling and burned face, I felt like crying..
I was a 22 year old man with no hair and a scabby face...bloody hell, did this mean I'd have to start supporting the Villa soon as well?
Various friends came down to see me , my closest friend Alan told me how much his Mom was worried about me..his Mom? she had been like one to me too..I knew I had to payher a visit just so she knew I was alright, I caught the 55 bus to Cole Hall lane to see her..I remember people looking at me then when I met their eye...they turned away..
My friend Steve C had taken worse injuries than me, thankfully like mine though, only minor...he came out of Hospital, two weeks later..Steve G fared a little worse..he had been out in the open and taken half a beer glass into his back..paradoxically, the further away if you survive the blast...the more shrapnel came at you....I remember meeting up, the 3 of us, collectively the worst hair styles in history..
I was off work nearly 5 months while I recovered, I wrote earlier I have never once dwelled upon it...that was a fib..my first drink in a Pub post Tavern was when my friend Steve C's brother in law took us up to the Skylark on Castle Vale, I remember sitting down all calm and collected as we waited for our drinks...as he bought them over and I lifted it to my lips, I began to shake like a man holding a Pneumatic drill ..it took me another 3 months to get over it.
I said I never lost friends in the Tavern...I did..but not like you'd think.
With the money from The Lord Mayors fund, From Criminal Injuries, From Collections at the CO-OP dairy where I worked, plus local pubs, the Erdington round table, we were paid thousands..the equivilent easily of 2/3 years wages by todays standards..There were 7 of us with such riches..now, think of our other friends who had arrived late and missed it...they never saw the pain...only our money..
one of my closest friends who was in there with me...well, it happened like this...
We had received 500 pounds pre Christmas to spend on what we will..I was also on full pay from the Dairy as well as various collections..(free milk, eggs, pop etc..thanks Harry! )..in the March..my second large payment landed on my doormat..it was for a 1000 pounds..hurriedly I ran round to my friends house to see if he'd had the same...as I showed him my cheque all excited (remember if, you were on 40 pounds a week then, it was the equivilent of 6 months wages now)...He looked at me and said the most devastating line I'd ever heard..'You should have died in that place'
His postman had not yet been..He tried to apologise a few days later when the Postman called a few hours after I'd been round.
Sorry, I'm a bit petty, I wanted and still dont, any of it.
Its burns day (no, not the Rabbie one) at the Accident hospital in bath row..
There I am feeling all sorry for myself, scabby face, no hair (growing back mind)..really poorly fingers that had been directly out in the blast.
When a young girl sat down beside me..I couldn't tell her age, it could have been anything from 13 to 23...she told me that when she was 10, she picked up a can of petrol that her dad had used to light a bonfire..
You want to know her ambition?
She wanted a nose again..
My name is Les Robinson, I wont write about the Tavern anymore..I only did this because even 29 years later, I am still thoroughly ashamed of myself