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Charles Devus - disability arts online
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Over Cream Grove - a play in the making... / 14 November 2011

Why must stories come to be? I am currently engaged in a number of projects. Justin Sane is paramount at the moment but there is plenty of writing. The Music of Division is one, and Mad Juffry and Racruarn Light is another. Last year on a train journey to Cardiff, all the people I had known in Wales and all their adventures coalesced into a play. I began to write it and continued writing whilst I was there and on the journey home I realised that I had known so many interesting people when I lived there, that I did not have to invent very much.

Over Cream Grove
In the West of Wales on the Cardigan coast just inland from Cardigan Bay is the small town of Cream Grove. It has a Welsh name but is always referred to by its English appellation. It is not by chance that the celebrated writer Owen Deluge comes from this town and it is no accident that he is lured back there, to be fated and honoured. Despite being the town of his birth Cream Grove bares little love for Owen Deluge and the feeling is mutual.

He has bared the soul and the sores of the people of the town to the wide world. He is the author of the now famous play 'Over Cream Grove'. The title is no coincidence. Nor are elements of its style, for it could not but acknowledge the existence of Dylan Thomas and Under Milk Wood... for Llaregub lies but twenty miles away.

The Beginning, a brief extract from a work in progress

NARRATER: Mervin Jenkins
grocer and neophyte
from chapel shade
and frosted glass
to the sensual faith
of soft women
awakes
to Weetabix and cold tea
and greets the sun of morning
on an uncharacteristic day.

It is an unaccustomed day
for the sun beats down softly
Mediterranean in its balm,
unlike the slate grey,
fate days
laden with depression clouds
suicide wards
of weather
in innumerable shades 
of battleship lead.

Mervin Jenkins
shuts up his sloping house
staggers up the hill
staggered again
one door nearly opposite
The Sea Eagle Inn where
Poyer Grimwade
tottered to his prestigious car
the previous night.

Fumbling for the keys
befuddled and unfit for locomotion
as sergeant Centipede watches
from his waiting vehicle,
its radio squeaking
static and white noise.
Notebook and breathalyser
ready by his side,
hand scanner
and database at hand
like the tools
of a Torquemada,
inquisitorial
to avenge himself for playground wrongs
on sneering Grimwade
with his council seat.

Prefect likes
and tuck shop spiv
who might have been a buccaneer
in a different age.

Poyer Grimwade
former miner,
and stand up comedian,
rotator of the rotary club
and the Red Dragon lodge,
has made disreputable good
and with his treasures
resides now in
grey Achrimanes House,
the medieval pile
that stares in challenge
over the Mill Pond
to Crème Castle
on the hill.

Sergeant centipede,
milk monitor,
long days gone
in the old school now
when little bottles
in their crates
arrived
socialist and beneficent.
Angharin Bevin’s gift
to bones and teeth,
till Maggie Thatcher
snatched them away.

AMANDA: Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher!

NARRATOR: And young Centipede stood
by the congealing milk
with his sticky-out ears
yearning for authority and respect.

He sat at the top table in the class
where Mrs. Campbell
with the iron bun,
who once had a bun in the oven
who grew up to be an inmate
of Parkhurst and the Scrubs,
transsexual and transgender.
He, now she, resides
in Brighton by the sea
and goes by the name of Andrea.

That broke the stony heart
of the mistress till she died.

The town must honour its most famous son and he must return from exile in Brighton to the insular world of Cream with its gossip and its ghosts. For there are ghosts here, both corporeal and otherwise. When Owen alights from the train at Carmarthen he is touched on the shoulder by a certain man. Owen becomes as an illumined torched touching everyone he encounters in the days that follow.

Owen meets many old friends and some not so old lovers. He receives his begrudged award at The Welsh Museum of Sheep. He returns home through London passing through Clapham Junction early on the morning of July 7th 2005. Meanwhile, Dai Pigglet, one time swineherd to Councillor Poyer Grimwade and bondsman to Randy Knob, fails to obliviate his pointless life.