Conservation Area

The café's been taken over –
prices doubled, meals globalised,
locals expelled, tourists fleeced,
threshold not crossed.

Another eating place,
the one where you worked,
is now a surf shop –
two rooms knocked into one –
the wall I had my back against
gone. I wipe my fingers
through racks of wordy T-shirts,
try to picture my table,
see the way you walked to and fro.

The mad healer's sold his farm,
moved to town, put up a poster,
the laying-on of hands –
well, that's what he calls it.

The lanes are tattooed with skid marks –
PSVs and 4x4s, at double speed,
send me scuttling into hedgerows.
In fields, the herds of cattle
are now herds of horses –
not for the squeamish.

The cliff paths are cluttered
with townies and doggies
and jobbies, no backpackers,
no fellowship, no etiquette, just barging,
flip-flops on footpaths.

At the end of a sad day
I buy drinks in the rebranded pub –
something's missing –
something more than the extra couple pounds
I expected to find in my change.

~ ~ ~