by LOUISE COMPTON When Kevin Raymond decided to turn his hand to poetry, he was determined to write about real life.

If that meant writing about fish and chip shops, his family and Chelsea FC, he would do it.

The 50-year-old, of Elmwood Avenue, Borehamwood, has spent the last couple of years compiling a book of his poetry.

He said: "I suppose I'm not the most typical poet. I'm a working-class man from a large Irish family so it's not what people expect of me.

"I loved writing poems when I was at school in Pimlico, but I didn't start writing again until about five years ago.

"The poems in my book are seen through the eyes of a young fella growing up in south London, because that's what I was, and that's how I remember things," he added.

The book, entitled What More Can I Say, features a selection of Mr Raymond's work, including the quirkily named Blooming Gooners and The Day Henry Lost It.

In one of his personal favourites, My Brother's Priorities, Mr Raymond recalls a snapshot of his brother's life.

He writes: "The game's hard, me money's down, I'm fed up driving round London town.

"The cab needs a service, the kids need to eat, gotta buy clothes and put shoes on their feet.

"Times are tough, what more can I say, I know let's book a holiday."

Mr Raymond, printer by trade, said: "I write a lot about my family and friends, and at first I thought they might be annoyed, but it turns out they love it.

"At the end of the day it's like what Oscar Wilde said, 'There's only one thing worse than people talking about you, and that's people not talking about you'.

"It's funny, because when I go back to the pubs in Pimlico, I see these blokes reading my book and they're not the sort of people who would usually read poetry.

"But I don't kid myself that they're simply appreciating my work, they're probably reading through the poems to see if their names come up," he added.

All proceeds from the sale of What More Can I Say will go to an Irish homeless charity.

For copies of the book, send a SAE and cheque suggested donation of £5 made payable to The Aisling Project, KTP Printers, Unit G, 37 Princelet Street, London E1 5LP.