This blog isn’t about anything important. I wrote it after reminiscing about childhood holidays in the 50s and 60s when life for children seemed to be much more fun (honestly). This was touched on in a tweet by @JeniHooper referring to this.
When I was small we went on summer holidays to the seaside. My dad worked for British Railways (as it then was), he would have been a fireman then. We definitely still called them firemen way after being an actual fireman was what they did, but that’s beside the point. As an employee he got seven free tickets for his family each year. He was also restricted as to when he could take his annual leave so we tended to go on 2 single week holidays, usually to stay in a caravan, or occasionally a chalet, at a holiday camp. Having the transport paid for was, of course, a huge advantage. It made the holiday much cheaper and we could go as far as we wanted. This meant we often went to the south coast rather than just Bridlington or Cleethorpes like most of the families from our bit of South Yorkshire. One year we stayed at Rockley Sands in Poole. Our caravan was close to an inlet and right by the train line. For the first night, we all sat up in bed every time a train went past, by the second day, we barely noticed them. I’ve actually found where it is on Google Earth, though that part of the camp now seems to be a boat house.
We also went to Penarth (Lavernock Point), Sandown, Brixham, Rhyl as well as northern resorts like Bridlington and Mablethorpe. I have hazy memories of various caravans, caravan camps and chalets.
Once we were there, we mostly went for walks or played on the beach. I honestly can’t remember bad weather but I do remember the cosy feeling of being in a caravan and hearing the sound of rain beating down on the roof so my memory must have edited out the boring days. If there was a swimming pool, I swan, or attempted to while my brother played in the arcades. He discovered that the pennies often got stuck at the top of the chute when they were paying out so he would go round rattling the bottoms to dislodge any of the stuck coins.
Of course, this was all before the days of plumbing, or even electricity in caravans. Showers were taken in a shower block, water was fetched from a tap nearby in a large container and lighting and cooking were by (calor) gas. We still had a cooked breakfast on holiday though and I still associate smoked bacon with summer caravan holidays. There was normally only one bedroom and the table generally converted into a bed. If you rented a chalet though you had a few more amenities.
What else can I remember?
- Oh yes! Half an hour (okay, it may have been slightly less but ages anyway) of watching through the caravan window as someone tried, and failed, to put up a deck chair. It was like watching a comedy sketch.
- Missing seeing the Queen Elizabeth from Sandown when my brother cut his head open while we were racing around a bench on the sea front.
- Playing with two great danes belonging to the camp manager in Wales.
- Other than that it was sea, sand and donkey ride
When I was about 15/16 my parents bought a caravan at Primrose Valley in Filey so the family went there and soon after I went to university. That’s a whole other story.
I just hope my children’s’ memories of holidays are as happy as mine are. And that yours are.