Thursday, 21 July 2011
Are we nearly there yet?
From tomorrow lunch time over 14 million cars are expected to take to the roads in the UK as Britain's schools are out for the Summer and more people than usual are holidaying at home because of the recession.
I suppose Southerners will be heading North for the hills and Northerners will be heading South for the sun, but wherever they are all going, one thing is certain - the roads will be clogged, there will be delays, any amount of colouring books, games and various things they stick in their ears to hear their favourite pop groups, the children will get fed up with the journey long before you arrive at your destination.
Here this week, the weather has been awful. It is very cold and there have been torrential downpours. On Tuesday a friend and I were going up a hill (there are plenty of these in the Dales) when there was what I can only describe as a cloudburst. Torrents of water came down the road - it was quite scary and we pulled off into a gateway until the worst of the storm was over. At our destination - only a couple of miles further on - there had been no rain at all.
So anyone planning to come North should bring plenty of rainwear and plenty of warm sweaters. I suspect, looking at the weather map, the advice would be the same for anyone going South too.
How much simpler it was in my day. (yes, I am obviously turning into a grumpy old woman). Then 'abroad' was something completely outside our radar; our holidays were set in stone. We had no choice as to when to go - it had to be the last week in July because that was "Trip Week", the week when all the big engineering works in Lincoln closed down, the furnaces were allowed to get cold, the big steam hammer was turned off and everyone had a week's holiday with pay.
Some families just had days out, others had a week away. That week for us was always at Skegness, our nearest seaside place. I would pack my little suitcase with my green knitted bathing costume with daisies embroidered on the front (and yes, it did stretch alarmingly when it got wet), my little plain sun hat (oh how I wanted one with flowers on it), summer frocks, cardigans and rainwear, and we would wait on the platform of the station in our village for the Skegness train.
I don't remember it ever being late. We would climb on and find a compartment. I would sit down quickly by the window so that I could watch when we passed our house across the fields. My dad would put my bucket and spade and my suitcase on the rack and we would settle down, looking out of the window at the familiar scenery as we went along the thirty or so miles to the seaside. It was always exciting when we got there because it was the end of the line and we used to go along to the front of the train to see where it was up against the buffers - it could go no further.
The sands are endless at Skegness - the sea is about a mile out and never gets anywhere near the promenade, so it is totally safe. Were there wet days? If so I don't remember them - all the days seemed to be long and sunny.
We continued this until I was well in my teens as the photograph above shows - me with my Mother and Father, snapped by one of the seaside photographers that haunted the promenades in those days. Note my father still in his collar and tie and jacket - he would never be seen in his shirt sleeves.
We always stayed at the YMCA along with two other couples from our village and I love the happy photograph of the three couples obviously enjoying themselves. It was taken in 1948 and shows Mr Applewhite (never a Christian name there), my mother, my father, Mrs Applewhite and my parent's friends Alf and Edna. Alf was really pushing the boat out here in his open-necked shirt and braces - happy days!
I must just point out that by the time that photograph was taken I was not still wearing that knitted bathing costume!!