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!!


MorningAJ said...

There's a photo of my mum and her mum and dad walking along New Brighton front that looks scarily like that. Things couldn't have changed for decades! I must dig it out and put a few of the old family photos on here.

Dartford Warbler said...

A lovely post. Happy memories!

For my North Lincolnshire mother and her family, the destination was Cleethorpes. I have a photo of a smiing Mum and her sister, in their teens, astride patient old donkeys on the sands. That must have been in the 1930`s.......

Tomorrow will be grim and gridlocked for all those travelling on the British roads, but it will be worth it when they get there!

mrsnesbitt said...

Oh yes - we will see the Whitby road packed from now - difficult for us to pull out safely - so we'll turn right instead and turn round at Scaling! Good point! Dxxx

Elizabeth said...

I do love your summer hols memories.
We went to the Isle of Wight where the sun ALWAYS shone and my hair was wet from before breakfast until I went to bed.
We were forced to have a 'rest' after lunch --what torture!
Dad wore his Western Desert shorts and brown plimpsolls and he was white beyond white and when he went swimming (once every summer!) he turned quite blue. How we laughed at him!
Happy days indeed.

Pondside said...

Lovely memories. We camped for our holidays, wherever we lived. For the years we lived in Germany my mum and dad took us to beaches in Italy and Holland - endless sand! I don't ever remember eating in a restaurant - my mum made endless sandwiches and tea on a little stove outside the tent. We thought we were the richest family in the world.

Heather said...

I had one of those awful bathing costumes - probably responsible for my dislike of swimming! I love your old holiday snaps and recognised you straight away. I have a similar one with parents and grandmother at Thorpe Bay in Essex. They were indeed happy days, and so straightforward. We don't go far by car till school starts up again. Happy hols!

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful post today.
How different looking back at the time when the whole group of people had to take their vacation at the same time. But then again you knew when the vacation was coming and could plan.

Love the photos. Lovely memories.

Oh course I have to laugh at the fact it is summer and your wearing coats.
It will reach only 100 today in Tucson and in the high 90 for the next few days. Wow a cool spell !

cheers, parsnip

steven said...

our holidays when we lived in england were chester, wales, blackpool, and sometimes into derbyshire or yorkshire. never south of crewe though! steven

H said...

For years, we went to my mum's friend's caravan at Thornham on the north Norfolk coast. We played on the sand, fished for crabs in the harbour and picked apples from the orchards at Sandringham. Every morning, my Dad would send me down the lane to the house which sold the newspapers, while he and mum cooked the bacon and egg for breakfast. Wood pigeons cooed endlessly in the huge trees alongside the site. The sound still transports me back instantly!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Yes, that all sounds incredibly familiar. Substitute Hunstanton (Hunston as we called it) for Skegness and you've got my early holiday memories too.

Golden West said...

How lovely to see a photo of you strolling along the promenade with your folks - thanks for sharing!

Hildred and Charles said...

Lovely memories Pat, both in your post and the comments. We rented, or borrowed a cottage at the lake for two weeks, - my father came down by train for the week-ends. I have a most frightful picture of us all in our bathing suits in the late twenties, but they were wonderful times.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely photos! When i was young, we had regular holidays in Cornwall, Bournemouth and Northumberland.

Titus said...

Wonderful memories Weaver! It was always Cliftonville for us (the posh end of Margate!). Annual pilgrimage for a family of seven for nearly a month, it seemed, in several cars and a meat lorry bringing the luggage!
And I'm doing the big journey South with the boys on Sunday. I hope things have calmed down a bit by then!

Dave King said...

I remember knitted bathing trunks - and packing luggage into a large trunk which Carter Paterson collected a week or so before we left by train for the South Coast. Usually the trunk was there when we arrived!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely holiday memories from everybody - I suppose we all only remember the sunshine and the golden sands - just as well though.

Thank you for replying.

Mary said...

This brought back so many fond memories of the Summer hols. Although we lived at the sea and didn't have to travel far, we did ride the train from one station to the next on the way home, have those awful wooly bathing suits - and pink plastic tie-under-the-chin bathing caps, ouch - and my Dad always wore his tie AND a fedora!

Loved your story. Mary X