Tuesday, 19 March 2019

A Little Trip Down Memory Lane


Just a little glimpse into the past.  

A photo of me and my little brother Graham with Aunty Ida and Uncle Harold.  It was their caravan and the time spent with them, that I think started my lifelong desire to live a Smaller life ... and eventually in the same place.

I was four when my brother was born and to give my parents a rest from their headstrong and tomboyish little girl, Ida and Harold would take me, along with my Nana, to their caravan most weekends.  I was a self-sufficient little girl and would play happily on my own while the 'grown-ups' did whatever it was they did ... knit, read newspapers and make sandwiches most days if I remember correctly.  Some days though, we would drive to the coast and sit in the car opposite the sea, eat the sandwiches, drink lukewarm tea from the flask, marvel at the wind, the rain or the waves crashing on the beach ... and then drive back to the caravan.  That bit always baffled me ... why didn't we get out and run along the beach getting wet and having fun?  

Oh well, that's the only time the age divide was ever a problem!

Back at the caravan park I had a best friend in the little boy that also came to stay most weekends with his granny who owned the caravan directly opposite.  Me and Nigel would befriend the newer children on their once a year holidays and show them the ropes, the best places to play and the adventures that unsupervised children could get up to.  We felt like 'old-timers' that knew everything and all the best secret hideouts.

As well as my weekends away, I came to the caravan park for a family holiday each year.  A two-week break that we looked forward to, even in the days of no television, crackly radio and rain, usually rain.  Well me and Graham looked forward to the holiday.  How my Mum felt about this regular break, confined to a small van with two young children for two rainy weeks I have only realised in recent years.

Emptying our piggy banks (a batman bank in Grahams case) in anticipation of the money we had saved week in week out from our pocket money ... 1s 3d pocket money in my case, the 3d always going to the 'holiday fund' the rest being frittered away on Beano's, Dandy's, Bunty's and penny sweets ... being used to buy ice-creams, sticks of rock and a gift to treat ourselves to while we were away.  


There were family walks in the evenings, usually to feed a horse called Fred.  

All the horses were called Fred by my parents in those days, whether they actually were or not I have no idea.  Also, some years Fred changed colour and was brown ... we didn't question the obvious!!


There were days out to the local agricultural show which usually coincided with our annual holiday. 

 I don't know why there are so many photos of us with horses ... maybe that's what put me off horses for life ... being made to feed, stroke and be brave around these huge animals for the photo opportunity it gave my Dad  :-)

And then there were the 'hikes'.  Long, long walks wearing 'pac a macs' and rain-hoods against the persistent rain.   Dad usually saying we were lost and would never find our way back ... was that ever the case, we never knew ... but always feared the worst.  And just as the sweat on the inside of our plastic body coverings made us as wet as the rain on the outside would have done, out would come the sunshine, a safe place to sit would be found and a picnic would materialise.

There's a comedy show somewhere in this little tale!!


Talking of Dad ... please look at my Dad in this photo and not my knobbly knees, I shouldn't have mentioned the knees should I, now you've looked twice as hard!!


Mum will kill me for this bit.

Here she is sat on the edge of Greenhalgh Castle, when you used to be able to go right up the footpath to see it and explore.  You can almost read her thoughts ... why am I here?  

Why am I trapped in a tiny four berth caravan for two weeks every Summer with two bloody annoying children? 

Why is there no heating in the van, no electricity, no television, no running water, no toilet? 

 Why is Syd taking so long to get this bloody photo of me?  

When can I get down off this bloody rock?



Here we all are peeking out of the ruins of the castle.

They were good holidays from a child's point of view and lead to other more 'upmarket' holidays at Pontins as my parents finances improved and we got older.  But it was these holidays and the weekends ... the weekends of freedom from doing anything but appearing for meals and bedtime ... that have always stayed with me, and perhaps nurtured the need for a smaller and simpler life that has been held in check for far too long.

And if you haven't already guessed, the  header photo of the gate leading to the field, leading to a Smaller and Simpler life ... also leads to Greenhalgh Castle.


Sue xx




32 comments:

  1. A beautiful blast from the past Sue, I was wondering where the photo was from.
    By the way I still have knobbly knees. xx

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    1. I think jeans were invented for girls with knobbly knees, we can keep them a secret if we choose ... or tell the world in a blog post or a comment ;-)

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    2. I had knobbly knees as a youngster but have had chubby knees since puberty even when skinny (so not fair)!

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  2. How lovely to have a trip down memory lane. My family childhood snaps ALWAYS involved horses - we lived in Southampton, so days out (we couldn't afford holidays away) would usually be to the New Forest and involved me going "pony chasing"as my dad called it! I was born horse-mad.

    Our sea-side was the pebble beach at Lee-on-Solent - now in Wales we are spoilt for choice with mile upon mile of golden sands.

    Love your header photo by the way.

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    1. A little trip down memory lane every now and then is very therapeutic. Although I have a feeling I will get a telling off from my Mum tomorrow :-)

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  3. Lovely family photos.
    Snap! I am also 4 years older than my half sister and we used to spend lots of time on a caravan site as Mum owned one to rent out in Felixstowe and we had to go there every Saturday for her to clean it between visitors and in summer we would stay for a couple of weeks and got to know all the regular children and some of the visitors - although I was older by then and only interested in the boys!

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    1. Gosh more and more comes out that shows similarities between us.

      I stopped going to the site before I developed an interest in boys. But I could never have made a boyfriend of Nigel,not after so many games of Batman and Cat-woman ... lol :-)

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  4. Some treasured memories and commentary on some very special life forming occasions - thanks for sharing Sue
    Cathy

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  5. Your mum does look a bit fed up, doesn't she! Lovely photos, must bring back lots of happy memories. You did have long legs, Sue - regardless of the knobbly knees!

    Our childhood holidays, when mum and dad could afford them, were always in caravans, and yes it always seemed to rain and we couldn't sleep with the noise of the rain battering the roof and the wind rocking the sides. I bet my mum got fed up too with the very limited facilities in the caravan.

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    1. I did didn't I. I was my adult height by the time I was 13, so I stopped growing and quite a few friends overtook me.

      I remember Mum getting very cross and those 'seething under the breath' arguments coming from my parents as they unfolded their double bed from the sofa each night while me and Graham lay trying to get to sleep in the little single beds that made up the dining end.

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  6. Our annual holiday in the early sixties was always the Whitsun week in a caravan in Bognor Regis. Loved it, Brian and Sandra were the other children we always met up with there. Loved the sound of the birds on the caravan roof early in the morning and the smell and sound of the gas mantels at night. I wouldn't put up with the trek to the toilet and wash block now but it was an adventure then, carrying the big plastic water bottle to fill it. Oh happy memories, thank you.

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    1. Whitsun week was always a special week wasn't it. We never went to the van then as our church held the Whitsunday Walks and I had to take part either as part of the Sunday School (until I got expelled) and then as a Brownie or Guide.

      I HATED the toilet blocks, especially at night when the lights attracted all the Daddy Long Legs and moths to come in the always open windows. But we were very lucky with the water stand-pipe, it was right in front of our caravan :-)

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  7. I have such fond memories of the caravan holidays we had at Black Rocks Sands in the 1950s. It seemed very isolated in those days - I bet it's more commercial now.
    xx

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    1. Most places are much more commercial aren't they. I am so lucky with this park, although things have been upgraded, bridge across the river, heated swimming pool, much nicer nightclub, a games room, more swings and play things for the children. The basic bones of the place are exactly the same. The only thing that's missing is the television room ... there's no demand for an old tele on a shelf with a choice of BBC1, BBC2 or ITV, I wonder why ;-)

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  8. I did have to look at your knees a couple of times once you pointed them out :) My mom has a winter place in Florida that is a trailer in a 55+ community. I love it so much. The first time I went for a weeks vacation I knew I had found home. Mom goes every winter, and I bought it from her a couple of years ago. When I retire it will be my winter place and I cannot wait!

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    1. Haha ... I'll forgive you it's my own fault for mentioning them ;-)

      That's something really nice to look forward to for you, and that's just how I felt when I came back to this park a few years ago for a holiday in one of their flats.

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  9. What lovely memories! My mum and dad had a touring caravan which you could make up a double bed at each end. We used to go on holiday with family friends, 9 of us in all. The two sets of parents had the caravan and us kids camped in the large awning. Me and our friends’ 3 daughters at one end and my brother at the other. I remember it being great fun! And plastic macs for the holiday! (Never seemed to wear them any other time)

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    1. Lovely memories for you too, there's something special about sleeping in a tent or awning, especially with a few other children.

      When I hear the children playing in the campsite across the road from us here in Wales it always brings a smile to my face, and seeing them playing in the trees and with the chickens when I drive past makes me realise that not all families are having all inclusive holidays abroad, some are still holding onto special but simple times with their children right here in the UK.

      Yes, thinking about it plastic macs and rain-hats only came out on holidays didn't they, I used to wish they would disappear ... but they always came out in July :-)

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  10. This was a wonderful post!! Oh, and by the way I have fat knees, and I only wish I had knees as nice as yours! Hee hee...I enjoyed every single photo - it was nice seeing photos of your dear parents when so young. Reminds me to ask my parents to bring out their old photos when we celebrate their wedding anniversary next month.

    So glad you're blogging again, Sue. :) I had never commented on your old blog, but had read and cherished it for years. Have a beautiful day.

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    1. Shhh ... we should really be keeping our knees a secret!!

      When it my Mum and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary (Golden) we dug out a beautiful copy of one of their wedding photos and printed it out with our large printer so it was poster size. Framed in a gold coloured frame it was the centre-piece of the party.

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  11. Very lovely and I am typing this with a smile as I see echoes of my own family holidays - usually in a caravan in Saundersfoot West Wales. The good old British holiday with UHT milk (for which I still have a liking) and dashes indoors during summer showers. Your photos speak of lives up and down the UK in the 70's - thanks for sharing them and I hooted out loud at yoru description of what may have been running through your mother's mind in that photo! So funny.

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    1. Both me and my Mum suffer from 'expressive face syndrome' haha ... if that's even a thing!! What we are thinking shows on our faces for all the world to see, sometimes with disastrous consequences ;-)

      I'm loving that this post has brought back memories for so many of my readers .

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  12. Lovely trip down memory lane, my parents bought their first tourer when I was 5 back in 1960. We used to go away every weekend and holidays were Devon for 1 week and Cornwall for 1 week. I've always been at easy in Vans, we've had 3 tourers and 1 static. My daughter is now following the family trend and is on her second tourer, we go with them sometimes. Re the knobbly knees, the boys used to shout sparrow legs after me!!!! xx

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    1. Yep, my uncles caravan was no bigger than the modern tourers, although his stayed where it was for years as his little Ford Anglia was much too small to pull it.

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  13. This post does bring back similar memories for me. I remember holidays in a caravan in Scarborough. Mostly though we went to Rhyl or Prestatin and the rare day trip to Blackpool, Southport or Fleetwood. I remember the last holiday we had in England we went all the way to Hastings! Mum, Dad and 5 kids ranging in age from 14 down to 6 weeks old! We stayed in a great big army tent that we had to pitch, at night, in the rain, in a farmers field. The next morning the field, including under our tent, was full of mole holes. I can remember mum making a cooked breakfast with a little Coleman stove thing. I don't envy her when I thing about it now. We did go to Windsor castle though and that was amazing. Then we came to Canada and holidaying was different but similar here.

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    1. Lovely memories. Your poor Mum, what a challenge THAT must have been ... camping with a six week old baby, she deserved a medal !!

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  14. Wonderful memories. I remember pulling our camper to the lake every summer, and all of us having a wonderful time swimming, running around, and going to get ice for the coolers. It was the same group every year.

    God bless.

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    1. I love that this post has brought out happy memories for all my readers as well as for me :-)

      The days by the lake sound wonderful. xx

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  15. Awe, I love the photos and so many memories of happy times spent at my parents' and aunties' and uncles' static caravans from my early childhood, through my own childrens' growing up too. I miss the caravans, so much so that we are saving up for one!

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    1. That's brilliant. It's something you'll never regret buying. Even an older one that you can do up would be brilliant ... I have changes in mind for ours :-)

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    2. Very exciting, can't wait to see your changes. Thanks for the encouragement.

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