Childhood Holiday Memories.
I don’t have a very good memory at the best of times, so I thought it would be quite a struggle to think all the way back to my childhood holidays to produce this piece of writing.
So with this in mind I set off to my Mum’s house where I made a cuppa, grabbed some old photo albums and headed out to the garden where the caravan is tucked away in a quiet corner. Notepad tucked under my arm I was ready to do battle with my brain and drag up something from the depths to help me out. Turns out I didn’t need to worry too much. As soon as I opened the door of the caravan it hit me. That smell. That lovely warm caravan smell that only caravans have. I can’t even find the words to describe it as there is nothing else quite like it. I sat down. Closed my eyes and I was right back there in my childhood, on holiday and here is what I remember from those days.
I spent my childhood holidays with my Mum, Brother, Nan and Gramps. My Dad is a dairy farmer and summer is his busiest time of the year meaning he couldn’t come away with us. We always went to the same lovely caravan sight in Swanage.
My Grandparents had taken my Mum there with her brother when they were little and just last September my parents took me there with my two little ones. It still has the same magical feel to it and we all had a great holiday. We’re heading back there again in a few weeks time.
As a child going on holiday was the main event in our year. We were so excited and the journey there seemed to take forever. My brother and I would spend most of the journey checking that the caravan was still attached to the car and playing I spy. Whereas my Mum and Nan would be running through lists in their heads to check they hadn’t left anything behind. Once we had arrived at the site, Gramps would whisk us off to play in the park whilst Nan and Mum set up the van and unpacked the car.
Once this was done it was off to the beach for the afternoon, fish & chips for tea then back to the van to snuggle up for warm milk, a story and bed. We were far too excited to sleep and it was always so hot in the van. The week of holiday stretched ahead of us as if it would go on forever. Eventually we would fall asleep.
The things that stick in my memory the most are snippets from all the different holidays over the years. I think what has helped me to remember some of these happy times is the passing of my lovely Gramps in May 2014. It was a time for quiet reflection and bought back many memories of the happy times I had shared with him. The majority of these times were during our annual holidays.
I remember the red bumpy slide in the playground at the campsite; my brother and I would go down it hundreds of times a day and it was great fun. On our holiday last September we found that the same slide was still there and now my daughter was playing on it. It was a very special moment for me.
I remember us getting to the beach really early one morning to find it totally deserted. Jackpot we thought. Where was everyone else? Then the heavens opened and we were soaked through. We all huddled under the picnic blankets and two small umbrellas waiting for the storm to pass or at least ease off. After what seemed like hours we decided to make a dash for the car and we got drenched. Once we got back to the van we all had warm showers and sat around playing board games for the afternoon. Did the rain ruin our day? Not in the least, ‘holiday rain’ never seems as bad as the rain at home. To this day I can’t recall experiencing rain quite like it.
I remember us all going for walk and finding a small stream with algae covering the bottom. We used sticks to scratch our names and date into the algae, and then had to go back every day to check our names were still there.
I remember days on the beach that seemed to go on and on. Building huge sandcastles, digging holes, playing cricket, collecting seaweed and shells, paddling in the sea ,eating ice cream, rockpooling, kite flying to name just a few of the fun things we would get up to.
I remember the excitement of going to watch the Swanage Carnival. It was dusk as it started. My brother and I felt so grown up being allowed to stay out so late. We were totally engrossed by all the amazing floats that were going past. We would usually fall asleep on the short drive back to the caravan site, then be carried into the caravan to bed. No trouble getting to sleep at night as the week progressed.
These are just a few of the most vivid memories I have from my childhood holidays. There are so many others. Too many to write down now.
Did we spend a lot of money on our holidays? No, less than £200 for the whole week. Did we travel thousands of miles by plane to our destination? No, about 65 miles in Gramps’ old Nissan Bluebird. Did we have wall to wall sunshine for the week? No, but we made the best of the weather we had. Would I of changed anything? Absolutely not. They were some of the happiest of times I can remember.
My hope for the future is that my children have holidays as happy as I had. That my children can see the adventure and magic in exploring this amazing country. I hope they can find joy in the simple things as we did. I hope that I get the opportunity to help make amazing memories for my children so they can look back in thirty years’ time and remember times fondly as I have been able to.