When we were children, we always went to the seaside for our holidays. We lived in Cambridge and the nearest seaside was Norfolk; we went on day trips to various places, particularly Snettisham which we called Snetchiboom. It’s now the site of a wonderful wild bird reserve, but then I think there were just sand dunes and the beach, and maybe an ice-cream van.
The first holiday where we stayed for a week was in an old gypsy caravan on a farm. My sister and I slept in the caravan, and I think mum and dad slept outside, presumably in a tent. We got milk and probably eggs from the friendly farmer who owned the van and the field it was in, and he told us there was a donkey in the next field… we never found it, maybe it was just a donkey tale! Dad wanted to buy the caravan but I don’t know why he didn’t, maybe lack of money! My chief memory is one of the hens who pecked all around us, coming up and stealing my sister’s breakfast off her plate! She was astounded, angry and upset – I guess she was about two at the time!
After that we went to a holiday camp every year, the Constitutional Holiday Camp in Hopton – long gone and not even a trace of it remains as far as I can tell. We had great fun there and became friendly with another family with children the same age as us who came the same week every year as we did. If you have ever seen the TV series ‘Hi-de-Hi’ then you will have a clear idea of what it was like! After a long while we tried other holiday camps, one at Hemsby and one at Skegness, a Butlin’s Holiday Camp.
Like most families, we got to a stage when we didn’t go away – we moved house one summer, from the east to the west, and by then my sister and I started going away with friends, One splendid summer I went round Scandinavia with cousins, unforgettable, and ever since I have wanted to return. When I went to college I started going on holiday with my new chums and we went to the south of France each year, to Menton… so many happy memories of long weeks camping there! Over the next few years I went to Greece, I went to Singapore, I went back to France, I went to the USA to stay with a friend who had moved to Washington State.
Once I had a family, holidays changed again of course. The year my daughter was one – my little boy a year older, we went to Northern Ireland; little did we realise what this would lead to. For the next sixteen years we went every year – the year following that we went again, not just for a holiday but to see my daughter, now grown up and at the University of Ulster.
In the last few years our holidays have been more intermittent, although we have visited the Netherlands each year, a holiday we really look forward to! My husband and I went to Iceland, and then, last year, there was the big one – a six-week trip to Tasmania… unforgettable…
So holiday plans for this year? Well actually, apart from a weekend staying with friends, we have none!