There are many factors which may bring a revival of families taking a seaside holiday in Britain, i.e. the “credit crunch”, airport delays, weak pound etc. I hope they will leave children with the happy memories I have of the family holidays we had. Until I was sixteen I had never been out  of Britain.

 While the war was on we always went to Mablethorpe on the East coast. After my father and the uncles were demobbed we started going to Trusthorpe , a bit further up the coast for most of the August holidays.  There were three branches of the family, cousins of my Dad and their families and us so a basic core of six adults and eight children but we had visitors who came for either a day trip or for a few days, so we were quite a crowd. We stayed in a big old house which belonged to another distant cousin. There was a housekeeper and her elderly mother and teenage son, who were permanent residents. The mothers were there all the time but the fathers only had two weeks holiday and the rest of the time were there just at weekends.

It was a very simple holiday, we still had three meals a day as usual, and in between we played on the beach, cricket rounders, digging big holes, making sand castles, all the usual activities. When the tide was in we played in the sand hills and if the weather was bad we played board games.

We spent very little money. Once a week we went into Mablethorpe where there was a small funfair. I loved the slot machines and became quite skillful on them. One I was good on paid out 2 old pence or a cigarette and a match and my brother and cousin David paid me to win these for them. They then took them into the sand hills to smoke them!

Another tradition was for us all to be taken to a machine on the promenade where the attendant would weigh  and measure our height, test our vitality and heartbeat! This was done at the beginning of the holiday and on the last day. Maybe they wanted to confirm that their efforts had had a positive effect:)

If the tide was right Dad took us swimming in the sea before breakfast and then to a kiosk on the promenade for hot tea. As we marched along the promenade he used to say, “Take deep breaths and fill your lungs with good sea air for the winter!” For a long time I believed this air was circulating around my body for months afterwards.

Because we were already a biggish crowd we attracted even more children to us which all added to the fun.

Another weekly treat was a vist to the variety show given by the permanent cast who were there for the whole season.

We went on these holidays for about seven years until the great tidal flood in the early 1950s. Sadly this damaged the house so badly that it had to be demolished. They would  probably have finished anyway as my brother and some of the cousins were getting too grown up for them, but while they lasted we had a wonderful time, and I would love to think that today’s children would enjoy them too, though  so many of them are far more sophisticated than we were, and would find them too boring, but you never know, maybe they wouldn’t.

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