4th February 2010 :

DISTRIBUTION WORKSHOP HOLMCROFT COMMUNITY CENTRE

These are our memories we helped make this book . . . read it here

Open publication - Free publishing - More holidays

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF of the Seaside Memories Book

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Inside the book cover are two CDs containing MP3 tracks of all the memories.


Workshop 1: Project Introduction -This is how it all started . . .

Phoenix Over-50s Activities Club

Holmcroft Community Centre, 12th February 2009.

To listen to our stories click here 

John Price
Workshop leader John Price - dressed as 1960s holiday camp comedian - starts off the project at Holmcroft Community Centre on 12th February 2009 at the Phoenix Activities Club. 

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Rosemary Henderson:  Phoenix Over-50 Activities Club

 

Planning a holiday with my boyfriend Duncan was how we came to get married. I went home one Christmas and my mother said, ‘You’re not going on holiday with that bugger unless you’re married to him.’ That was the thing in those days.

We got married in 1956, lived in Blackpool and went on holiday to Jersey. It was the first time we’d flown anywhere. There were four of us: Duncan and I and our friends, Gordon and Brenda. One night Brenda and I went up to bed. We’d had plenty to drink because drink was very cheap in Jersey. I got into bed and then Duncan came in looking very much the worse for wear. ‘What’s the matter with you?’ I asked.

‘I’ve had three Corpse Reviver cocktails,’ he said, ‘and I don’t feel any better at all.’ He dropped everything except his black socks on the floor and got into bed. About two minutes later he stood up. This was before the days of en-suite bathrooms and he ran around the bed and out of the door. I went to the door and couldn’t stop laughing. All I could see was a pair of black socks and two white cheeks running down the corridor.

Many years later, Duncan and I were on holiday to Aberwstwyth with out two sons, Ian and Mark. While Mark and I went horse riding, Duncan and Ian went fishing. When we met them on the quayside, Ian came running up with a string of mackerel. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I’ve caught five mackerel.’ Duncan came up after him looking a bit abashed, ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I’ve lost my false teeth.’

After that we spent a holiday in Dubrovnik on the Adriatic coast. We went out in a canoe and I didn’t realise that Duncan couldn’t swim very well. He tipped the canoe up and everyone else thought  we were standing on the bottom when in fact we were in 15 feet of water. He lost his glasses that time. I told him there must be a shark swimming around somewhere with false teeth and a pair of glasses.

On another seaside holiday the four of us had been camping in Boulogne in Northern France. We’d been living on instant meals because we didn’t know whether we’d have enough money for the local food. It was the last morning of our holiday and I was cooking egg and chips, which is a very tasty dish after you’ve lived on instant meals for three weeks. Then Duncan lost his comb. Well, we’d all taken his comb: we’d pinched it; we’d hidden it; we’d done everything with this blasted comb. We were all fed up to the back teeth with him – until he reached for the salt and squirted Fairy Liquid on his egg.

 

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Richard Smith:  Holmcroft Phoenix Over-50 Activities Club

 

I was born in Stafford in 1937. Every year from the end of the war I used to go with my mother and father to visit my grandmother in a little town called Southborough between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

The journey was always predictable. We would go on the same day, always taking the same train to Euston: four hours with no toilets. Then we’d take the underground and finally the bus to Southborough. We would walk up Meadow Road to number 78 where my grandmother lived, calling on the way to see one of her brothers.

At number 78, my uncles in their youth had a little shed at the back of the house where they sewed cricket balls. They bought in the casings and the core and sat and hand-stitched the balls. The lady across the road also sewed cricket balls. It was the cottage industry in Tunbridge Wells in those days but the art has long gone.

The holiday itself also followed an entirely predictable pattern because we did the same things every year. We would visit Southborough Common, where my father played cricket when he was a lad, and visit a little pub set in the woods. We would go to the seaside at Brighton and Hastings on the electric trains. For some reason my mother never went with us on these trips but my father and I would just walk on the sands. I remember Brighton had the first electric railway on the beach and some of the tank traps were still there. Very strange structures they were with the reinforcing bars made at BRC in Stafford where they also made the reinforcing bars for the Mulberry harbour, the temporary harbour that was floated out for the Dunkirk evacuation. We also went to Tunbridge Wells at least twice and we’d visit The Pantiles where the spa was. The locals thought the spring water was magic water but although you could have it with orange juice, I thought it was quite horrible. In all the years I went, I never drank any. That’s probably allowed me to live for such a long time.

I slept in the same room at my grandmother’s and she had a book on soldiers with a foldout picture of a battalion of guards. Every year I opened that book and looked at that picture. I always thought Southborough was a magical place because the soil was a golden sandy colour. The garden was the same layout every year. Runner beans were growing in exactly the same place the last time I went as they were when I was a little lad. Everything was the same and if anybody had altered it, it would have spoiled the holiday.

My father died in 1953 and after that there were no more trips to Southborough. My first holiday on my own was to Blankenberge on the Belgium coast. I stayed at the Hotel Miramar on the sea front. It was the first time I’d been out of the country and in those days you were only allowed to take a certain amount of money with you. When I came back from Blankenberge, I went back to Southborough and stopped in the hotel overlooking Southborough Common. I remember thinking that in all the years I’d been coming to Southborough I’d never been inside the place and now I actually had a room there. I thought I’d finally grown up.

 

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Anne Williamson - Holmcroft

A holiday in the Shropshire countryside in the 1940s. 

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Happy are the memories of the summer holidays we would spend with my mother’s sister in a house situated in the countryside. Water had to be carried from a pump situated in the lane. All cooking was done on a large range which had ovens either side. The house was lit by paraffin lamps and the toilet was a brick building outside with a bucket covered with a large wooden seat with a hole in it. Of course this had to be frequently emptied into a large hole in the ground at the top of the garden.
    My trick of the day would frequently be to use the door to get into the toilet, lock it on the inside and then crawl out through the gap below the door. I would then go with my sister across the lane to my cousin’s farm to play. Some time later I would hear my Auntie and Mother shouting “ANNE! ANNE!” I knew for sure that I was in dead trouble as no one else was small enough to get through the gap under the door. But I continued to do it.
    Those carefree days were wonderful, meeting up with our many relatives. The novelty of having no utilities was great for us children, but looking back I certainly could not live like that now. Happy Memories!

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'Yon lion's just eaten our Albert . . .'
Holmcroft was a new venue and a new group:
The workshop was very lively with lots of stories and memories bubbling out right from the start. Recordings of those vivid memories took place in April 2009.