We had a caravan when I was growing up. No, not one of those wonderful static caravans, no we had a box on wheels, so summers were spent setting off in the dead of the night to the English Riviera.
Well before seat belts became compulsory, my parents would pack the cool box, the pillows and the duvets to make the back seat in to a makeshift bed for my younger brother and me and once we were asleep they would gently lift us to the car and start our adventure.
Often the we woke to the sound of cars thundering by, as my parents had a cup of tea from the thermos flask in a lay by before setting off again on what seemed like a never ending journey to the other end of the country. A place where the sun shone and was much warmer than our little patch of the North East.
Once we arrived at our destination we were dispatched to the park on the site whilst the van was prepared for that night, only returning when our stomachs started rumbling. Left to make friends and leave the parents alone, so that they could open up the wine and get the windbreak pitched.
I remember these trips fondly. Of baths in buckets and cold showers. Of share toilet blocks and running in the dark and cold for a pee in the middle of the night. I look back on the endless days playing swingball with my dad and my mum managing to cook a Sunday roast in a caravan oven and I want to repeat them with my children.
I grew up with regular visits to the English seaside. Where you needed to have a windbreak and a great big towel for once we came out of the water. I have memories of being in the sea in a blow up dinghy connected to my dads arm by a long piece of rope, of having the freedom to rock pool and build sandcastles. The great big moats filling up as the tide came in.
The Breakfasts were always cooked by Dad and we would have sausages, bacon and eggs fresh from the closest farm. We never had to have cereal like at home. Holidays were special. A break from the norm, something to be cherished. e feeling of sand between by toes and often between my teeth too.
I used to hate the holiday coming to an end, I used to dread the packing up. I loved spending time with my dad and this meant that he would be returning to work. I was a real daddy’s girl and we would be inseparable for most of the holiday.
We would always stop at a farm and pick up bags of plums and other fruit before making the long journey home, once home we would make jam or “sunshine in a jar” as it became known to me as a reminder of those heady days of high summer.
Those care free, heady days of the 70’s, where everything seemed to be orange or brown or it is in my memory, but I wonder how much of that is due to the orange hue that the photographs have taken over time.