Here’s an extract of a piece written in another context.
The more I read it, the more I realise it carries a significant amount of truth. Holidays in the sixties often meant a week at a seaside resort.
“You know, like the one you remember from your first family holiday in Blackpool when all your hard-working parents could afford was a place away from the seafront run by Mrs Ramsbottom, a formidable assertive giant of a woman yet to discover the delights of under-arm deodorant.
But it didn’t matter. Your parents were doing their best for you. Remember-first up could use the communal bathroom before everyone else added to its distinct fragrance with their morning constitutionals.
Unless of course, that vulgar, grey-suited man with the bulbous nose and the two fat daughters had been on the great white phone due to one too many Double Diamonds at the Horse and Bucket the previous evening.
You remember your mum saying that he didn’t seem to be married. Then on the day of departure, you saw her lugging all the cases whilst he strode ahead glancing at the cleavages of the cleaning staff.
The holiday itself was memorable. You were riding the trams, going up the tower and waddling on donkeys.
You were treated to fish, chips and ice-cream every day. And Timothy, your little brother, now transformed from a whining brat to something resembling a small sample of humanity was only sick once.
It was a spectacular sick.
As the tram clattered towards the south pier, his poor little face turned green as he pebble-dashed the seat in front. Dad did his best with his handkerchief while mum managed to scoop most of it into a brown paper bag with her pink plastic comb.
“Don’t feed him any more shrimps love,” she suggested before realising there was a particularly shrimpy bit of vomit attached to one of her brand new shoes. Dad heroically removed it with his spare hanky.
“Since when have you carried two hankies?” Mum asked. Dad did a little boy scout salute:
“Be prepared,” he chuckled.
At the water’s edge on a blustery Tuesday afternoon, Timothy was refreshed and cleaned with handfuls of seawater:
“Don’t drink it, Timothy, else you’ll be sick again.” Dad washed his hanky, squeezed it dry and placed it back in his pocket:
“Good as new,” he said smiling at mum before opening a fresh packet of Woodbines. He sat down in the sand and looked out to sea relishing the combination of clean salty air and the smoky satisfaction of his cigarette. Despite the newly documented perils of smoking in the sixties, it just seemed good and pure. At that moment, he was a million miles from the dust and noise of the shop floor.
Mum, momentarily distracted from the perils of poor Timmy, reached across and turned over dad’s collar:
“What you doing woman?”
” Walter Talbot, did you only bring one shirt?”
Walter looked astonished.
“And where could I have put another shirt with you and your perishing vanity case?”
“Well, at least you could wash the collar tonight” giggled Mum.
“No,” Dad replied, “with any luck it’ll walk home by itself.”
Timothy then asked for an ice-cream. Everyone sighed.”