I’ve been lucky and for many years I’ve holidayed abroad, the past few years, however, have been spent in this country.
It was 1968, as an eleven-year-old, when I travelled abroad for the first time, taking that famous 18th European travellers’journey from Balham to the Balearics.
But since the last time I was in the UK for a holiday, I noticed many of the things were no longer there.
Try as I might, I could not find a single knobbly knee, glamourous grandad or best pub singer competition to enter (I was never going try out in a beauty contest – I haven’t got the legs).
Many of the piers, in existence in the early ‘60s, had either caught fire, hit by the storm in 1987 or had sunk.
There were restrictions should have wanted to see an “end of the pier” show – many of the venues required you to bring either your own snorkel, wind-cheater or extinguisher. And if you have a full deep-sea diver’s kit on, then it really would be a slow stroll down the promenade.
This year, the only show on offer was “The Little Mermaid”, but you had to produce a swimming certificate to gain entrance. It was worth it, as Jacques Cousteau was playing Ariel. Red Adair was the prompt.
I was quite skint but fruitlessly scoured the beaches with my Daily Mirror looking for Chalky White to claim my £5.
The weather was good, especially if you were either a duck or trying to improve your Gene Kelly impression.