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Sunday, 10 April 2016

A-Z: I Remember....Journeys & Joining

I Remember When......
Recalling Memories of My Childhood

 We lived outside Blackpool, the famous north west England  resort, but  our summer holiday JOURNEY was to Bournemouuth on the south coast, where a close friend of my mother (known as Auntie Phyllis)  had moved to open a hotel. 

It was a long journey, through industrial Lancashire, before the days of motorways.  My younger brother and I hated crossing the swing bridges over the Manchester Ship Canal at Wigan and Warrington with visions of them swinging around whilst we were on them.  We would crouch down behind my parent's' seats and hide our eyes. 

Other journeys involved crossing the Pennine Hills  through the Peak District to visit my aunt and uncle in Sheffield, passing over the Snake Pass;  and  in the Lake District going over the  Kirkston Pass - we must have seemed such wimps, but we hated the twisty, narrow roads and sudden drops below us, so it seemed safer not to look out,  until we reached  safer ground.

This was long before the days of electronic games , Walkman and I Pods - I don't think we even had a car radio. To pass the time, we did the usual car games of I Spy, I went to the seaside or the market , and bought A ...B....C ...etc.. and making up silly sentences from the registration numbers of cars and also making up silly songs.  My father was a commercial traveller (sales rep.) for the Beecham Pharmaceutical Group and one ditty we came up with - and I still remember, was: 

There was a hermit in the hills
Living off his Beecham Pills
He ate two in the morning
And two at night
To make him feel so merry and bright.

We usually stopped somewhere for a picnic, prepared by my mother.  One notable time, she excelled herself by making chicken pieces instead of the usual sandwiches and a fruit tart - and left them all behind in the pantry at home!    We had to stop somewhere and find a cafe for lunch.  My father got the blame here, as he was always chivvying us get a move on and get away, though my mother had all the packing to do (a typical 50's demarcation of tasks).  We returned home a week later to discover the chicken and the tarts covered in fur - this was before the days of us having a fridge. 

Like all children, the excitement of the journey quickly turned to boredom and the perennial question was voiced   "Are we nearly there?" 

Another J: 
Were you a "JOINER"? I have my mother to thank as her example left me an important message on how to make friends and become involved in a new community. I was in church and school choirs, in the Leprechaun Six as a Brownies, and in the Scarlet Pimpernel Patrol as a Guide. I later moved onto play an active part in local music groups and history groups.

[JOBS will feature in O for Occupations]

 Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. I remember playing lots of car games. We looked for license plates from different states. We played 20 Questions. Sometimes we identified items from the alphabet IN ORDER looking out the window on our side of the car. Fun times! Now kids just watch a movie.

  2. We used to all sing on our car trips. As I got older I learned to play the ukulele and I wold accompany our singing. We played games also. My grandkids watch movies also.
    I too am a joiner - choir, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, etc
    Good word for the letter J ;-)

  3. Thanks, Wendy, for the alphabet game, I must introduce it to my granddaughter.

    I do like the idea of the ukulele, Diane. There is a ukulele group in my own village. My husband enjoys the vintage films of George Formby who was famed for playing the ukulele.

  4. Wigan and Warrington have come up in my research too.

    I learnt the Arabic numbers through number plates when on a "journey" in Egypt :)

  5. I remember,her those games too, though we didn't own a car, but we travelled long distances by train. I also remember nagging my kids "have you got X,y or z" and rushing around and forgetting my own X,y, z! I had a good chuckle at the chicken pies. Not sure demarcation of tasks has changed that much ;)


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