Monday, 9 August 2010


I don't know how it has happened, but somehow August has sneaked up on me and here we are nearly a third of the way through without me even noticing that July had come! August is the traditional month for family summer holidays as the schools break up towards the end of July and the next term starts quite early in September. It is much the same in France only more so. Paris and other large cities more or less close down for all of August. At least England stays open.

When I was a small - well, smallish - child, our family holidays were always spent at Broadstairs, a seaside resort in north-east Kent, where we stayed for two weeks at Mrs Ponsonby's guest house. Mornings would usually be spent on the sandy beach, then back up the hill of the High Street to Mrs P's for lunch, after which it was back to the beach for the afternoon before traipsing back up the hill again. Up the High Street there were the shops full of interesting things like buckets and spades, beach balls and shrimp nets, kites and gliders made of balsa wood cut-outs through which one had to insert the wings made of cardboard, and embarrassing Donald McGill postcards. There was also the marionette theatre were we would spend an hour or so on a wet afternoon. The High Street came down almost opposite the pier, which was really a solid jetty curving round to provide a small mooring place for the odd fishing boat or two and pleasure boats of the "Any more for the Skylark?" sort. It had to be our father who took us onto the pier as my mother suffered from sea sickness just walking along it. At the other end of the bay there were rocks to scramble across while looking for interesting creatures like crabs in the pools the tide left behind.

One thing my brother and I always looked forward to was the evening when we were allowed to stay up late. We would go out after the evening meal and walk along the cliff-tops to Ramsgate (the next town along the coast) where we would see the illuminations (much superior to those at Broadstairs) and - joy of joys - have a knickerbocker glory.

Years later, with young children of my own, the holidays were in north Devon where we stayed with Mrs Longman in a small village not far from Westward Ho! (The exclamation mark is part of the name of the town.) The children thoroughly enjoyed the wide open spaces of the sandy beach which was far less crowded than the sands of Broadstairs had been. We continued the tradition of taking the children out one evening and allowing them a little time in a playground before having an ice cream sundae of some sort. I wonder if they still remember that?

These reminiscences are all Nana's fault. She commented on the latest Scenic Saturday blog that she is planning a holiday and that put the thoughts into my head.

My brother and me with our father on the front at Broadstairs, circa 1950.

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