Monday, April 18, 2011

Sand, Sea & Steamers

My Birthday is April 5th along with Colin Powel, born the same year too. I often used to think I would live forever. Time was a thing you had plenty of, growing up in the 40's there didn't seem such a rush or too much stress at least that's how I remember it. It felt like everything was new and Mum always used to say things will get much better now, no more rationing to worry about, and people going back to work and living a normal life.

We were able to go to the seaside at weekend for picnics etc, A treat was to have a pleasure trip across to Ilfracombe on a Campbell steamer . That was the most exciting thing to do, taking sandwiches and throwing crusts up. in the air for the seagulls, spending time on deck for the round trip and feeling the wind in your hair and the sea air on your face as we made our way on the Steamer to our destination.

Beaches had been cleaned up from any signs of war by then Weston Super Mare was full of day trippers, sometimes I went with my Sunday school class Mum came as well she always sat close to the sea wall, taking time to work out how to put a deck chair together. A blanket was put on the damp sand and equipped with bucket and spade, red spotted woollen bathing suit ready for me to dash into the water. If I can remember rightly the tide was always out you couldn't even see the sea, but it had left little pools of water and seaweed and shells. I liked spending time making castles with the interesting flotsam you could find when the water was way out and you couldn't see it, usually until it was time to go home and we would chase the water coming in. A day was endless to me riding the donkeys, eating fast food of the day, small shrimp, cockles with malt vinegar or winkles like snails, picking them out with pin on the beach, watching Punch and Judy puppets. (Punch was a nasty piece of work bashing people with a stick.) we would complete the day with sand in our shoes, hair with sea salt in it looking like something from Charles Dickens bedraggled but, happy.

We would eventually go back to the train station Mum carrying a bucket with assorted shells and a wet bathing suit dragging a couple of tired kids back to get on the steam train, the rhythm and chugging of the carriage sent us into a contented nap from the fresh sea air.

Going home I felt I had been away for days, and was always glad to go to bed quite happy with the days activity, waking up with sand in-between the sheets and knowing it would be a bath and wash my hair day when I got up. The sea water was quite muddy, apparently quite healthy too with many properties that could cure corns, swelling of the feet and make your hair shine when it was washed the next day!

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