Holidays in England
Our holidays were always within the UK - only the rich went overseas - and always to the West coast, for a week.
Blackpool was our all-time favourite. It had wide expanses of sand (when the tide was out), reasonable shops, and cheap holiday accommodation. The highlights for us as kids were Blackpool Tower, the donkey- rides and Punch-and-Judy puppet shows, all on the beach, and the famous Blackpool Illuminations that stretched along the foreshore.
On one occasion, we arrived for our holiday, and while Mum and Dad went to unpack we kids went down for a swim (well, paddle). We had our "costumes" on under our clothes, and we peeled off our clothes, threw them on the sand and ran to the water. The tide was well out but on the rise.
The tide there as on most English beaches was quite large; sometimes it was quite a walk to get to the water. After the "swim" we returned and discovered all of my nice holiday clothes had disappeared in the water (everybody else's were still there)! Mum and Dad were not impressed, as we had to go to Marks and Spencer's to buy a new outfit.
Other favourite places were Fleetwood, Southport, and Rhyl.
In winter there was always the chance of snow, and when it came we'd drag our sled (tobogan) or, if we didn't have one, find a friend who had one, and head for a nearby hill.
Snowmen and snowball fights were always on the menu. There were unwritten rules to snowball fights, the main one being that the snowball must be of clean, soft snow, not partly-melted snow
or "slush" which became very hard when made into a ball.
Another activity was skating on the pond mentioned earlier (without skates - they were too dear for us), but if the ice was thin this could mean falling through into the water underneath.
Not very deep, but rather cold. And then, there was the matter of getting dry before your parents found out, which needed a fire.
Of course, there was a different "level" of holiday-makers, those who went overseas to escape the cold winters, but I was never a part of that group.
Holidays in Australia
When we came to live in Australia, we settled in Carrum, Victoria and our back gate opened onto the beach. We'd heard that Australia was a place for year-round swimming so on our first
day, which was a fine October day, we pulled on our bathers and went for a swim.
We were amazed by the distances travelled here. Some trips were 1000km or more each way, something you couldn't possibly do in England, although many were of course shorter.
Aussie Christmas time
Christmas in Australia is in summertime, so quite a few things are different from in England. For a start, since it can sometimes be over 40deg Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) it's not always a
good time for a roast dinner. We still like to have a roast, but this may be served cold with salad. Obviously, there's no snow around, so free days are spent at the beach or looking for
cooler places to sit.
Magpies, for most of the year, are quite placid, even friendly, and their warbling song is beautiful. But during November to January they have their breeding season and can be quite
aggressive if you pass near their tree. It's quite unnerving to be walking along thinking about lunch and suddenly feel the slap of their wings on your neck, accompanied by a peck on the
head from their sharp beak.
For more discussion on how and where we travelled, go to the Transport page.