Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Family Summer Holidays- Part 1
My family always went to the same place for our summer holidays when I was a child. This was to Frinton-On-Sea in Essex. It's between Colchester and Walton-On-Naze, which is a few miles further along the coast. Clacton-On-Sea is the next resort down the coast from Frinton. We'd go for two weeks at the beginning of September each year, so I would miss the first few weeks of school. The reason for this was that my father was a farmer and he would want to go once the harvest was over. I think it may have been still being bought in as sometimes he would return home at some point and come back to Frinton.
We went to Frinton basically so that my father could sail. He had his own yacht, Amaranda, which was taken to Frinton, towed by the family car, and was usually stuffed with suitcases and all manner of items found necessary for the holiday. This yacht had been built at James shipyard in Brightlingsea, a town on the River Colne estuary, further down the coast and not far from Colchester. A good many years later we did occasionally have holidays in Brightlingsea and staying at a hotel near the harbour. I can't remember the exact name, but somewhere near the harbour. I know my parents went to Brightlingsea on their own a few times, which was quite a rarity for my mother, not having us children with her. I do remember staying with my grandparents at Mill Farm near Cardington when I was a child when my parents went on their own to Brightlingsea. This, unfortunately, is no more, and is now a business park. Sad to see a farm which has so many childhood memories cleared away to make way for something so mundane as a business park, but I suppose that's progress, or what passes for progress. The Bedford by-pass crosses some of the land.
My parents rented a house in Frinton each year, so, in some ways, it wasn't much of a holiday for my mother, as she still had to run the house very much as she had the family home at Malting Farm in Cardington, just outside Bedford. Also, there would be a beach hut on the promenade where we would spend the entire two weeks of the holiday. She would be organising food, having to do shopping and cooking meals at the beach hut, as well as the house.
My two elder brothers, James and Robert, never came with us. They would stay behind and presumably be involved with the harvest. Robert, in particular, was not interested in the sea, swimming or boats and was more into horses and riding. We would go with my two younger brothers, Sandy (Alexander) and Andrew, my youngest brother by around eleven years. The journey to Frinton has deep memories for me, almost as exciting as actually getting to our holiday destination. I know that now the road there has been up-graded and you drive mostly on dual carriageways that by-pass most of the larger towns and villages, but when we drove there, which would have been in the early to mid 1960's, you would have to drive through the major towns such as Braintree. There were some really narrow bits of road along the way and you would often get stuck behind large H.G.V. lorries, particularly near Puckeridge, which was (and probably still is) a major Sainsbury's distribution centre.