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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Holiday Prize- Part 2

We got to Dover and had a rather nice meal in a restaurant. All paid as part of the prize. I remember having some sort of fish, but I think it might have been Dover sole. Probably never had it before as we only ever had fish and chips at home. We had taken anti sea-sickness tablets for the crossing and as a result the ferry crossing was not much as a memory as I was drugged up with the medication which made it actually worse than being sea-sick! Pity, as I'd have probably enjoyed just taking in the voyage. We got to Dunkirk and then resumed the journey through France. We went past Cologne as we saw the cathedral and at one point the Opel car plant. Strange how you remember such small details, 45 plus years later.

I actually kept a journal of the whole holiday and it was typed up by someone at the resort where we stayed. They must have worked in the administration office or something, and it was printed out for us. I have no idea what happened to this book. Just got lost, unfortunately like a lot of things that get lost when you move house and things get packed up and misplaced. I suppose today I would have written it like this blog and written it as we'd travelled through Europe and over the days of the rest of the holiday. It's so easy to write this on a lap-top, rather than write into a book, as it can be published on-line and have photographs added taken with a digital camera. But this holiday was long before all the latest digital technology. I seem to remember quite a few photographs being taken as well as some Super 8 film, but, there again, I think all this got lost. A real pity as I'd have liked to have included it all in this blog. Today you can so easily take photographs with mobile phones and then up-load them to the internet etc etc via Facebook and other websites. You could take a maximum of 35 shots with a conventional camera and had to wait some time before they were developed. We seem to take for granted that you can take limitless photographs with a digital camera and erase the worst ones and don't have to wait for them to be developed.

When we got to the north of Italy, having come down from Austria through the Brenner pass, we seemed to loose the second bus somehow or other. I seem to recall that the coach we were on was somewhat smaller than the second coach and as a result must have been able to travel faster. We must have travelled together for most of the journey but somehow the coaches got separated. When the slower coach caught up the driver got lost somewhere and attempted to turn round in a rather narrow road and the coach got stuck in the ditch and we had to get out and help push it out. It must have been very embarrassing for the driver as it's not something you want to happen, particularly as it was late at night and we were behind schedule.

We eventually got to Rosapineta Lido and found it to be a rather pleasant place near the sea. Not actually a great deal to do. We spent a lot of time merely relaxing, which was all we wanted to do after such a long journey down through Europe and the fact that the itinerary had been so out of step with the planned itinerary. Also, being over six foot tall and having to sit in the rather cramped confines of a coach which had seating which didn't take into consideration people who were over a certain height (I still have this problem. I find the seating on coaches and to some extent carriages on railway trains do no take into consideration a person's height. It can be extremely uncomfortable. I just want to stretch out, but this seems impossible.) Also, some rather inconsiderate people who were also on the coach with us insisted on making a great deal of mess where they sat, leaving litter around their seats and never cleared up after their children and whenever we left the coach for whatever reason, for toilet stops or to have a fleeting tour of a town or village on the journey through Europe, on returning to the coach  they sat in a different place and we had to sit within their dirty leavings which wasn't pleasant. Just one of the disadvantages of coach travel I suppose.

We made friends with another family, the Cottons. Henry and Sue and their two children who would have been around the same age as my brother Sandy. We seemed to spend quite a lot of time with them over the course of the holiday. They came from Liverpool. When, a few years later, I went to work as an A.S.M. at Liverpool Playhouse I decided to look them up and it turned out, merely by coincidence, that Henry was actually on the board of the theatre! I believe he actually became chairman of the board of directors of the Playhouse a few years later. He was connected to a department store in Liverpool, Owen Owen and was probably manager or something, but I'm not sure exactly. We did keep contact with them over the years and they visited us at Malting Farm a few years after the Italy holiday, but we seemed to loose the contact which is a shame. I suppose with modern technology, for example, the internet, it would be very easy to keep in contact, through things like Facebook.

We went to Venice for a day-trip. I have to say it was well worth all the travel down through Europe. A really unique place and I'd love to have the opportunity to visit again. The only real negative was it was a bit smelly, but apart from that a quite amazing place. I just wish we had the photographs we took. I don't think you can ever take enough.

Another trip was to a town called Chioggia. The company who'd set up and promoted the competition we'd won, Trutex, used this as an opportunity to take photographs of some of their products. I have a feeling my brother was used as a model, but as it's so many years ago I don't actually remember much about it. I don't know what they did with the resulting photographs. Perhaps they used them for advertising, posters or brochures but I'll never know. I don't actually know whether Trutex still exists. I know they were based in a town somewhere in Lancashire, but knowing that most of our clothing is today made in the Far East, and a lot of the old textile businesses in and around Lancashire and the North of England were closed down, I very much doubt it still exists, or if it does, it's most likely been swallowed up by  a multi-national company or conglomerate.

We ate pizza for the first time on that holiday. I'd never eaten any before we went to Italy. At Rosapineta Lido they had a real pizza oven which they used to cook proper pizza. My mother was taken with the coffee and mocha, that is coffee with cream and chocolate on the top. We tried to reproduce this when we got home to England and w even bought pizza but it didn't have the same taste as the genuine Italian article. These are foods we take for granted today, you can get mocha coffee in places such as Starbucks and Costa and pizzas are sold in Morrisons, Asda and Tesco which taste almost genuine and you can order them via the internet or telephone and they are delivered to your door. How things have change over the last almost half-century since we won that competition! I can't imagine my father eating pizza, or any sort of foreign food if it comes to that. He was a 'meat-and-two-veg' man and somewhat stuck in his ways, so i don't think my mother would have attempted to present pizza to him at a meal!

The weather during the holiday wasn't particularly good. I suppose the company got the use of the place we stayed cheaper because I presume it was 'off-season.' We did have some relatively warm and sunny days, but most of the time I seem to remember it rained. I think it rained when we went to Venice, which didn't exactly enliven the atmosphere or add anything to the tour. I imagine if it had been later in the year (the time we went was during the Easter holiday, April I think.) so the weather was much like the weather in England at the same time of year. There again, the old 'don't look a gift-horse in the mouth' comes to mind. It was a free holiday, so we didn't want to let a little thing like the weather spoil things.

So, that is all I remember of the holiday. We returned to England via journeying back through Europe. I used the experience for a presentation at school when I got back, and the whole thing faded from memory which is rather sad and I've never been abroad since.

As a final coda to the above. I have now Googled Trutex and have found that it does still exist as a company. They make mostly school uniforms it would seem. It's based in Clitheroe, Lancashire and they sell a lot of their products through a website, as do most modern businesses. I'm really glad I have found that and that it's still doing business.

If anyone reads this blog and came to this post as a result of what I have posted regarding Trutex or the holiday to Italy, please do leave a comment. I'd be really interested to hear from you, if you were another prize-winner or were in any way connected with that holiday I'd love to hear from you.
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