The word 'Staycation' hadn't been hatched in the 60's. Being too poor to do 'The Med' wasn't talked about, and certainly hadn't been buzz-worded into Orwellian Double-Speak to mean 'we could spend big, but prefer an inexpensive stress free jaunt' somewhere in Britain.
Looking back on early holiday memories, and it's the wondrous or horrid that gets remembered. What's that song called Magic Moments with the corrupted lyrics 'I'll never forget the smell of the sweat from under your armpits'...
One of my first trips was with the neighbours, giving my parents a holiday of their own at home. I definately had a bad feeling about this one as I cried all the way. The neighbour had opted for the Greenacres site at Spilsby Rd, and I was scared to death of the buckshot bird scarer in the back field behind the site. Still crying, my sister and the neighbour's daughter investigated the living room cupboard and the cocktail glasses in the sideboard. BANG - the weight of 3 of us was enough to tip the floor that few degrees, and an unsecured fold away bed came down into the room, an inch from braining the 3 of us. Now it was the neighbour's wife who was crying.. They decided to ship out and we went down to the coast, me still crying. On arrival, an electric storm brewed, but the neighbour dragged us out of the caravan so his wife could prepare the tea, and they started a game of football.. FLASHBANG! It's 'lucky' I was in another dimension when the lightening hit. Surrounded by milky whiteness, reality an afterthought, the lightening bolt fizzed next to me. Now I wouldn't stop crying. By the monday my mum made a trip out to collect me, still crying. 35 years later after a dozen years living on a park home site, I came to his brother's site in Horncastle to live. At no.6 . With the shot firer in the back field. First thing I checked were the securing bolts on the living room bed..Skegness Day Trip Album
A further holiday of the same era had a bus with a whining offside front wheel. I was a bit older and entering the Bart Simpson stage. After a few miles I'd perfected the pitch and thrum of the whine and gradually increased the volume surrepticiously, adding a regular knocking noise with my feet that had the driver go pale and start looking in his rearview mirrors for a break in the snake of traffic. BANG. My mum had cottoned on to what I was up to, and 'fixed the bus' with a swift clout and admonishment. One relieved driver. The traffic was bad, the weather steamy, and queues into Lincoln ridiculous, so the driver turned off over the fields through Branston and Bardney, much to the consternation of the passengers - and Horncastle became the toilet break halfway (3/4 way) house. Coming down Thimbelby Hill, my mum remarked at a giant grim rusty barn eyesore. I had a strange feeling. Sure enough, it was my first workplace in Horncastle 30+yrs later. Snaking through Horncastle in the traffic queue, I remember Goodchilds cycle shop seemed a very strange name. Out up Spilsby Road near High Toynton, Mammod traction engines were stationary threshing and bailing corn in the hot sun.
"Mum, it's the Sea"
Clearing the Wolds at Hagworthingham top, the horizon ends...in blue. Like weary submariners, a collective sigh issued from the saunered, broiled, tired passengers. Each dyke and irrigation channel didn't have just water in them, but sea water, sand and shells. Pigeons were replaced by wheeling, shrieking gulls in the fields.
The amusement arcade at the front of the park had a Bingo...
The excitement of the walk up to the beach started with increasing levels of blown sand in the gutter, and the approach to the beach shops with their outdoor hanging buckets, spades, balls, windmills and other brightly coloured tools and toys. The smell of doughnuts, candyfloss and onions gave it that penetrating 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe' unmistakeable definite holiday fun aroma. Mixed with the sea air and hot sand, it was like a sauna and rub down for that bit of the brain that had been in the dark since winter.
I remember my father setting us all on a walk up the beach, and we duly arrived 7 miles up the coast at Chapel St Leonards - to walk back again. The Butlins at Ingoldmells had reams of barbed wire on their back black chainlink fence either side their pass gate. With Colditz on the Tv in the evenings, the term Butlitz was hatched..
The beach and sea area was down many steps in the 60's, whereas today it's now almost uphill over the sand to the sea behind it..
A couple of the holidays involved rendezvousing with my Uncle's family, and I remember a large fun fayre at Mablethorpe with electric scooters that were coin operated with a sixpence - about a week's pocket money per go..
At the end of one particular holiday, my dad phoned a taxi from the site office, and we were overjoyed to see a large Ford Zodiac american type v6 bouncing up the puddled site road. It turned off, several van rows away, and there behind it was a black sit up and beg 1947 Ford Prefect 'vintage car'. It barely had room for the luggage, and at the site gate, couldn't make it over the speed ramp, let alone up the steep entrance onto the main road. My mum and dad had to get out and push.
Present Day Skegness
The town today is quite familiar to previous generations - the tower gardens, the hotels, beach shops. But there's more of a 20th century feel to the shopping, with argos, supermarkets, phone and computer shops. The turbines out at sea are an addition, but I'd always scan the horizon for boats, ships and bouys anyway. The sea mist can arrange itself in startling ways around them, that wasn't always appreciated before, and they're a heck of alot better than a nuclear plant..
For experienced cyclists, Horncastle - Skegness is a pleasant day out, although climbing over the 450ft wold can be a challenge at the 35 mile mark on the way back, the main road having the easiest gradient, and a side gutter lane to near the 'summit'.
Thankfully the beach and water are in a better pollution free state than the sixties, although the water still has the unnerving effect of coming around behind you at High Tide if you've ventured onto the flats to enjoy the surf.