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Thois Child Hood Memories

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Now, here's the problem. When you live in THE most land-locked city in Britain, i.e. Birmingham, you can look at holidaying in two ways.



1. We can go ANYWHERE, since we're not near the seaside to the north, south, east or west. OR...


2. We should take our beloved children on an aeroplane to somewhere sunny and exotic. It's what modern families in the 1970s are doing now.

OR you can ignore both of those and go to Wales.

Wales, Wales, Wales. My parents were relentless in their exploration of this rainy paradise from about 1968 until I was old enough to afford my own air fares.



And yet, looking back, these are the memories which come immediately to mind when I recall my childhood. This is me and my older brother in the sands at Newport in Pembrokeshire in 1970.

I was 3 years old and just pre-tomboy by the looks of the chic, retro, towelling bikini.

I don't remember it raining all the time. It certainly didn't seem to keep us away from the beach.

My overwhelming recollections are those of sun-filled, barefoot days on the sand, picnics and flasks, racing through the prickly sand dune grass to find the most giant dunes to jump and roll down.

We always had a party of around 7, plus dog. My mum and dad, we kids, my aunty and the two nans. The latter would install themselves with deck chairs and blankets close to the minibus and help themselves to tea on tap.



Meanwhile, the 'youngsters' would pile on to the beach for game after game of Bowls, launching the colourful green, red and yellow balls across the wet sand. When we were done with that it would become a French Cricket match. I invariably lost and sulked, but the memory that has stayed with me for 40 years is a good one.



And then there were the rock-pools. The bright orange coloured nylon line, tightly wound around a stick or a piece of wood.

My dad and brother could easily be absorbed in this pastime for hours on end, forgetting the picnic and the rising tide, and finding solace in the rhythm of the waves and the stillness of the pools they left behind.

I, of course, was afraid of everything.

The seaweed, the tiniest of crabs, even the fish gasping for air as my brother hauled them out of the sea. I was truly in awe of the way he used to gently and efficiently use his small fingers to remove the hook from the fishes mouths, and how he irritatingly, yet skillfully picked up even the most monster-like of crabs from the rear without getting pinched. He regularly made me scream and run.

He would place his hands into the rock pools beneath the seaweed and under the rocks. Even sitting here today this makes my skin creep. How did he know what was under there?!! This adoration of my big brother seemed to grow into tom-boyishness for a few years.

As this picture ably demonstrates, I even dressed like him. Yes, that is me and I am a girl (left). The haircut was my mother's idea. It clearly didn't help.

 

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