My View, Bill Morrison, Fond memories of the seaside

George Appleyard with his donkeys on the beach at Cleethorpes'c1983
George Appleyard with his donkeys on the beach at Cleethorpes'c1983

It’s bank holiday again. The forecast is favourable to all.

Bank holidays bring some good memories; it was all sun sea and ice cream. A lot of the excitement was the journey to the coast by train or coach, for most of us it was the coach kindly provided by dad’s club. The club outing, pure joy.

Bill Morrison, Chair of Doncaster 50 Plus.

Bill Morrison, Chair of Doncaster 50 Plus.

Little did we know or care that dad had been paying his dues all year so we could have our day out and a little envelope with real money in it. Off we would go, a convoy of coaches to places of great mystery such as Skeggy, Cleggy or Brid. Our arrival often resembled a free-for- all as eager kids were rounded up, had the riot act read to them and dutifully marched towards the beach.

This march was often punctuated by someone’s mother threatening to leave the misbehaving kid there for the bobby to find or at worse his dad was going to kill him. Mother was always in charge. Once on the sand and settled with grown-ups in neat rows of rolled-up trousers, heads adorned with knotted hankies and a short time had elapsed a posse of dads “had to be somewhere”.

Of course we know now that somewhere was represented by a nearby pub or club wherein no doubt the virtues of good ale and sea air were on everyone’s lips.

Meanwhile back on the sand legions of kids would be playing ball, rock pooling, paddling and shell collecting – why I don’t know, I was never allowed to return home with my-sought after treasures.

At the appointed time all mothers would rise up and conduct a roll call of her charges and once assembled a great feast would commence.

There would be great variety in eats. Sandwiches of ham, spam, cheese, often accompanied by boiled egg and limp lettuce (I still dislike lettuce) all washed down with warm lemonade, generally speaking only grow- ups had access to the thermos. Some kids would have posh food like salmon and cake and you would let them be your friend so you could swop a sandy spam buttie for a piece of their cake.

After filling our faces the best bit of the day, the donkey rides and the arcades. The donkeys all had wonderful names, I remember one had a very snooty look about her and was aptly named Cleopatra.

We couldn’t race the animals as the donkey man/woman was often devoid of humour and smiled only when taking your money. Having displayed our prowess in the saddle we would head for the arcade.

Once there you came under the glaring eye of the attendant who I think thought we had come to rob him. All too soon it was time for home. Happy days, till next time have fun.

* Bill Morrison, Chairman, Doncaster 50 Plus group