I can remember being so very excited. I was a very fortunate child because despite my mother being a single parent, I don’t remember wanting for anything which she thinks is amazing now when she knows how much we struggled. At times she was working two jobs just to make ends meet but I can remember my sister and I being very happy.
Holidays were a huge deal for us but they weren’t anything fancy. My beloved nanny moved back to Bexhill-on-Sea when my grandpa died as that’s where all her siblings, my wonderful great aunts and uncles as well as cousins lived. This of course meant that each summer, my sister and I would go off to Bexhill and spent two wonderful weeks being spoilt rotten by the lot. Nanny and Auntie Edie (which we pronounced deedee) would greet us with cauliflower cheese and jacket potatoes and we’d spent the fortnight traveling on buses with picnics, watching magic shows on the sea front, being swung upside down in the strong arms of Uncle Bill or singing with Uncle Ron and being taken for treats with cousins Karen, Paul and Sonic. It really was idyllic and utterly perfect.
We’d also have wonderful holidays in caravan parks with mum too – we used to love going to Haven Holidays and being part of the tiger club. To be honest, the adults hardly ever saw us as we were off on adventures with the reps. I can still remember half the tiger club song and the actions now.
We never ever felt like we were missing out and actually I don’t think ever really thought about going abroad. So when at 12 we were told we’d be going to Spain with mum and my step-dad it was all a bit intriguing to be honest. We’d never flown, never been anywhere other than good old England so didn’t really know what to expect. We weren’t going anywhere really commercialised but to Costa de Almeria in Spain and honestly we couldn’t have asked for a better first holiday.
We stayed in gorgeous white washed apartments which seemed to shine against the blue skies. We spent our days by what we called our “secret pool” so named because it appeared that not many of the guests knew it was there and most wanted to be down by the main pool. As good swimmers, my sister and I spent hours, swimming, diving and snorkeling in that pool with our parents laughing and watching on and occasionally popping in for a dip too.
We wandered around markets where thanks to our dark hair, eyes and instantly olive skin we were mistaken for locals which we thought was hilarious. We visited the beach and sat under parasols made of leaves and when snorkeling in the sea. We even hopped on a coach trip to Grenada which was incredibly beautiful even though the coach journey itself scared us half to death thanks to the dramatic cliff drop on one side of the road.
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