Monday, May 5 – Oh we do like to be beside the seaside
The optimism of youth brought a much needed spark of joy into our lives today. Jane suddenly announced at breakfast this morning that it was a Bank Holiday and therefore we should all have a day off from our chores. Stephen joined in from his armchair, where he’d been eating scrambled egg, and agreed with her and said, yes, we usually go to the seaside on a bank holiday.
Martin disagreed at first, saying he never wanted to go anywhere on a bank holiday, because of the crowds, but he wouldn’t mind having a break from work today. Then Anna and Jane said we should leave it to them and we should all be ready to leave at 12 o’clock. I said that would give me time to get ready, so I immediately swept up, rinsed out some washing, hung it out, then stoked up the fires. Martin brought in more dry wood and stacked some freshly cut logs outside. We can never afford to be behind with our firewood.
By 12 we were all ready, the sun was shining and the day was warming up. Stephen was lying on a blanket with cushions in the trailer that is pulled by the garden tractor, when we have petrol. Jane carried a picnic basket and Anna had prepared hats for all of us. She gave Stephen and Martin white knotted handkerchiefs and the girls and I wore straw sunhats decorated with daisies. Alongside Stephen were long forgotten buckets and spades she had found in the shed. Then we set off, pulling the trailer around the garden, till we reached the bench by the big pond, where the girls had spread blankets and cushions so we could recline and have our food.
Jane and Anna had made a feast. We had hard boiled eggs and they had found an old bottle of salad cream as well. They lit a little old barbecue and we had black pudding sausage with fried onions in flat bread, as that was the nearest they could get to hot dogs. We had tea made with water boiled outdoors, served in old tin mugs and we talked about rides on piers, sand in sandwiches and melting ice creams. I nearly mentioned chips with vinegar, but that’s a sore subject at present, so I kept quiet. But when the girls said how they longed for a cornet I suddenly knew what I could do. I told everyone to stay where they were and wait for me. Then I ran indoors, glad I had stoked the fire before leaving, and quickly caramelised sugar in a pan and came back with toffee apples.
We crunched on our apples with our feet splashing in the pond and were so happy, laughing about our own bank holiday.