Tuesday 10 August 2010

Go away for the day

The school summer holidays are almost over and, apart from my long weekend in Ireland to catch the tail end of the family holiday at the start of the hols, I didn't take any time off until last week. Not that the weather has been particularly enticing during July and the early part of August.

After a good start to the summer, my cricket schedule was rather impacted by a rainy July. It didn't stop us lifting the Parks Trophy for the fifth time though! We'll gloss over the Terry Newcombe Trophy Final defeat, but at least we got to the final in that one too. I'm the only SLCC player to have played in all five Parks' finals and, as a non-League cricketer, I'm justly proud of my contribution, even though I'm fast descending into veteran category. I was pleased with my 4 overs for 17 in the final. The pressure was off a little but I still had to deliver for us to close out the win.

Sharon is going to Bracknell for a couple of days so I'm taking the opportunity to have a mini holiday-from-home with the boys, along the lines of the holidays we had when I was a child. From '72 to '78 inclusive we never had a holiday of any duration. We just used to "go away for the day," which typically meant a bus down to Paisley Gilmour St. station and then a train to somewhere on the Clyde coast. Largs was our preferred destination and usually featured twice in my Dad's fortnight off work for Paisley fair, at that start of July. It would also be the destination for other bank holidays, notably the September weekend, when we might even experience the thrill of returning after dark!

In August we'd also go to Ayr, Troon, Prestwick, Gourock and sometimes across to Dunoon on the ferry, which was quite an exciting trip. Curiously we never went to Millport, or Rothesay, though I would avidly study ferry times for these exotic destinations in the hope that some day we would be able to afford to strike out to island shores (I believe my only trip to date to the Isle of Bute was at the age of four months. I have no memory of it.) Similarly, Stevenston, Saltcoats, Ardrossan and West Kilbride were only ever experienced through the smeared panes of the hourly trains which transported us to and from the coast. Lesley and I used to compete to be the first to see the sea just after Stevenston. The "Nae Tick" graffito which adorned the faceless clock at the run-down Fairlie station used to elicit a chuckle from my parents but was lost on me. By then I was anticipating the climax of the train journey: a lumbering, clanking, shrieking passage through the tunnel which culminated with a re-emergence into daylight and a brief view of the Pencil and Great Cumbrae beyond as we made our final approach to Largs station.

In 1978 we had the luxury of Aunt May's car on loan which enabled us to visit multiple destinations in one day (gasp!), take alternative, non-rail, routes to the seaside (thrill!), discover places north of the River Clyde (shock!). We drove to Luss and Arrochar. I had never seen a mountain that close up before. We also broke the mould in 1976, going through to Edinburgh for the day, which was such an event I had to dress up in my Bushes Primary School blazer. We finally did get to Millport in 1979 and exceeded my wildest expectations by looking at a couple of places and booking a holiday for the August fortnight at a place called Tivvendale off Ferry Road. Having never spent a night outside my own house since we stayed in a house in Nelson St in Largs in 1971 (Sharon finds this nigh on impossible to believe, given her experience of staying with relatives and going on holidays), it was a very big event to be packing a case and sending my bike over to Millport by carrier for what felt like my first ever holiday.

Sean, Finn, Rowan and Angus: you don't know how lucky you are!

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