School Summer Holidays 1961, Day Trip to Portishead
Dear Diary, when I think of Summer holidays, when
I lived at the cottage, I think of Portishead:
Most of the Summer, we played either up the lane at the back of Woolworth's, playing at cowboys and Indians, after the Saturday mornings visit to the
Cinema, to watch the Lone Ranger, or other Westerns.
Or we would play cricket or rounders in the back
lane. Then there was roller Skating up and down
the pavement of the street, or marbles, which got
quite involved, especially if you ended up in the
gutter. Playing in the street, was normal back
then, we never feared getting run over, or having
the fear of Paedophiles, or Perverts, no in the
village of Shire, there were hardly any cars and
it was so small, that every one knew every one
We never had a car, when we lived at the cottage,
so a trip to Portishead, was a real treat. Mum and
Dad always let me take a friend for company, I
always took my best friend at the time Jill, she
lived in one of the bigger three bedroomed houses, on the other side of the big lane, from where I lived.
The night before we were due to go, I wouldn't be
able to sleep, because I would be so excited. Mum
would always make the sandwiches the night before,
so she wouldn't have to worry about it on the day.
We would get up very early, I would have my breakfast, then call for Jill, then we would be
ready to go.
The walk down through the village was fun, we would
go past the cinema, checking out the film that
would be shown, on the following Saturday morning.
Then we walked past the Library, then it was my
favourite bit of the walk, down past where the
very rich people lived, I had a friend who lived
in one of the big old Victorian houses, her whole
house was huge, but then I was small, but I remember her bedroom being almost the size of our
living room and dining room put together, she had
bay windows that looked out over the huge garden.
I used to say to Jill, "one day I'm going to live
in one of those big houses," but I never did.
When we got down to the Portway, it was a busy main
road, so we would all hold hands to cross over.
There were no traffic lights back then, so you
would just have to be very careful.
Then we would walk down another road and under a
railway bridge. We would end up at this pub called,
The Ferry was right outside the pub garden, it was
great fun, walking down the slope to climb into
the Ferry boat, which then took us across the
River Avon to Pill. We would climb out at the other
end and make our way to the bus stop.
I found out much later, that men who missed the
last Ferry home, after a drinking session in the
Lamplighters, would actually swim back across the
River Avon, apparently one man drowned trying to
Anyway once on the bus, we would be on our way. I
cannot remember how long it took us to get to
Portishead, but we would travel through some lovely
countryside, a real luxury for my mum.
When we got to Portishead, it would be packed with
holiday-makers. We would go up and walk along,
what we called the seafront, when in actual fact,
it was just the Severn Estuary, but I didn't know
that at the time.
There was a park, with all the usual things like:-
swings - roundabout - see-saw and slide, it was always a fight for the swings and the see-saw, it
was as if everyone wanted to go on at the same time, there would be a lot of tears, because you
could only have a short time on each ride.
Then there were the pedaloes, they were my favourite, Jill and myself would have races around
the lake, you would have to pedal like mad to get
We would have our picnic up on the grassy bank,
with all the other picnicers. Once we'd eaten our
sandwiches, mum always let us have an ice cream,
'the high light of the day.'
My dad would then take us out on the big lake in
a canoe, that was fun and a right laugh, especially
when we would get stuck by the central island, but
once my dad got the hang of rowing, we would be
The grassy bank, was a great place for what we
called, roly-polying, we would get covered in
grass stains, but it was great fun, all the children did it. We would start at the top and have
races, to see who could get to the bottom first, it
made you a bit dizzy, but we still did it again and
Then it would be back to the park again, until
mum would call us, to tell us it was time to leave.
I hated leaving and wished I lived in Portishead,
so I could come here everyday. But now I'm so glad
I didn't, because it was much better living in our
The journey home was always quiet, because we were
all so tired, I have to say that I hated the walk
back, my mum told me, I would whine all the way
home, but then I was only seven. When we got home,
I would go straight to bed, and sleep like a log.
'Oh Happy Days, dear diary.'