Holidays in Scarborough

After the war, holidays were taken in Scarborough. We stayed in a boarding house owned by a lovely buxom lady called Mrs Parks. As money was tight, we always went self-catering, but Mrs Parks would cook our evening meal if Mum supplied the raw materials. It was a real treat for me if we had salad as Mum would buy a bottle of salad cream, which was something which we never had at home.

The bedrooms were comfortable, but there was no bathroom. I’m not sure where the lavatory was. We had a jug of cold water and a bowl on a stand in our bedrooms to use for our daily ablutions. Brrrh!

After breakfast, Dad would always tell us to hurry up so that we could get to the beach before all the deck chairs were taken. It seemed compulsory to stay there until teatime. There was always a stall on the beach selling jugs of tea to have with our packed lunch.

One evening we would go to the open air theatre in Peasholm Park to watch a variety show. There were always clowns on stage and they would come into the audience with buckets of water and pretend they were going to throw them. I used to be petrified. Another evening was spent going on the miniature railway to Scalby Mills.

In 1948 the Australian cricket team visited England captained by Don Bradman, who was making his final appearance for Australia on tour. We were on holiday in Scarborough when the Australian team were playing at the North Marine road cricket ground. One could get in for free after tea, so Dad took me to watch. After the match, Don Bradman walked down the street surrounded by small boys all asking for his autograph. Dad and me followed too as he walked past the end of the road where we were staying. That memory of the great man wearing a gaberdine raincoat and a flat cap has stuck with me and it got me interested in cricket. Dad used to take me to knockout matches on Doncaster town ground if our village was involved, and one of the player’s wives used to tell us to sit on our hankies to bring luck to the team. I don’t know why sitting on a hankie could bring good fortune.

Dad’s boss, Mr A used to take us to Scarborough in his Austin car. I still remember the registration number — VL9524. This was a real treat, but there was always a feeling of apprehension going down the steep Staxton Hill near Scarborough. Mr A used to kid us on that the brakes would fail. Not such a nice thing to say to kids. It’s ironic really, as Mum died in a coach crash years later when the coach’s brakes failed on a similar hill.

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