A few days ago I was in Manchester airport having landed from a flight from Rhodes in the Greek isles where we had left a chaotic airport only to find a different kind of chaos here in the good ol' UK. The queues to get through passport control were unbelievable long and John and I had visions of being stuck there for hours, knowing son Tim was waiting for us in Arrivals. I imagined that the cost for the car parking would be outrageous, just as the cost for 3kilos of baggage over the limit had been in Rhodes (54 euros) I think the carpark charges were around £9. At least there were no terrorists. Thank God!
Anyway, as one does in queues, we got talking and the woman I was speaking to said that she was from Blackpool. I mentioned that I had been born in Blackpool because Mam had been evacuated doing the war to have me as the local maternity hospital had been bombed. The woman asked where in Blackpool had I been born and I told her in a hotel on the front. This surprised her. But in those days, of course, no doubt the hospitals in the resort had run out of beds and hence my being born in what in those days had been a guesthouse but is now a hotel. I found a photo of it when doing my ancestry. And no - there isn't a blue plaque on the wall saying June Francis born here. I have no idea what I looked like as a baby because Dad wasn't around to take photos even if he'd had the lolly to afford a camera. Mam did tell me that I was dainty and had curly blonde hair.
We discussed our holidays and I said that I'd had enough of going abroad. I'm not that keen on the heat and flying and airports, although John loves the heat. She said that I should take my holidays in Blackpool. I said we were going to the Lakes in November for my birthday. Besides I know that I'll never get John to Blackpool as he has to have mountains or hills to climb and we like to get out of towns. The other suggestion I've had for holidays is to go on a cruise which is another no, no. as no hills to run up for John. For me it would be a nightmare trapped at sea with hundreds of people.
I couldn't help thinking back to those days when cruising from Liverpool was popular, even if it was only a trip to Llandudno or an evening trip along the Mersey on the Royal Iris. Of course, if you had money you could go further afield. In researching my books I even discovered that there used to be gambling cruises, where ships would go out as far as necessary to where people were safe from the law to have a flutter.
Also I was remembering those years after the war when British housewives were still having to queue up at the shops. My outstanding memory is queuing up with Mam at the fish shop on a Friday in Breck Road. The shop was called Charles' and there was a padded bench alongside one wall for us to rest our weary legs and backs. The shop not only sold lots of different kinds of fish, included salted fish for Dad's Sunday breakfast but also rabbits with their fur on. Mam loved a bit of skate and hake. I remember skate was sticky and hake was delicious white fish. I loved kippers. Perhaps that's the Manx in me. I remember our Don working on the I.O.M boats bringing home kippers. My only trip to I.O.M was when John used to skindive and Liverpool subaqua club went there for a weekend of diving at Port Erin. I wish I'd known then I had Manx blood I'd have found it a whole lot more interesting. Anyway, I'll have to get to work on John to visit there again. As it is we've had several holidays in Anglesey before I knew I had ancestry from there as well as the Lakes where some of my maternal forebears come from.
As for Blackpool when I worked as a cash clerk for Littlewoods, we had a works outing there every year, so I know the resort reasonable well and have never forgotten screaming my head off on the Big Dipper. The one and only time I have been on one and I won't be queuing up to go on ever again.