Holland: May 18 1969

Departed from home in pouring rain and had a pretty good journey to Dover, feeling  quite pleased with ourselves at our organised departure, and children all very cheerful. Towards Dover, Gareth demanded nursing, but otherwise OK. Got  to the ferry departure  point, and only a short wait before loading -were on by 11.15a.m. and settled at a table for four, Gareth crawling all over the deck. Blow fell when we came to unpack our lunch – David had left the cooked chicken, all jointed and packed in foil at home in the fridge and all we had were 4 hard boiled eggs, bread and butter and Ritz biscuits (the few Gareth had left from the journey down!). Had some sandwiches, rather sadly, and I bought some very expensive Orlane  skin-food  at less expensive prices as they were duty free. Booze not terribly cheap, but port, sherry and a 1/2-bottle gin (11/-).

Maddening hold-up outside Zeebrugge harbour, as our berth was occupied, and 1 1/4 hours before we could dock – children (and us ) very fed up. However, drove  off to Wenduise quite smoothly, but great difficulty in finding suitable site. Some looked dreadfully tatty, and not very open, except for permanent weekend caravans. Eventually went to Europa Camping, and were directed to somewhat remote spot on the edge of  golden fields of cattle.

Weather not too good, but not actually raining. Got tent up, ate (the tins of meatballs and potatoes) and got children off to bed, Gareth none too keen to go to sleep. Heater a marvellous boon, made tent quite cosy. As night came on, weather deteriorated, rain and wind, very strong – tent flapping away, rain drumming on roof.  Lay in sleeping bags, nice and warm and wondered (a) what had possessed us to undertake such a holiday, (b) would the tent take off and leave us in the open with the rain beating down, and pneumonia all round and (c) where the nearest hotel was. Children slept through it all. We  did not sleep well, especially as pegs needed attention at 4a.m….


6 responses to “Holland: May 18 1969

  1. Not many people reading this, I warrant, will understand the parenthetical price of the gin. That’s how we wrote the price of eleven shillings in those days. There were 20 shillings to a pound, so in today’s money that’s 55p.

    Congratulations on the perfect transcription.

  2. 55p, wow! Thanks for the calculation, Stu, I hadn’t got round to doing that.

    He didn’t do too badly, my son. I was standing over him going 1T 5A, NOOO 5P lol poor lad. Still, no point practising wrong stuff.


  3. These posts are fabulous. The writing style is excellent.

    Great idea getting your son to type them up, Sarah. My son’s typing skills are improving due to hours spent typing rubbish to his friends on MSN (some chat roomy thing).

  4. Thanks, Trish, he does that too (natch), but I can’t control how he types as most of the time he’s supposed to be in bed (haha), so with this, he is instructed to do it properly or not bother. 🙂

    My mother is delighted too, and I agree, her writing is excellent offering fab dual purpose blog.

  5. Just starting reading from the beginning. Please leave prices as originally written – it would look terribly wrong to use “55p” in place of 11/-.

  6. Don’t worry, Mike, the diaries are being faithfully reproduced except for the odd typo. 🙂


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