Ah, Summer memories! They’re the best in the world, aren’t they? I was listening to an album by Bread earlier in the week, and was immediately transported back to Summer holidays; those long, hot, lazy days……..Summer was always hot and lasted forever when we were children.
One Christmas we bought Pa Kettle a hammock and he put it up in the apricot tree in the back garden. Poor Pa didn’t get much time to spend in the hammock, but LittleBigBrother and I would clamber on, lie one at each end, and reach up into the apricot tree to pick a ripe, juicy, sun kissed apricot to devour. They were true, dribble-down-the-chin juicy, delicious tasting apricots. Just like the ones Andrea brought along last week. Hmmm.
The best part of Summer holidays was spent in our caravan down at Torquay. I reminisced about this time a couple of years ago, but wanted to add a few more thoughts! Indulge me?
Back in the 1970’s, for us anyway, take away food was a real treat. I mean a once or twice a year treat, and when we stayed at Torquay, one evening we would bundle into the car, head for the fish and chip shop (in those days, just about the only “fast food” shop in town!) and the boys would wait in line with the fish and chip order and Ma Kettle and I would head over the road to the ice-cream shop to buy milkshakes. Ma Kettle always had a vanilla flavoured one, Pa Kettle chocolate, LittleBigBrother liked banana, and I chanced upon that magical flavour of Blue Heaven and have been a slave to it ever since!(photo courtesy of Aimee’s Kitchen)
Once all comestibles were ready, we headed to the surf beach. Pa Kettle parked the car, and we devoured this scrumptious treat while watching the surfie boys catching waves in the twilight.
My favourite surfer was the guy in the black wetsuit with the peppermint coloured board…….wonder what he’s doing now? We often had a walk along the beach after dinner, dodging the waves – or sometimes not!
On our very first holiday at Torquay, Pa Kettle, LittleBigBrother and I were playing skippy (obviously this was my game; the boys were holding/turning the rope and I was the one skipping!), when a little girl came up and asked if she could play too. Pa couldn’t relinquish that rope fast enough! Each year when Pa booked us in to the caravan park, he would always ask where this little girl’s family site was, and each year we would meet up. To this day, I still keep in touch with that little girl, although she’s a big girl now, with girls (and boys) of her own!
On some of those long, hot Summer days, we would walk along the foreshore road to the main street to buy supplies. One of the shops I loved visiting was the newsagency, not least because it was dark and cool on a hot day! It also held a wonderful treasure trove of stationery; pens, pencils, writing pads, coloured paper. Then there were the books and magazines! Hard earned pocket money often went to pay for a copy of “Pink”, or “Princess Tina”, or an “Archie” or “Josie and the Pussycats” magazine. These treasures were taken back to be read while lying on my bed in the annex, too precious to be taken to the beach in case they became wet or sandy!(I have this exact Annual!!)
Sometimes a day at the beach was forsaken for a day in Geelong. Now you need to understand that we came from a very small country town, so to go to Geelong was another treat – surely the “big smoke”! Geelong was just a short car ride away, and we parked in a multi-storey car park (what????), ventured into shops whose names we’d never before heard of, and had lunch in a cafe! I can remember visiting a haberdashery shop and buying a rainbow patch for my (flared!) jeans, much like this one:An even bigger adventure was the, rarer, trip to Melbourne! Melbourne, the capital of Victoria! This really was The Big Smoke!!
A trip to Melbourne involved the car journey to Geelong, then the catching of a train (a train!!) to Melbourne. We would alight at Spencer Street station then walk down to Collins Street, and up the Collins Street hill to the shop where Pa Kettle needed to go. That bit of business done, we could explore the shops in Collins Street, Bourke Street, Lonsdale Street, Flinders Street. Ma Kettle would point out places of interest from her visits to the City. I can vividly remember visiting Coles Variety Store; in those days the girls stood behind angled counters, ready to assist. I remember being fascinated with the loooong strands of beads hanging from a horizontal pole, trying to make that agonizing decision about which colour/s to have. I eventually chose the green and yellow strand.
But of course, the best part of a trip to Melbourne was lunch at the Coles Cafeteria. And why was this, I hear you ask? Well, at the Coles Cafeteria, you picked up a tray from the pile and placed it on the metal pole-bench, sliding it along to the tiers of food, from which you could choose your lunch. Oh, the agony of indecision with all this amazing choice; sandwiches of all flavours (on white bread!), little bowls of salad, tiny cakes, bowls of jelly and cream…..and that’s just what I can remember! Once the decisions were made (“come along now children, you’re holding up the queue!”), and Ma Kettle had paid, we were sometimes lucky enough to get a seat looking over Bourke Street where we could see all the people going about their shopping and business.A little more shopping and then it was back on the train, hopefully before the commuters, and back to the quiet of the beach. The City was so noisy, with all that traffic and the trams “ding-dinging”, not to mention all those people! Just a bit much for a kid from the bush!
So in the relative peace of the caravan, we explored our purchases, made plans to wear new clothes (and beads!), and decided, as much fun as we’d had in the City, we liked living in our small country town!*
Just thought, while it’s still “holiday” time, I’d share some of these memories with you. After all, after this coming Australia Day long weekend, I consider the Summer Holidays are over; appointments are booked in, schools start, classes will start soon after and it will be back into the swing of another year.
What do you remember of Summer Holidays? I’d love to know.
* I’ve now lived in The Big Smoke for 30 odd years but I still value the quiet of our suburban street after a visit into the (still) noisy City!
Pictures courtesy of Google Images.