Holiday With The Sibs
I went on holiday with my siblings. It’s the first time in decades that we have all been together, without our spouses, for a few days of reminiscing. If you follow my blog, you will know that Uncle Frank died a few weeks ago, and my cousin wrote to say that she was taking her mum to Cromer. My other cousins all agreed we would try to be there at about the same time, and on a hot July weekend we met in Cromer.
Cromer is where my family always went on holiday when I was growing up. Set on the North Norfolk coastline, I have many memories (not happy ones) of horizontal rain and wind that was always cold. Always. The sea was rough and grey, and I learnt to swim in it, gulping salty mouthfuls as the waves washed over me. It’s a wonder I didn’t die of typhoid. I believe it’s a lot cleaner now.
We used to camp, which is not my favourite thing. This time my siblings and I stayed in a hotel—The Cliftonville—with Mum and Aunty Margaret. What fun! The hotel looked on the website rather like an old people’s home, but it was cheap, so we booked it anyway. When we arrived it was under renovation by new owners, and it was all rather lovely. I thoroughly recommend it if you visit Cromer, very comfortable and the staff were amazingly helpful.
My relatives however, camped. Some were in caravans or motorhomes (the older generation) and some were in tents. We all met up each day on the beach in Runton, at the bottom of the ramp behind the big black rocks. The weather this July was hot—I don’t think I have ever been in Cromer when it is hot. The beach was full of families, and dogs, and old ladies in deckchairs. You could tell the regular visitors, because they sat behind windbreaks, a tradition borne from experience. But they didn’t need to, any breeze was a welcome break from the sun.
We sent the days simply talking; remembering past events and people, reliving happy moments. Cromer hasn’t changed much, but there were a few new things—like goats (bagots) which now live on the cliff edge, and the steps to Granny’s caravan have now washed away, and so have the steps to the picnic field, so the routes down to the beach are fewer, and people willing to walk can have a private pitch between Cromer and Runton. The military pillbox on the beach has sunk, we used to be able to go in there when we were young (it always stank though). The boating lake has gone, and most of the shops have changed owner, and Banksy has painted a picture on the concrete wall.
But our own graffiti was still there—we carved our names in wet concrete 40 years ago, and you can still see the shape of the letters, though Bessie’s footprints have worn away over time. The slot machines were still there, and many ice cream shops, and the painted beach huts, and the fishing boats, and the pier.
We popped in to one of the many antique shops, and found shelves of old books and stacks of papers from before we were born. I bought some from 1936, but my brother did better because he found some from the war which describe the liberation of the camps. They were only £2 each, and I wished I’d bought more. There were commemorative mugs, and medals which were shockingly cheap—only a few pounds for a medal marking 15 years in the red cross during the war.
We ate fish and chips, and ice creams, and walked along the pier—because you have to do those things in Cromer whether it’s sunny or raining. It’s nicer when it’s sunny. Actually, everything was fun, especially the talking. There we were, three pretty-old-now siblings, reliving our past. Not something that happens very often, but definitely worth making time for.
Then I returned home, to find out how Husband had coped with the chickens and ducks and cats and dog. All was well, and I tried to thank him, and to explain what we had done for the weekend, but I couldn’t really, there wasn’t much to tell. We had just talked.
Thanks for reading. Hope you find something nice to talk about today.
Love, Anne x
 Bessie was the family collie dog, and she ran all over the wet cement when we wrote our names. She died in 1985.