It could just be the end of an era.
This year, I am sad to say, Team Baldwin will not be heading down our way, as usual, for a whole week’s Worthing
Seaside Holiday. This is what happens when your grandkids become teenagers and find themselves Holiday Jobs.
You can’t knock it, can you? I am really
proud of them for landing such good jobs, helping out at a children’s centre where they will organise games, keep order (ha ha!), do a bit of cooking (mostly, as far as I can understand, involving use of a microwave) and generally keeping many a children’s
party going. The Gordon Brown Centre is, indeed, lucky to have them.
But the GBC’s gain is my loss and, while I know I’ll still be seeing plenty of
Team Baldwin over the course of the school holidays, I am going to miss them coming to stay for a week of Merry Mayhem at the Seaside. For the first time in 12, or is it 13 years, I won’t have to make a sign saying “The Baldwins are Back”
or “Hey, It’s Team Baldwin” to hang on the bedroom door. I won’t have to put Mr B on Tesco’s Alert, always ready to head off for fresh stocks of Pain Au Chocolat, Cookie Crisp cereal, chicken goujons and crusty rolls for the daily
picnic. There will be no sing-alongs in the car as we head off for whatever is to be the daily jaunt. Over the years we progressed from nursery rhymes and animal songs, via McFly (I learnt every single song on the CD – word-perfect, I was),
to the music from the latest musicals in which they are performing. I will miss the sing-alongs. Mr B is the strong, silent type when it comes to Music While We Drive.
It was interesting, as they grew, to note how our holiday activities changed with them. What they used to call “The Best Roundabout in the World” when they were 4 or 5 gave way to screaming their heads off on The Twister. Pony rides in the
park were replaced by go kart racing. Instead of Happy Meals in Macdonalds, we booked evening meals at Shafiques, our favourite Indian restaurant, where all the staff now know and love them. Where once they would pose proudly with the Boat Train on Littlehampton
Prom, in the last two years we have had to bribe them with hot doughnuts (naughty but nice) to snap the annual photograph.
Finally there was the Annual Summer
Holiday Song to be composed. Oh the sleepless nights with words running through my fuddled head as I struggled to find a rhyme for “roundabout”, “doughnut” or “sandcastle”. Somewhere on video the Youngest of the Darling
Daughters has captured every song. They probably wouldn’t win us a place on X Factor but to me they are, quite simply, priceless.
But all is not lost.
Riding to the rescue, in early August, are two of my Little Welsh Boys, who will arrive for what I’m hoping might become an annual Worthing Seaside Holiday. I am already making plans. We shall have a Littlehampton Day which will involve sandcastle building,
paddling, rides on the “Best Roundabout in the World”, crazy golf and, of course, a photograph with the Boat Train. Then there will be a Worthing Day, with fun on the pier and in the Lido, pony rides and the paddling pool at Brooklands Pleasure
Park, perhaps a visit to the new swimming pool at Splash Point? Arundel Day will take us to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre where we will take animal-lover Sam on a boat ride to look for voles and indulge in some pond-dipping. Team Baldwin will
remember enjoying each and every excitement. Year after year. Over and over again...
Though I can take no credit for this, there is a lot to be said for having
grandchildren in two batches. For when the first batch move on to more grown-up pursuits, hallelujah! there’s the second batch coming along behind. In my case that's my three Little Welsh Boys and Faris the Soldier – just waiting to enjoy
all the fun of a Seaside Childhood. Which, living at the seaside, Mr B (aka Grandad) and I are more than happy to provide. Not, I add hastily, that the first batch of grandchildren do not remain every bit as special, every bit as precious, grown-up as they
are. But, think about it, at this rate I should be enjoying Worthing Seaside Holidays with the Grandchildren well into my 80s.
All the same, I will miss our Worthing
Seaside Week this year, Team Baldwin. Leaving the Boat Train aside, will you?