The Middle of the Darling Daughters has sent out an important message to all the family.
The Rascal, aka Young Faris, Blogger
Extraordinaire, has to find and take to school photographs showing his parents and grandparents enjoying days at the seaside. As a family, we are well up for the challenge as there is nothing we like more than a Family Beach Day. What’s more, a love
of the seaside stretches back through the generations so I am desperate to find photographs of my parents - and, even, my Grandad - so that Our Rascal can report to school with pictorial evidence going back further than any of his school mates. And you thought
I wasn’t competitive!
I remember Katie, the Eldest of our Tremendous Ten grandchildren, being tasked as a school girl with researching an ancestor. She looked
to me, as the self appointed Family Historian, for help so I told her about my grandfather, John Campbell Dawkins, who served in the 1914 -1918 War, earning the distinction of being termed an “Old Contemptible.” Because I don’t believe in
doing children’s homework for them (I am mean like that), I explained that she would have to find out for herself exactly what an Old Contemptible was.
only did she unearth the facts, she was also delighted to tell me that she had found a picture of the 1914 Star he would have been awarded and, having carefully written up the story of her great-great-grandfather, was proud to find that she had gone further
back in time than anyone else in her class. I felt proud by association.
I tell the story because it explains why the whole family is now competing to find the
best old photographs of seaside days. It’s a pity, I think, that cine-film will probably not be admissible in evidence as I have some fabulous footage of my parents on holiday in Cliftonville in the 1960s, showing a deckchair assistant dancing sedately
with holiday-makers at the Lido. It’s a Picture of the Times and rather precious.
My Foursome are agreed that a photograph of the four of them running into
the waves sums up, more than anything else, the sheer joy of being at the seaside, on a long, hot, sunny day when the summer holiday stretched out before them seemingly endlessly. I always have to stifle a laugh at the Youngest of the Darling Daughters conscientiously
wearing her orange swimming hat, while her siblings alongside her are bare-headed and free from care.
I am waiting for the same daughter to complain about
the fact that, as our seaside photographs mark the passing of the years, she can be seen wearing every one of the swimming costumes passed down in turn by her older sisters. Did I ever buy her a new swimming costume, she needs to know. My best line of defence
is to divert attention to the photograph of me, aged about seven, wearing my brother’s swimming trunks, held up by what looks like one of those snake belts that were so popular in Years Gone By. It wasn’t a good look.
I am gripped by the past. I need to find the photograph of my Dad and Grandad on the beach, both in stifling collar and tie as was the custom in those days, eating ice-creams. I need to find the photograph
of us all with our best and biggest sandcastle. I need to find that photograph of …
Houston, we have a problem! Nostalgia is going to lead me to turn out
cupboards where old photograph albums are stored, to drag out of the wardrobe the box of ancient snaps, all stored higgledy-piggledy with no sense of date, time, or place. There will be photographs strewn all over the bed, the floor, the table, the kitchen
Oh, I DO like to be beside the seaside!