Yes, It Had Been a Good Day All in All by Julie Haigh
My travel story isn't about some exotic location. Well, I had to be different didn't I?! I always remember this trip very fondly though. My family were having a ‘right good day out’. I had hardly ventured out of Huddersfield-only ever to Blackpool and Scarborough before so it was with great excitement that one day mum, dad, grandpa, grandma, my sister and little me went on an adventure by train-on a special offer ‘away day’ to Largs in Scotland. Not heard of it? Neither had I-but I was expecting a lovely day, so, off we went. I must have been about five and my sister ten years old. It was a new experience having a table on a train! We all sat around tables across from each other. Of course I was excited there seemed there would be food and drink on the trip. Mum came back with some coffees-but all at once the train seemed to be speeding along and jerking-and more of it seemed to spill than was being drunk. I looked across the aisle and dad was looking rather ill-having always driven, he wasn't finding being a passenger very easy and was decidedly ‘green around the gills’ as my mum said. Hmm, wasn't totally sure what that meant but-travel sick, yes he was. Grandma turned up trumps with some favourite sweets for me and Beverley (sister) to munch for the journey. There was plenty to do-we could look out of the window and watch everything whizzing past, eat our sweets, look at books and ask numerous questions about things-my favourite at that age was: why? (To which someone always had the same answer: “Because THAT’S why!”). Grandma followed the sweets with two little purses with tiny seed beads on; one for me and one for my sister. Oh how lovely, she told us these were for us and they had some ‘pocket money’ in them, which we could spend on anything we liked on the trip. There was quite a lot of money for a day trip and for our ages, I can’t remember how much now though. Our eyes lit up and we thought of what we would like to spend our stash on. We arrived at the station, got off the train and of course, I was hungry-I was hoping we were heading to some sort of café. At that point-there was some panic! It was discovered that my Grandpa had forgotten his wallet! No problem, my dad would pay. But no, he hadn’t got his wallet either! And so it went on; unbelievably, NONE of the adults had any money with them at all (this was in the days before debit and credit cards-not sure if cheques were around, I hadn’t seen them use them at my age). My grandma was the only one who had brought any cash-and that was mine and Beverley’s pocket money! She had left her own purse on the side in the kitchen! I don’t remember much about Largs, we walked around it a bit but I was more interested in food than scenery, I seem to remember it started to rain as well. We found a café doing High Teas, whatever those were, I hadn't heard of them up until now. We had sandwiches and some scones with jam and cream and coffee and tea. I wasn't impressed at all that they didn't have any pop! We enjoyed the bit of food we had though, at any rate, it was all we could afford with two kids paying the bill-yes, my sister and I had to cough up our precious pocket money to finance the meal. It must have been hilarious for other patrons watching us all fish about in tiny children’s beady purses and pay the bill with lots of shiny coins instead of notes! Suitably refreshed, we walked back through the lovely countryside (it had ‘fined up’ now) and made our way back to the station. Yes, it had been a good day all in all. How proud were we that our two little selves had paid the bill! Yes, a very grown-up thing to do! And better still-we were going to get our money back when we got home! The journey home was pleasant but uneventful, we were old hands at this train travel lark now! Remembering this tale has reminded me of the time we went to Blackpool for the day, our excitement at the lovely picnic we had packed up to enjoy in a lay-by. We got all parked up, got the flasks of coffee out, tea towels on our knees (in case of spills) and were imagining the taste of the lovely sausage rolls, potted beef sandwiches, crisps etc-until dad came back from the boot of the car and found we must have left our tasty picnic at home! With our family’s luck with these day trips, maybe that’s why I like to read so many travel memoirs, you can go to all these amazing places virtually and still eat your sandwich on the sofa while you read. The moral of this story is: it doesn't have to be far-flung and fancy for a travel story to be memorable-I still have fond thoughts of the day we went all the way to Largs all those years ago.
Me and Bev