The fag end of winter seems to go on forever, so I’ve been consoling myself by making plans for the summer holidays. My older son says that he wants to go to America, but I’m not a fan of long-haul flights these days, so I will try to entice him with something closer to home.
I hear that Pontins is still going:
This is an aerial view of Pontins in Southport. It looks as if there should be a sign at the entrance saying Arbeit Macht Frei and I’m not encouraged by a report in the Liverpool Echo about a “mass brawl” and allegations of “drug use, health and safety concerns and death tragedy”.
I can imagine that a weekend there would be entertaining, but not in a good way.
My ideal holiday would require a time machine, as I would love to travel around Britain and Europe in the days when motor cars were a luxury and retail chains were something that hung in doorways during the summer months, to keep the flies out.
I’ve been partly inspired by a batch of photos that I found recently – all taken during the 1920s and 30s. Here are some of my favourites:
These people wouldn’t have a punch-up in Pontins. They are enjoying their bucolic idyll without compromising any sartorial standards and for them, tattoos were things that one visited.
Of course, there are occasions when one should hang up one’s jacket and prepare to pull up one’s sleeves, very slightly.
I particularly like this photo, taken at a child’s level, which gives us a tantalising glimpse of the shop window, with what looks like cakes or pies.
Also, notice that the dogs aren’t trying to eat her, as this is the pre-Rotweiler era.
I remember my parents letting me take a float like this out to sea when I was 10. I couldn’t swim, but that didn’t seem to bother them. My father would often complain about ‘health and safety nonsense’ which was ironic, as he worked for the Health and Safety Executive.
A friend saw this photo and said that the woman is a ‘Double Barker’. I am waiting for an explanation.
This would almost be a good photo, if someone hadn’t committed the common error of chopping off the subject’s feet and placing them dead centre. However, it’s still worth posting for the pleasure of seeing someone enjoying the outdoors in an immaculate, three-piece suit.
This photo is of a great grandmother and is dated 1924. She looks like a ghost from the Victorian age, rather than someone who has spent 24 years in the new century.
There’s no name or date on the back of this photo, but with her tie and utilitarian hairstyle, she may have taken her holidays at Radclyffe Hall. She looks like someone who would be a fun travelling companion, although I might have to hide the whisky bottle.
Another appealing facet of this era is the preference for high-waisted trousers, which enabled gentlemen to churn butter without exposing anything unsightly as they bent down to turn the handle.
I will rejoice when these trousers reappear in the shops.
This formidable-looking group of women remind me of my great-aunts, who were born in the 1890s and refused to make any concessions to postwar fashions. Some of them even eschewed the 1920s, preferring the long skirts and brooches of their youth.
This photo is typical of the time, where the holiday was often an occasion to dress up rather than down.
It’s rare to find an old photo where the subjects aren’t standing still. This appears to be an impromptu shot and the gentlemens’ faces betray their slight discomfort.
Finally, if you’re not happy with the 1920s or 30s, this portal will take you to a different time zone. This man’s about to travel to the year 2016, where people will probably live on the moon and war will be a thing of the past.
Sadly, I have no time portal, so I will have to make do with the present. Perhaps, now that my wife and I have discovered some mysterious Irish ancestry in our DNA profiles, it’s time for a trip to the Emerald Isle.