BABIES AND HOLIDAYS
We were able to take a holiday most years as Dad paid me to look after the shop for a fortnight while they took their annual holiday.
Our first holiday was at Mablethorpe in a caravan. It was dreadful. Water had to be fetched from a tap in the field, there was a smell of sewage, I developed cystitis and my daughter Mary was bitten by a horse.
The following year we took bed and attendance accommodation. The room was so small one bed sat under the window at the foot of the other and the cot touched the wall and the bed. To lift out 18mth old Cliff , I had to crawl over our bed. and stand him on the single bed to dress him. He lost his balance, clutched at the net curtain which, although I didn't notice it at the time, tore.
In the dining room there was one long table for all the guests and it was assumed we would all have egg, bacon and fried bread for breakfast. The landlady refused to cook anything else or to poach eggs. Reluctantly she agreed to boil the eggs providing we all had the same.
Then I was told that cabbage was the only vegetable she would cook. We were really browned off having to go out and shop again but greater trouble met us on our return. The landlord met us with the greeting, 'I'm afraid I shall have to ask you to leave.' he had found the torn curtain.
I accompanied him upstairs to inspect the damage. As soon as I examined the curtain net I realised it was rotted. I lost my temper and demonstrated its condition by shredding it between my fingers, from a small tear where the baby's finger had caught, it became a heap of rag. I also told him what I thought of the room and the so called attendance.
As I packed he said he wanted paying for the rest of the week. In those days you paid a deposit on booking and the rest of your bill at the end of the holiday. I told him I was reporting him to the Council since we had got his address from their accommodation list.
We received every help there. They gave us the address of a small hotel and said they would look into the complaint. They also advised us to ignore any demand for payment.
Although the hotel was slightly more expensive it was well worth it and we returned another year with some friends. Cliff once again caused problems by locking himself in the bathroom. The landlord made no fuss just instructing me to stay by the door and talk to him whilst he fetched a ladder to climb through the window
Another year another holiday, this time at Blackpool. We were greeted at the door by the landlady saying, 'I hope you've brought your rubbers with you. And don't think you're going to leave them at night I don't provide a baby sitting service.'
Cliff had not wet the bed for over a year but I had brought a rubber and a cotton draw sheet, which was just as well since he wet the bed on the first night.
The following morning we found she had taken the glass door off the dining room because the evening before the children had played 'peep bo' through it. The room was freezing but before the day was out a middle aged couple had arrived and the lady voiced her complaint loud and clear and the door was returned.
One perfect holiday we had before our third baby was born. That was at Southbourne. We took bed and breakfast accommodation and hired a beach hut where we cooked potatoes and warmed tinned foods on the paraffin heater provided for the making of hot drinks only. We had hit a heatwave and spent long days on the beach. The landlady was a real gem urging us to go out after the children were asleep.
Two incidents made this holiday memorable.. To reach the digs we had to walk home from the beach via a park with a large goldfish pond. Inspite of warning Cliff insisted on walking round the edge and one evening he fell in..
The other incident still makes me laugh. My husband was fond of cheese and biscuits for supper and one night I lovingly popped cracker biscuit spread liberally with Brie cheese in his mouth. We didn't put the light on for fear of waking the children. The next morning we found the cheese was wriggling with maggots. If it hadn't have been wrapped it would have walked.
I was helpless with laughter, (I hadn't eaten any) I took the cheese to the landlady and she too saw the funny side. She agreed to dispose of it.
When we returned that evening we found we had not heard the last of the cheese. Our host had buried it in the garden, later when the smell pervaded the kitchen they discovered their collie dog had found it and it had spread all over his beautiful beard
It was a good thing they were such an easy going pair.
We might have returned another year but once again I was pregnant. Now Mary was at school and Dad took Cliff with him to collect sausages and pies for the shop whilst I attended the ante natal clinic and for the first time since I was a child I met and talked to local women.
I met one young woman about my age who was expecting her eighth child. Her husband was unemployed. It wasn't worth his while to work, she told me because he only earned ten bob more than he got on the dole and with her family it was worth ten bob a week to her to have him at home. Even in those days some men helped around the house.
Another young woman was attempting to have a baby after suffering five miscarriages. I don't think I would have had her courage and yet another had a cancer which had spread down her arm like cat fur. She said she was to lose her arm but they wouldn't operate until she had the baby. I don't know whether she had the baby as mine came first.
Mary and Clifford took German Measles when I was about four months pregnant. Mam couldn't remember whether I had had it or not so I was very concerned for the baby, the doctor said it was too late to do anything about it but as my generation had most childish ailments it was unlikely that I had missed out.
A week before the actual birth I had a false labour and rang for my husband to come home from work. This time he wasn't taking his holiday as I had been granted a home help from the local council. By the time Wes reached home the pains had gone and he was very annoyed at being fetched from work. About ten days later, in the middle of the day the pains started up again. This time I adopted a wait and see. My mother wanted to send for the midwife but I thought the pains were not strong enough for anything to be happening. My waters broke before the midwife, accompanied by a student nurse, arrived. She literally threw me on the bed and I was still fully clothed when the baby arrived. Wes walked in about ten minutes later to be ordered out by the midwife with the words, 'We don't want you in here you've done enough damage.'
I was supposed to stay in bed ten days but after a week I decided to get up.
The cooker was full of unwashed pans and the unironed washing on top of the sewing machine reached almost to the ceiling. I can't remember how much I was having to pay but whatever it was it was too much and I sent her packing..
Breast feeding was an even greater problem this time although I had plenty of milk I am convinced the baby was allergic to it. Within ten minutes of being fed he regurgitated like a fountain.I tried the bottle with no more success and the whole house reeked of vomit.
He was only a few weeks old when Cliff took ill with Chicken Pox. His was a mild attack but Royston became desperately ill the infection had attacked him internally and he developed enteritis. The doctor even attended Christmas day and Boxing day and Royston recovered.