Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Our first real holiday (Pt 5 Exploring the area)

There is a wealth of lore and history in the region around Northumbria and the Scottish Borders. There are dozens of old abbeys, ruined castles and other places of interest. Over the years, we must have visited and photographed just about every one of them.
At the time, I was using a cine-camera quite a lot and I still have several reels of cine-film together with the projector. One day, I’ll transfer the film either to video-tape or DVD. Once again, many of the still photographs were lost.
Sometimes we would drive into Scotland and explore the coastline. We went to Dunbar and North Berwick. North Berwick was quite entertaining but Dunbar, we always found a bit starchy.
St Abb’s Head was a small out-of-the-way place but there was a caravan park and a holiday centre there, with a clubhouse that we discovered one Sunday lunchtime. It was very lively with an on-site entertainer.
Back in Berwick; we got to know one or two places that were to become our favourite haunts in years to come. One of these was the local social club. It was miniscule by normal club standards with a concert room that would seat about thirty at a push!
This was strictly for the locals and I think that we were the only tourists that had set foot in there for at least a month! After the second time there, I got chatting to the steward about entertainment and the lack of it. He said that they saved money by asking local members to entertain during the summer months in order that they could afford decent artistes in the closed season for the benefit of regulars.
Mistake number one… I happened to mention I was a club entertainer back home and the next thing I knew was that someone has stuck a microphone in my hand and was propelling me towards the stage.. Stage? Well, it was more of a single step up to where a pianist was playing in the corner. I could hardly refuse and quite surprisingly, I went down very well indeed! Several freebie pints later, I agreed to return later in the week.
Wednesday evening, the place was packed solid (about 40 all told) and I must confess I enjoyed it just as much as my audience! Iris had bought a couple of raffle tickets and we won a breakfast consisting of six rashers of bacon, four eggs, some black pudding, four sausages and a few mushrooms. Berwick Labour Club was going to be a favourite place from now on! We went there many times over the years and we always got a warm welcome.
Our days consisted of breakfast around 10am and then out to anywhere we fancied. If the weather was warm, we went on the beach and swam in the sea. We were lucky that first holiday, as there was more sunshine that fortnight that there had been for the few previous weeks. Iris and I both tanned that holiday and she went a beautiful bronze colour. She looked absolutely gorgeous!

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