So, who remembers caravan holiday by the sea? Travelling by steam train to exotic locations like Rhyl or Prestatyn… to caravan parks with mind bogglingly creative name like “Happy Days” or Sunny Sands Holiday Park or Sea View… a telescope in every caravan.
These holiday caravans were the height of luxurious comfort. One year we were fortunate enough to stay in G13. The water supply was a bucket… The drainage system was a bucket and if you wanted a shit you could either use a bucket or brave the mud, duck boards and puddles to find the ablution block. If you wanted to wash the crocks, you used the sink outside the ablution block.
If you wanted to wash your cloths, you used the sink….
To cook meals there was the two burner calor gas hob, with the distinctive cabbage small and the “calor gas man calling” van, who would visit the site every day.
This was accommodation for me, my brothers, my mom, my nan and grandad. We packed ourselves in like sardines and every night we would make up the beds by climbing over each other several times to make up this wall-to-wall bed system. Sometimes I slept on the floor: I loved it.
Caravans had gas lamps. Gosh this was now very exciting; so exciting I could not wait for nigh time to light them up. Turn the knob, the whiff of cabbage (gas), strike the match and the distinctive pop that would bathe the room in a delicate soft yellow light. The reassuring hiss of the gas was music to my ears. Of course, I have a caravan gas lamp in my shed, just to be on the safe of nostalgia.
Happy Days caravan park had a penny arcade called The Black Cat. Lots of one-arm-bandits and other games of chance designed to relive the holiday make of their cash. Usually lots of flashing lights and large dials that would whirl around then randomly choose a one in six destination.
Of course, I have that type of mind that could sport pattens. So, it did not take me long to workout that the “Around the World” machine has two sequences that operated each day. All I need was 2d coins to see which sequence had been set and then go about emptying the machine. I could get five shilling for my 2d each day before either the machine was emptied, or the attendant kicked me out. A bag of chip or a hot dog was 6d, so it was all good stuff.