Birmingham on Sea or Weston Super Mare as the posh people would call it. Weston was the original coach day trip. It was all my mother could almost afford; she would be skint before the day ended. We would jump on a coach at Stockland Coaches in Erdington and travel down the M5 as far as Tewksbury. It’s where the M5 ended then. The A38 took us the rest of the way, through Gloucester, Bristol and onwards to Weston.
There would be a stop or two on the way for egg, crinkle cut chips and beans. I still love those big plastic tomatoes with sauce on the table and the sugar dispenser. The ballyhole machines were for the lorry drovers only. Mind bogglingly complicated.
Weston is notorious for the mud. It would be, the River Severn delivers several millions tons of the stuff at each tide. Having the second highest tidal range in the world the sea would be around three miles out, just over the horizon. But its was still the seaside to us kids and you could still build a sandcastle or two. I loved those paper flags.
While I love looking back and enjoying the sense of nostalgia, these were not the good old days. This was childhood poverty, and like most people in poverty like my mom, they managed to keep it a secret. On the way home, the coach would stop at a café. My mom would say “I’m ok, I don’t fancy anything, you carry on”.
I will always remember her for these acts of kindness, and selflessness. Acts of kindness stay in your memories forever.