I was thinking about the beach hut I mentioned in my last post. It belonged to the owners of the Guest House we used to stay in most summers when I was young. We used to alternate between Teignmouth in Devon or St Ives in Cornwall. In St. Ives we used to stay with an elderly lady who would sit us all round the shiny, polished breakfast table and bring out a huge - and I mean huge - blue and white china plate or charger filled with everything for a cooked breakfast and we used to help ourselves from it onto smaller plates. I loved St Ives with its winding streets, painted fisherman's cottages and soft,warm beaches; to a small child it was like wonderland.
The beach hut though was at Teignmouth in Devon, an equally loved place. We always stayed with a couple called Mr and Mrs Lofty and Mum and Dad knew them so well that Christmas cards were exchanged each year. The Loftys had the beach hut, not on the main sea front but on the back beach near where the ferry used to cross over to Shaldon. One year my aunt, uncle and cousin joined us for a holiday and the photo below is of me and my cousin John, enjoying ourselves on that holiday. I'm not sure how old we would be but there was only two weeks between us in age. The hut was shabby but comfortable and had the added bonus of being next door to an ice cream vendor.
I have absolutely no recollection of this photo being taken, where exactly it was or what we were doing. There is no one I can ask as I am the only one left to remember that happy holiday. It's strange, isn't it, the things you do remember from your childhood? Feelings and sensations rather than actual solid objects. The smell of breakfast, the sound of the gong to summon you all to an evening meal, the sound of the sea on an evening stroll, waking up to the sound of sea gulls, the wind in your face as you sailed into Brixham harbour, the hot warm sand between your toes. I don't think we ever feel these things quite so intensely as an adult.