These holidays were great fun and helped us to get to know each other well, even though we only met a couple of times a year.
Every summer we used to visit my aunt’s family in Manchester. We travelled by train, which was usually crowded and often spent the journey in the corridor sitting on the suitcases.
My aunt lived in Levenshulme, not far from Belle Vue Zoo, so this was a must on every holiday. I remember spending a whole day there at a brass band competition. It could have been boring hearing the same tune several times as each band played the set piece, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have liked band music ever since. We enjoyed the funfair and the zoo but my brother was terrified of the elephants, in fact his screaming is really my first childhood memory.
Later in the summer, my aunt’s family came to visit us. My aunt had a large house, but we lived in an upstairs four-roomed flat and fitting in a family of two adults and four children was quite a problem. I gave up my bedroom to the adults and we five children camped on the sitting room floor. In that room was a huge mahogany dresser and the cupboard opened to house a folding bed which three of us shared and the other two slept on the floor. It was great fun and we talked and laughed well into the early morning.
My cousins loved the beach. We spent a lot of time there and also at Jesmond Dene and Wallsend Burn Closes. A trip across the Tyne on the ferry from Wallsend was a great adventure. These holidays were great fun and helped us to get to know each other well, even though we only met a couple of times a year.