Blast from the past - Not going abroad on holidays

As many people decide to holiday at home or ‘staycation’ this year, HELEN MCGURK recalls never, ever going on a foreign holiday with her family

Friday, 11th June 2021, 7:00 am
Helen McGurk enjoyed 'holidays' on the Glenshane Pass
Helen McGurk enjoyed 'holidays' on the Glenshane Pass

Due to the pandemic and all the rigmarole involved in travelling, people are deliberating whether to ditch summer holiday plans to go abroad and ‘staycation’ instead.

As a youngster growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s all we ever did was ‘staycation’, ie stay put at home... literally at home, all summer.

However, on rare shoulder-baring days of yore, a day trip to ‘the Port’ would have been organised.

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After a stomach-churning journey in the Lada and our Shangri-la reached, it wouldn’t be long before the sun disappeared, replaced by horizontal rain and cyclonic winds.

But we were on holiday, so valiantly took our goosebumps for a paddle in the icy sea, before a trip to Barry’s, then fish and chips in a cafe with Formica-topped tables and a waitress with a face that would curdle milk.

No one I knew went abroad...that is until our village got wind of one family who had (allegedly) been in Benidorm for two weeks.

Despite the sombreros on their heads and Spanish donkeys under their arms, dubious neighbours queried if they had really been off in foreign parts.

“They’re very tanned”, one reasoned, referring to the family’s deep walnut complexions.“Ach, sure couldn’t they have got that lying in the hay field”, said another doubter.

The scepticism was understandable. Not that long ago foreign travel was seen as the preserve of the minority; the bank manager’s family, perhaps, or some other swanky sorts who probably had continental quilts and a corner bath and thought they were something special.

The ‘normal’ family simply didn’t have the spare cash to go off gallivanting to the ‘Costa Fortunes’.

Another ‘holiday’ I enjoyed was a day trip to the Glenshane Pass (which my parents told me was Donegal and for years I believed) for a picnic.

The picnic was a ramshackle affair consisting of a few Salad Cream sandwiches, a packet of Pacers and a bottle of brown lemonade. This frugal repast was enjoyed as a raggle-taggle flock of bemused sheep looked on, probably wondering why us crowd of eejits hadn’t gone to Torremolinos.

“Musn’t be bank managers,” I could have sworn I heard one bleat.