Saturday, 28 July 2018

Summertime


When between the ages of five and eleven, my family lived in Bognor Regis in West Sussex, Bognor being a coastal town, a seaside town.  My memory tells me it was almost always sweltering hot each summer and I have vivid memories of my clothes sticking to my back, so hot it was.  At weekends and during the school summer holidays, as a family we would often spend a day at the beach, taking with us my favourite thing – a picnic.  Mum would make up her wonderful fare, cheese and tomato sandwiches which would be deliciously soggy by the time we ate them (I still love these even now) and boiled eggs mashed up and mixed with Heinz Sandwich Spread, both these wrapped up in greaseproof paper parcels.  There would be her homemade currant buns, so deliciously soft and sweet and then the big treat of Smiths plain crisps with the little blue salt bag   I loved sprinkling on the salt and then would crush the crisps into tiny pieces, for in my child’s mind – it meant I had more.

We children would tread gingerly over the pebble beaches and make our way to the sand, which showed itself at low tide, and then swim in the sea.  Dad would join us in the water – but never in trunks, instead rolling up his trouser legs and going for a paddle.  The day was always a wonderful adventure and it was rounded off by the treat of soft whipped ice-cream, my favourite being this in an oyster shell cornet, the last delicious bits being sweetened by the marshmallow and coconut which provided the hinge.  Sometimes dad would buy a stick of rock, and once home, mum would smash it (with a rolling pin) into little tiny pieces which we three children shared.  I loved the sweet smooth outer shell and then the strange feeling of air sucked through the sucked porous middle.  Yum!

Oh memories are made of this!

Bare feet and warm sea, 
the sweet laughter of children, 
gulls squawk overhead.

Anna :o]


The above image is of Butlin’s indoor heated swimming pool where we children went for school swimming lessons, and I just had to include it for it evokes so many memories too.  I remember it so much, its magical appearance, its smell and the echoing expanse of it all.  I also remember us children desperately trying to hide the brief yellow stain that appeared as we peed ourselves, not wanting to leave this wonderful place for even one minute of the wonderful hour we spent there!


These words inspired by Kim at Real Toads – cheers Kim for this wonderful trip down memory lane.

Also shared with the good folk at Poets United - hosted by Mary.  Cheers Mary!

Images courtesy of Pinterest.

24 comments:

Anmol (HA) said...

Ah, the recollection is as beautiful as the memory, with all its delicacies and colors. And I like how you use the oft-ignored sense of taste into this - the taste of the fare is similar to the taste of this experience, unique in its own right. Or at least perceived in that a manner. Ha!
A nice closing with that well-pictured haiku.

-HA

Sherry Marr said...

What wonderful memories.........I remember heat seemed much hotter when I was a child....in those days of small houses, and no air conditioning. I loved reading about the remembered food. I smiled at the description of your father for, all my adult years, I have nevr gone in the water, beyond, once or twice a summer, wading in to my ankles. Smiles. Loved this post!

kaykuala said...

Beautiful take Anna! Hank can relate to this. We used to have it not often though (since we did not stay near a beach) but it made it all the more memorable. It was more of a family gathering, get together and a fantastic one-day celebration. The crowd added to all the fun too! Thanks for the memory, Ma'am!

Hank

Margaret said...

Loved the details of food (crushed up meant more) and the memory of our mother's preparations and foods really is quite comforting... no once can replicate (even with her recipe) how it tasted when she made those special dishes. Sigh. Lovely poem.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Wonderful reminiscence and perfect haiku.

Kim Russell said...

A haibun full of memories, Anna, for you and for me! We used to go to Bognor pretty much every summer when I was little, my nan loved it there (it never rained when we went there but it did when we went to other places such as Hastings or Brighton, and always in Margate!). A friend of mine came from Pagham, while two others live down that way now.I can small and taste egg and Heinz Sandwich Spread sandwiches as I read this, Anna! Smiths crisps with the blue twist of salt were a treat for us too. You've got me wishing for the ice cream van with the mention of the oyster shell ice cream!Your haiku tops off the memory like a flake in the ice cream!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is beautiful and filled with bouts of nostalgia, Anna 💜 I believe nobody can replicate recipes of our mothers and grandmothers.. they are just too special! 😊

Jenny Woolf said...

Lovely memories, and isn't it great the way they remain with you and actually improve with time. Because of course it wasn't always sunny but that never mattered. Which goes to show that a child's attitude to life has a lot to give us; one reason it's nice to spend time with young kids. I'd forgotten the way went through the seaside rock too, thank you for the reminder - it was very interesting to me too at the time. And do you remember Edinburgh Rock which seemed to go cold and then disappear in the mouth? never figured out how that worked.

Mary said...

I loved reading the kind of picnic that your mother packed. I wonder if the cheese and tomato sandwiches would be something that was typically British or whether this was just a family thing.. One would not have found these in an American picnic lunch. More likely ham & cheese / or some kind of lunch meat / or peanut butter and jelly. Ah, but when WE took a picnic my mother would often make a chicken, noodle, and corn casserole and put it in a large thermos & we would have THAT to eat for our picnic. Then probably some fruit & carrot sticks maybe. Such nice memories you have shared. I would love those currant buns - another thing we generally would not have here, but they sound SO good.

Jae Rose said...

A lovely mix of prose and poetry

annell said...

Your memories are mine...of coursee in another place with a diffeent family.

brudberg said...

I love the child's view of the memories here... so much the sea can offer for a child, and it's so special in the way the ice-creams and the candy tend to fill up the mind of a child.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Sometimes (often?) those squawking gulls can drown out the most boisterous laughter.

gillena cox said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. The boiled eggs mashed i had that from my mom too.
Have a good Sunday

Much 💟

Magaly Guerrero said...

This is pure magic, my lady. The details alone tell me that you don't even have to close your eyes to smile at the taste of the crisps on your tongue, or to recall how brilliant that child You felt at defying physics and making matter into more by the art of crushing and wishing and being magically young... I love the authenticity of this, the way it makes me think of my own childhood trips to the river (to do laundry mostly, but there was fun to be had afterwards).

The yellow in your note will keep me giggling all day. ;-D

Helen said...

Your words are as satisfying as the seas are immense.

C. Sandlin said...

This is sending me straight to the kitchen! Evocative details and lovely descriptions of sharing the day with your family.

Wendy Bourke said...

A beautifully rendered haibun. Even though you describe experiences that are not familiar to me, your mesmeric writing tugged at my heartstrings - as in: 'Ah yes, I can picture it.' This is a pleasure to read.

Old Egg said...

How this took me back so many years to viiting Brighton, Worthing, Littlehampton and Bognor Regis as a kid by coach from Hampshire on a family day trip with so much to do and crowds of us trippers queuing up for the journey home wishing we lived by the sea!

Thotpurge said...

sandwiches and currant buns filled with seaside memories... how wonderful!

Jim said...

Anna, for me this is a wonderful haibun full of beautiful memories of youth. I am sorry to say that in my nearly a year's worth of time over a five year span of visits to London that I had not heard of the 'cheese and tomato sandwich.' (Our younger daughter works for BP and worked in London for a five year stint, bringing here family with her, hubby abd baby daughter.) I will try Google on that. Of course now at my age I will have to remove the tomato seeds.
Beaches are a very fine outing for children, they don't seem to tire except for the ride home. Surprised your dad didn't wear swim trunks.
..

rallentanda said...

This was a special treat. I still love ham and tomato sandwiches but they have to be cut in 4 triangles. I am now craving a sticky bun...will rifle through the fridge to see if I can find some old crumpets or something:). A touch of Enid Blyton about this...enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

dsnake1 said...

a heartwarming & delicious haibun. thank you for sharing these lovely memories. :)

Carrie Van Horn said...

A lovely memory in story and poetry. I love it!