I’ve just changed the banner over the top of my Facebook page to this lovely, sunny picture which was taken probably circa.1965 (because my mother’s not in the photograph as she was almost certainly pregnant with the new ‘playmate’ she’d been casseroling for a good few months. He’d be served up that October).
Taken on Weymouth beach, the line-up goes (l-r) My lovely Nan (Mum’s mother) with me perched on her lap like the cherubic little charmer I was at that age – catch me in another 6 months and it’s a whole other story I’m afraid and yes, the casseroled baby has a LOT to do with the sharp turn of events – next in line is my second Cousin Frances who’s got her tongue right inside her stick of candy floss (she’s also, I noticed, wearing what appears to be my own mother’s bathing costume – so perhaps she fitted into it a whole lot better than mum did at that precise moment in time…. casseroled babies… ggggrrrrr!) and next to her is her own mother, my Great Aunty Ivy -who I have such HUGE, huge fond memories of because her and my Nan (being sisters) were always such fun to be around. And the last lady on the end on the right with her mouth open is my Maternal Grandmother, Gran Cooper, who lived in Dorset and with whom we (all?) stayed every summer.
I’d love to know what all the men were doing when this picture was being taken, because they weren’t around that’s for sure (otherwise mum’d got in on the act if she could’ve hidden her belly behind a deckchair) so I’m presuming they’re either in a pub along the promenade or else they’ve gone back to the cars to fetch the cumbersome hampers of pre-packed lunch back to the hungry gaggle of girls on the beach. I remember sometimes if the weather was particularly offensive, we’d eat our lunch at a white and red tableclothed diner called ‘Dorothy’s Caff’ along the seafront, and I can still smell the chips, sugary tea, vinegar and and ketchup aroma that used to greet us as we pushed our way through the doors. And the cigarette smoke, which was just normal at the time.
It clearly wasn’t very windy because we don’t have the wind-cheater up (yet? Maybe that was part of the chattel the men had returned for) and we all look very relaxed and cheerful so no sand was going anywhere horrid just yet. I can’t profess to remember how the day went but going by the look on my cheeky little chipmunk face, I think I rather enjoyed being around all these lovely doting female relatives and I know how much I adored being in Dorset, so all in all a very happy occasion I’d say.
And… “smile for the camera!”