Archie Hume of A Hume Country Clothing recalls the joy of blistering like a brandy snap beneath the Scottish sun of his childhood holidays
If, like me, you recall summer holidays in the days before cheap travel and Airbnb, when all holiday houses looked and smelt the same and when a trip from Kelso to Eyemouth was an adventure a boy might never forget, then
perhaps you’ll recognise a few of these:
1. The annual holiday comprised of you, your mum, your dad, brothers, sisters and family pets all squashed into the family car after weeks of preparation for a journey so short by today’s standards that it might be called a commute.
2. Despite the short distance you still managed to pack in seven toilet stops; 102 rounds of eye-spy, three rounds of the Minister’s Cat and ask your parents if you were ‘nearly there yet?’ a total of 1,317 times.
3. It was guaranteed that by the time you’d traversed this short span of the country either a cat, a dog or a sibling had managed to vomit copiously, generally in the vicinity of your dad’s luggage, sparking the traditional parental argument.
4. You recall it was the joy of family journeys like this that eventually contributed to the purchase of a second car. After which, dad, his luggage, the older children and golf clubs travelled in one car, whilst mum, the younger children and everything else travelled in the other.
5. You remember the holiday house you stayed in every year as a spartan affair. They all were, luxury being a vulgar frippery of American invention for the likes of those Ewings who lived at South Fork Ranch.
6. You were packed off to the beach unaccompanied where
you were free to explore the unsupervised joy of thrusting a pointy metal spade into the sand in close proximity to your toes. If at this point you didn’t sustain serious injury, you would inevitably grow bored attempting to dig to Australia – as you’d been instructed to do by your parents who were either still in bed sleeping off a hangover, or out golfing.
7. You remember, having grown bored, setting forth over rocks slick with seaweed (now wearing plastic ‘Jelly’ sandals) whilst carrying a glass jar you hoped to fill with minnows. If you survived this hair-raising adventure and returned safely to the beach, you might hope to find your mum sitting on a scratchy wool tartan rug with some lunch.
8. For lunch, you enjoyed a Scottish picnic of white bread loaded with Spam or smeared with Shippam’s Paste, washed down with Creamola Foam. Sometime in the afternoon, having played a spot of crazy golf, you might sneak some Space Dust onto your already beetroot red tongue on which each taste bud was visibly standing to attention braced for the next assault. The only possible remedy was a double cone with a Flake and chocolate sauce.
9. You don’t remember anyone worrying about Five-a-Day but as this was the holidays, instead of having fruit out of a tin, the whole family would troop off to pick strawberries or raspberries which would be served with lashings of cream pebble-dashed with granulated white sugar.
10. On the odd occasion the sun shone, your mother would get out the ‘70s sun protection. This was initially coconut oil to help you ‘get a little colour,’ followed for the remainder of the holiday – once you’d coloured up nicely to match the shade of your tongue and begun to blister like a brandy snap – by a thick, clay coating of Uvistat.