August 1999. You’d always know a bank holiday weekend getaway had begun, when the first few raindrops had started streaking across the car windscreen. Twenty minutes later, and we’d grind to a halt behind an eight mile tailback of cars, caravans, and trailers on the M6.
My brother would barely be visible on the seat to my left, buried beneath an avalanche of camping equipment we couldn’t fit in the boot. It was obvious he was still alive though – we’d hear him screaming ‘Dad I need a wee!’ every five minutes. My Mum meanwhile would be staring out of the window in exasperation. Reality was dawning – our annual dreams of eating Cornish Ice-Cream beneath a sapphire blue sky, would once again be replaced by eating fish and chips from a Styrofoam box in the tent.
Still, despite the weather, it was always nice to get out of the city. One of the places I remember most from our family holidays in the 90’s is the sea-front in Padstow. Every year we’d join the legions of families dangling crab lines into the sea from the harbour. Villainous seagulls would waddle around, screeching throatily into the air as they watched us from the rooftops.
I always thought it was cool, how a town as small as Padstow was still special enough to be the face of a hundred postcards. The city was home, but as a child in the 90’s, you could never beat the adventure of getting away for a few days adventure at the seaside. The happy memories of making campfires, body-boarding in the sea, and playing out in the fresh air will stay with me forever. Here’s to family holidays in the 90’s.