Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Royal Wedding

How to get the most out of a Royal Wedding. There are many who totally ignored all that goes on revolving around the wedding, that is there choice but its not one I would make, for as long as I can remember I have always sought to enjoy the occasion whether it be a Royal Wedding or a special days celebrations for our Queen.
There are many ways to get involved but I want to discuss the main 3 in my opinion in this section. The best way to get involved many would say is to be actually a part of it, by lining the route of the wedding or to be at a main point of the procedures such as Westminster Abbey or Buckingham palace, you are sure to have an experience that you will never forget. If there is one thing that we in this country can do better than anywhere in the world is to put on royal ceremony, we excel at the pomp and circumstance of such an occasion that will be witnessed all over the world with envy. If you’re unable to actually be there the next best thing is to view it on the television preferably with other people.
Another way you can enjoy the day is to go to an organised event. I visited the Great British Beer Festival and Royal Wedding event at the newly re-opened Village at Church Farm Museum in Skegness where I was able to watch the wedding ceremony with others on a large screen, as I watched my mind went back to 1953, I was  6 at the time and I was gathered around a small black and white screen in an aunt of mines house along with 20 others because she was one of only a few in her street who actually owned a TV in those days, I cant recall much of the proceedings because I was much to excited about playing with the other children that the neighbours had brought along but I can recall the splendour of the Coronation coach as it travelled up the mall. Like all things the more effort you put into a special occasion the more you will get out of it, as you can see from the photo above I decorated my mobility scooter with union jacks to bring some colour to the occasion and to fit in with the surroundings, a good event will have a lot of things happening at the same time and for those not wanting to watch all the proceeding on the large screen there was the BBQ, the Skegness Silver Band and the beers that were on sale, and speaking for myself I had a really good afternoons entertainment.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate an occasion like a royal wedding is the Community based street party, we were very lucky to have been invited to one such gathering in the street where until just recently we resided. Again my memory goes back to 1953 and the street party to celebrate the Coronation of our present Queen. It was something I will never forget. We has a country were still recovering from WW2 and we were very poor but that didn’t stop the community in pulling together to decorate every house in the street and providing food like as such we had never seen before, I remember being frightened by the sound of the big base drum in the marching band that led the parade and the games and races us kids all joined in with, it was truly a memorable day. Yesterdays street party was just as good with proud parents watching there children taking part in the traditional egg and spoon and sack races and the older age group gathered around remembering when thier children were that young and enjoying the fancy dress parade and the games and everyone enjoyed and singing along with the jazz band providing the days music. A street party gives the opportunity for conversations with neighbours that are seldom have in our busy modern life and it will often provide us with memories that will stay with us for a long time.
I feel the daily tabloids did a lot of arm by overstating the difficulties of organising a present day street party which I believe put many communities off from arranging one. But the one I visited yesterday proved that not only was it still possible but also they can be just as memorable and enjoyable as ever, it was a delight to see the children taking part in the fancy dress and the games we used to play at street parties when we were their age and just to witness the a community so different from the past can still rally round and have fun together, I do hope that in future people won’t be put off from organising what is still the best way to celebrate a special occasion.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Holidays

Easter is our first real holiday weekend of the year and here in Skegness the weather has been glorious, non of the rain that London experienced yesterday and none of the smog that other parts of the country have been experiencing. Easter means different things to people, to some it is an important religious festival and to others it is a time to giving gifts and enjoy eating chocolate and for many it’s a time to get away from it all and let your hair down after a hard winter. I believe this year is going to be a vital one for those who depend on the visitors for there livelihood. I believe that because of the cuts and the cost of fuel more people will be spending there holidays nearer to home this year and Skegness will be one of the places that will benefit by this, but it is up to the town, local businesses and those responsible for promoting tourism to how much we will benefit in future years because if the people are not won over by what they see they will go elsewhere. I have heard many times in passing conversations this Easter the comment that they haven't been to Skeggy for years and I hope they return home having enjoyed the visit. I have often heard jokes on the TV about the second prize in a raffle being a week in Skeg and 3rd prize being 2 weeks well I really hope that we can show everyone that we are better than that. There are new enterprises starting up in Skegness like the newly built Lucky Strike Building and it's good to see Grand Central opening this weekend and I wish them well, but we need much more to happen to bring us into the 21st century as a resort. It's good to have seen many of our attractions opening earlier this year and I hope the council takes note and decides to open the outdoor swimming pool much earlier than they have done in previous years. Our beaches were teeming with people this weekend but where were the lifeguards that are needed at times like this and with another busy Bank Holiday due next weekend they should be recruited and trained by now and not leave it until the main season starts. We have also a wonderful asset right in the centre of town called Tower Gardens so why isn’t it being utilised to its full potential, The entertainment has been cut once again this year whilst other resorts along our coast have band concerts all through the season and the pavilion that used to serve teas and ice creams still stands empty and in need of restoration. Many people are really making the effort I just hope our District council takes note and becomes one of them.

I have two special memories that relate to the Easter holidays and they both happened in the 1960s. There first of them took place in 1963, I was 16 at the time and was a member of a church youth club that every year hired a bus and took us into the peak district to enjoy a ramble. Whilst on the bus we enjoyed the radio and especially the pop programme called Saturday Club with Brian Mathews (who even now broadcasts on BBC2 each week on the Sounds of the Sixties). The Beatles were at the start of there popularity and Saturday club had put together a Beatles special with the Fab Four as they were called playing live in the studio. This was my first experience of hearing the lads and I was hooked and started my love of not only the Beatles sound but popular music in general that remains to this day. Saturday Club repeated these Easter Beatles Specials for a number of years which I was to enjoy with my friends on our days out in the Peak District. The second memory I have of the Easter Holidays happened a few yeas later in 1966 when I visited Skegness on the back of my mate Geoff’s Lambretta scooter. I was a mod at the time and wore my parker with pride; this was at the time of the much spoken of Mods and Rockers riots. We travelled to Skegness on a wintry Easter weekend and I must say we saw none of the trouble that is said to have blighted this period. I remember spending a very pleasant night in the Beach Comber bar on the Central Parade before following the crowd to find a sleeping place somewhere south of the town on the beach. When we arrived a small fire was underway but unfortunately it wasn’t to last long. I don’t think I have ever experience a more colder and uncomfortable night has I did on that Easter in Skegness and by the early hours of the morning we were all sitting outside of a café waiting desperately for it to open so that we could get a warming mug of tea, it was certainly and experience I have not forgotten even until this day.

Whatever way you are spending this Easter, stay safe and enjoy yourselves…  

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Never a dull moment

A typical weekend in Skegness, The newly re-opened Village at Church Farm Museum, around 50 motorcycles set of from Skegness on the Annual Easter Egg run to the children’s ward, a parade of veteran Cycles, a naming ceremony of the new inshore lifeboat gets interrupted by an emergency call out and Skegness gets a visit by an angel. Good weather all weekend enabled both visitors and residents to savour a few pre season treats and Sunday saw glorious wall to wall sunshine all day. The newly re-opened The village church Farm museum played hosts to the Knights of Skirbeck from nearby Boston. The Knights of Shirbeck medieval re enactment society offer a unique brand of Living History and Entertainment.  There was plenty to see with cooking and craft demonstrations and folks being thrown into the stocks and ever so often a battle would break out. Good to see a good turnout when I visited on Saturday and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I myself was took by the original LAPD Highway patrol vehicle on display in another part of the museum, although it was a 1990s model it reminded me of the splendid TV series in the 1950s called Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford, ( anyone else remember that)

Also on Saturday a naming ceremony to place at the Skegness Lifeboat Station for our new insure lifeboat, It was named Peterborough Beer festival IV in honour of the drinkers and supporters of the festival who over 4 a number of years had collected £37,000 enough to buy and pay for it’s first refit. The ceremony had just begun when a distress call from the coastguard was received after a man had been separated from his Jet ski and seemed to be having problems getting back to land. When they arrived at the in the area the man was already safely on dry land and the lifeboat was able to return to the Station and after a short delay the naming ceremony could continue. The RNLI relies very much on donations from the public and the volunteers who crew both of the Lifeboats at Skegness do a wonderful job.

Today at 11 pm a large collection of motorcyclists set off on the machines for the annual Easter egg run to the Children’s Ward of The Pilgrim’s hospital where they were due to handout a large collection of chocolate eggs and cuddly toys to the children there. This is an annual event and a they were waved off by the Skegness Lady Mayoress and a small crowd of well wishers, in complete contrast just over an hour later a convoy of veteran Cycles including Penny Farthings rode along the sea front on there way the The Village Church Farm Museum, what a wonderful spectacle they made as they travelled through the resort.

Finally on The hildreds square a crowd had gathered around one of these human statues that are becoming familiar this year in Skegness. This one took the form of an Angel. Not sure if they are a part of an organisation but I have seen two or three about and the costumes are spectacular.

So as you see there is never a dull moment in Skegness and perhaps that’s why the folks keep coming back for more.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Bicycle

Everyone in some time in there life as owned a bicycle. I can remember a time in the 1960s when the roads were not so busy as they are today biking everywhere, there were so many quiet country lanes to explore. One of my Ancestors Samuel Tanzer Parker own the first bicycle shop in Long Eaton at the start of the 20th Century and my father as a boy remembers having one of the first children’s tricycles as a gift one Christmas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle  

 In the 1920’s and 30s Bicycle clubs were very popular and I remember an aunt recalling how she cycled with a club from Sandiacre in Derbyshire to Skegness and back one weekend which would be around a 200 mile trip, quite a feat and I wonder how comfortable it was.

It is hope that a cycling scheme could be set up in Lincolnshire like the ones already in operation in major cities like London where by you hire a bike from a secure location and deposit the bike at a similar secure hiring point at your destination. Something like the scheme below.

This Sunday April 17th there are a number of activities planned in Skegness that involve Bikes of various descriptions. The Annual Easter motorcycle Easter Egg run from Skegness to the Children’s ward of the Pilgrims Hospital at Boston will set off from the Sea View Pub on North Parade at 11 am and the Boston Veterans Bicycle Club will be parading along the seafront before making there way to The Village Church Farm Museum to be a part of the festivities there. So get out the bike and head over to Skegness and hopefully have a great day out, lol dont forget the puncture repair kit.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The villade-Church farm Museum Re-opening

On April 15th the Church Farm Museum will be re-opened and re-launched as the Village. It was just under a year ago that it was announced as part of the cut backs that Lincolnshire County Council was reluctantly cutting the Funding to Church farm which would have meant its closer and the loss of all of its collection. But thanks to the forming of a private group of friends of Church Farm and other volunteers the Museum is in a position to re-open and run independently as a non profit making resource.

Why is the Museum so important to the town and its residents? The present day Skegness does not have a great deal of pre history. The Original village of Skegness is 3 miles out to sea after a dramatic storm in 1526 pushed the sea inland. The new settlement of Skegness took a considerable time to recover and Church Farm house (then known as Holly House was built in 1760 and was the second oldest dwelling in Skegness the first being St Clements Church built in the sixteenth century. Up until the 1870s Skegness was very much a farming community with its rich grazing soil and it wasn’t until the coming of the Railways that the town became a holiday resort.

 In 1974 the District Council bought the farm house and the County Council took over the running of it and in 1976 it was opened has the Church Farm Museum. Since then there have been a number of additions to the site such has The Withern thatched cottage and Havenhouse Barn that now acts as café and exhibition area and a number of Kiosks donated to the museum which make it more like a village community with its own Village green, which is exactly why the area is now to be branded has The Village – church farm museum. The centre point of the museum will still be the farm house that is decorated and furnished in the style of the Victorians.

Friday April 15 sees the reopening and Saturday and Sunday 16 & 17 April  sees the visit of The Nights of Shriek. http://www.britevents.com/whats-on/lincolnshire/skegness/medieval-weekend/369299/

So if your in or around Skegness this weekend please go along and support the new venture because it’s with your support that will enable the town to hold on the this very important part of it’s history

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Changes to the workplace

I left school one Friday in June 1962 at the age of 15, I had no formal qualifications, I had no inclination towards any particular skill but a member of my family worked at a Ministry of Defence ordinance depot at Chilwell near Long Eaton where I lived so it was decided that’s where I would go. There were so many openings for boys leaving school in those days and every boy that I knew had got a job. I was to start work at 7.30 in the morning and finish at 4.30. You clocked in and when the hooter went at night everyone clocked out together. I worked there for 10 years until I joined British Rail Engineering Ltd in Derby. Things were so different back then, you were not thought to young to work at 15 and yes we did muck around a lot but they kept an eye on us and made sure we didn’t get into trouble. There was not so much mechanical handing equipment about as there is now so there was much more leg work and heavy lifting to be done but in those days there was work for everyman whether you were able bodied or not there were people employed just sweeping up who would have great difficulty in finding work today.

When I started at BREL LTD Derby it was very much like a family, we even had a social club and once a year you would all go to the seaside together for the day on a coach bosses and workers together and at Christmas time there would be a party for the family and every workers child would get a present. Your hours were very rigid you clocked on in the morning and off at night and no one did an extra hour just to get the job done. If there was more work than you could handle then they would arrange overtime, sometimes a couple of hours over at night or a Saturday or Sunday shift for which you were paid time and a half. Each Thursday or Friday you would queue up and get your money in a pay packet cash in hand was the normal way and very few had there money paid directly into a bank. Very few left before their retirement day unless they died of course and most weeks I remember we would be told to stop work and join a group in front of the foreman’s office when one of the bosses would come down and make a presentation to a work college who had just made is retirement age. A good majority of men I knew at work had worked in the same job nearly all of there working life and often there sons worked on the shop floor too or their daughters worked in the typing pool.

Much has changed over the last 200 years ago since what we call the Industrial Revolution, at the beginning the pioneers of industry who on realising that the most important commodity in building there empire not only built the factory but also houses for the workers, schools for the there family’s, hospitals and places of worship and entertainment to get the most out of the workforce, with the coming of technology the workforce has become less important and empire builders made more profit from selling there empire to others to look after, many going abroad, another change was the introduction of floating these industries on the stock market where investors bonuses come before workers pay.

There as been so many changes over the last 50 years to the labour market but mostly these changes have not benefitted the majority. We import more than we export, there is less stability for the working population and working conditions and wages for the majority have fallen. How will history judge these years I often wonder?    

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Daffodills

On Saturday morning because it was nice and we felt like a change we went for a drive to a Horncastle which is on the way to Lincoln. On the way we spotted a small hamlet of cottages near where you turn off to Harrington Hall and we had to pull over for a minute or two, because all around us was a mass of Daffodils. They were growing along the road edge and up the drives to the front doors of the few properties that were around. The scene was so lovely. I was reminded of it tonight when Mike posted the poem by Wordsworth in the comments section of yesterdays post (Thanks Mike). Wordsworth was out for a stroll with his sister Dorothy when he saw the masses of Daffodils that was to inspire him to write that much loved poem. It was a blustery day and the Daffodils swaying in the wind reminded him of a sea scene. Daffodils have always been our favourite flowers and Wordsworth’s tale one of my favourite poems.

Daffodils

I wondered Lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth



Only 1st Sunday of April but its blooming good here in Skegness

Just got back from a stroll along the sea front here in Skegness and I must confess that even though its just the first weekend in April the signs are really good that this year will be a busy one. I cant remember seeing all our walkways so clear of sand so early in the year, I can remember last year people not happy that Lagoon walk was still blocked and thar was just a few days before Easter, I even saw the council tractor out today ( a Sunday would you believe it ) clearing sand off of North Bracing. Plenty of activity on the beach and even saw a group of brave souls going for a dip in the sea. Ice scream stalls were doing a good trade, the fun fair was bury and even the donkies were out taking happy children for a ride. Seemed like a lot of family's were taking the opportunity of a day on the coast for a Mothers Day treat. Quite a few Bikers in town (think there is a bikers weekend over at Butlins) most of them were relaxing in the sunshine by there bikes, but alas there is always one who finding the road clear from the pier to the clock tower decided to open the throttle and show off with a wheelie, only he didn't count on company so quickly as a motocycle cop pulled out of a side street as he past, well he won't be repeating that trick in a hurry again in Skegness. Everywhere elso so it was all smiles and thoughts we hope of returning again for the Easter brake.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Before you can know yourself you need to know where you came from

A few years ago I started to research my family tree using my Father as the starting point of my search. I started by getting as much information I could from my Father who is now 89 and by piecing information I could recall from things I had heard from other relatives. It’s very important when starting your research to get as much as you can from living relatiives. There are a number of websites that you can use to trace birth, Death and marriage information on line and Census reports are extremely important when locating people and finding out what work they did. I chose to join Ancestry.co.uk  http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ which is perhaps the largest of its type and offers an extremely large collection of resources, just and warning it is not cheap to be a member but check with your local library first for they might be able to offer a free link to there resources.  Another source of information is local history websites for the home town of your ancestors, most of my ancestors over the past 100 or more lived in the Town of Long Eaton in Derbyshire and I was very fortunate in that the have an excellent local history website    http://www.long-eaton.com/.

So far I have been able to trace my linage back on my paternal side to the 18th century; all of my ancestors at the time were working on the land mainly as farm labourers. The Marshalls came from Shepshead a small rural area in Leicestershire and on my grandmothers side my Grt Grt Grt Grandfather John Parker was born in Long Eaton in 1792. This period in history just prior to the Industrial revolution was dominated by large landowners buying up pieces of open farm land and enclosing them in the way they are today, and as such putting many of the rural community out of work. Many from this community moved into towns that were just beginning to grow to find new opportunities. All through the 18th century I can trace my family being much involved in industry. My great Grandfather became a lace maker as did many of my ancestors and his wife was born and lived most of her young life aboard a working barge out of Shardlow. They became very productive Enoch involved in lace making and Mary running a grocers shop in the Front room of the house and one of there sons opened the first cycle shop in Long Eaton. They were fast becoming well respected in the community and also in the Parish Church community. Looking through the census returns of the day I discovered my great grandmother Harriet Parker living in the same street as my great grandfather Samuel Goddard lodging just across the same street, Samuel was a railway man and had moved to Long Eaton from Nottingham because there was more opportunities in the fast expanding railway town, Samuel was also a non conformist Methodist and from a start did not hit it off with Herriot’s farther Enoch. I had already heard the tale from an aunt of how Enoch disowned is daughter because he claim she was marrying below her status and I suspect is wife who coming from a boating background who hated the railway because it had damaged the profitability of the canals was also an influence in the split. From this day on most of my family were involved in the railway, I have found ancestors who were station masters, signalmen and my Grandfather was a engine driver all is working life.

Tracing my linage back I have found much out about my own life and why I am like I am, we all are a continuation of our forebears through there Genes. For instance music as always played a large part of my life, my grandfather was a big supporter of the local Silver Brass Band in long Eaton and my father also has a passion for classical music, there as been a strong connection with the National Union of Railwaymen as I was whilst spending 20 years of my life working on the railways, I would definitely say I’m a none conformist though I don’t have any religious beliefs. I’m very passive and even though I can trace my linage through two world wars and even the Boar War before that I see no trace of leadership and I would expect that like myself they would have followed orders but kept there head down and got through it. I’m proud of who I came from and what I am and clearly see myself as a part of the working class community.