Some blogs I know

  • Freckles and Doubt
    Considering her mastery of narrative structure etc. (insert narrative structure here.....)
  • Trailer Park Refugee | just three shots of tequila away from a bar fight….
    Just three shots of tequila away from a bar fight...
  • Exile on Pain Street | Straddling the Hudson River. One foot in NYC, the other in suburban New Jersey.
    One man's story, etc.....
  • Fat Man on a Keyboard
    'At first they came for the smokers but I did not speak out as I did not smoke. Then they came for the binge drinkers but I said nothing as I did not binge. Now they have an obesity strategy...'
  • New York Bike Blog
  • Belgian Waffle
    Prolific? Bien sur. Waffle? Not a bit of it. The best thing to come out of Belgium since Leffe Blonde, and that is saying something.
  • Non-working monkey
    'Why taking work seriously turns you into a cock', among other lifesavingly important career advice.
  • Razorblade of life
    'Not so much cutting-edge as half-cut and still sliding'...
  • blue cat
    This blue cat fellow (he writes for the telly you know) issues forth an apparently effortless stream of grade-A funniness that has me overcome in turns by helpless laughter and shameful, powerful envy. There I've said it.
  • Joella
    Joella in Oxfordshire. Working for The Man while training to be a plumber (I think!). Loves gherkins, hates aubergines... and Fascists.
  • Bushra
    Bushra's blog/ homepage/ call it what you want
  • Dubsteps (formerly Hobo Tread)
    Thoughts of Skif, a Havant and Waterlooville fan exiled in Liverpool- possibly the most engaging non-league football writing to be found on the web- and with a little bit of politics, and plenty more beside!
  • Tired Dad
    The Man Who Very Nearly Fell Asleep
  • troubled diva.
    Mike, the self-styled 'Fairy Godmother of British Blogging'. He got us all published in a book, you know...
  • Private Secret Diary
    Dispatches from deepest Norfolk. Not that private and not that secret. Just consistently hilarious.
  • The man who fell asleep; Sadness and ecstasy in unequal measures
    The book inspired by this veteran site (A Year in the life of The Man Who Fell Asleep) features the 'sarcastic polar bears of north London' among other oddities that the author manages somehow to render absolutely plausible.
  • Pete Ashton's Internet Presence
    Birmingham's finest. Writing with enviable clarity on every subject under the sun since 2000 (a very long time indeed!). Now with added nice pictures of canals and stuff...
  • Looby
    'An awkward, clumsy fellow; a lubber; a novice'....a venerated (if refreshingly irreverent) blogging institution. Lancaster's very finest!
  • RichardHerring.com
    The comedian Richard Herring's kind of online diary thing. Always worth a visit.

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May 09, 2009


Isabelle Baker

Well, let me be the first to admit that it was a miracle we all survived the Seventies given our sheer fecklessness, our disregard for convention and our total ignorance of anything to do with Health and Safety.
Looking back, I can’t believe that we thought it was a good idea to give up a secure job with the Ministry and venture forth into the unknown with two young children (actually, it was 1973 and you and Abby were six and three respectively.) At the time it seemed a reasonable thing to do and I think we had vague notions of making a fortune in the tourist trade whilst lazing in the sun, becoming impressively bilingual and raising two naturally gifted and talented children who would somehow become educated informally and brilliantly without any state intervention………Hmmmm, didn’t seem to work out like that.
Back in England and yes, it was the Three Day Week and people were using candles some of the time as electricity was rationed. It was all to do with Ted Heath, the Tory Prime Minister whose conflict with the Trade Unions led to a miners’ work to rule resulting in regular power cuts. We’d missed the worst of it by swanning around Spain in reckless abandon and to be honest we felt a bit cheated that we’d missed the fun.
Anyway, we never learned from our mistakes as you so rightly point out. Our attempts at returning to nature were always a failure, mainly I think, because we had no grounding in survival skills. We were never in the Girl Guides or the Boy Scouts. We’d never put up a tent or cooked in the open. We’d never sat round a camp fire singing stirring songs. We didn’t even know how to light a camp fire. But it sounded romantic and fun and cheap and achievable. The reality was so different. Why did Aunty Mary and me think it was a good idea to take five city kids and two badly behaved dogs to sleep, all 9 of us if you include the dogs, in an old fashioned orange coloured tent that was made for a family of three?
The caravan at Whitley Bay was a definite improvement even though the ablutions were at the other end of the site. It was decidedly posh by comparison with the orange tent and we could get dressed up in our finery to go to the Bingo in the evenings. Very sophisticated.
In our defence let me say that we were creatures of our time. We never thought too far ahead and we dealt with each crisis as it arose. In these days of informed behaviour it’s hard to imagine that we set out on our adventures so ill-prepared. No internet to research our destination. No mobile phones for instant help when in trouble. No bank cards when we ran out of cash. Just blind optimism and enough self belief to get by.
Well, I'm off to book a holiday on the internet complete with full health insurance cover and a tour guide in attendance at all times.....Only kidding!!!!!


No, it wasn't just you... you have awoken all my 1970s family holiday memories! We never went camping but we did have some pretty disastrous experiences. But disastrous experiences make just as good memories as great ones, especially if you were a kid at the time. Anyway, I wrote a post, there was too much to say in a comment :-)
PS Brilliant to hear your mum's perspective, I might ask mine for hers too!

Tim Hall

We went camping as a family many, many times during my teenage years, and the only real disaster was when the tent collapsed in a gale near Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands. It twisted the frame but fortunately didn't tear the canvas; we somehow managed to unmangle the frame, put the tent back up, and complete the holiday.

We did have a couple of disappointing wet holidays - Camping is never so much fun when it rains, and in Britain you're always taking a gamble with the weather. I remember camping 'within sight of Snowdon' and never seeing it all week, and a fortnight in Exmoor when it rained Every. Single. Day. That was the one and only holiday when we bailed a day early because we'd all had enough.

The only other tent disaster wasn't a camping holiday, but the 1983 Reading Festival, when some numpty dropped an aerosol can into the embers of a campfire, it went boom and showered the surrounding tents with glowing coals - my nylon tent looked like a Swiss cheese. Lucky I wasn't in it at the time.


Eeeee, what a fantastic read, wor Jonathan.

I thought I must have been three and not one because I do have quite a vivid memory of seeing some oranges on a tree in Seville. I realise now that I may have been longing for a change from the apricots and this might have been why they made such as lifelong impression.

I also remember putting together some Camberwick Green jigsaw people in the back of the Caravette on some Euro-motorway, but strangely the pile of crushed vehicles in the abyss hasn't left any mark on my memory.

I wouldn't mind adding one bit to the Berwick story, which is where I tried putting a large fork into a plugged in toaster to try to get the toast out, and was saved in the nick of time from a certain 240 Volts. It may have been that I was trying to be more like cousin Simon, after seeing all the attention he got for his death-defying stunts.

Anyway, well done for writing all this down -- I think you may be getting a call from Emma Kennedy's publisher!


So it seems maybe it wasn't just us and that the standard 1970s holiday was fuelled by nothing more than what my mam sums up as 'blind optimism and just enough self-belief to get by'. And since we children of the 1970s seem to have emerged in one piece (and with a stock of the sort of memories that will last a lifetime), who are we to argue?

Abby- I remember those Camberwick Green jigsaw people as well, although im my memory they are made of fuzzy felt. I think we both remember them as they were one of the few toys from home that could be squeezed into the caravette alongside all the tins of corned beef...

Finally may I recommend everyone reads Joella's holiday memories- which amazingly also feature regular trips to Whitley Bay (which is especially noteworthy as Joella is not even Scottish so strictly speaking shouldn't even have been allowed in...)


I have to say that this is one of the few blogs I read where I actually do laugh out loud!

just brilliant - I love the image of the emergency consignment of uncles.


Thank you very much Audrey and welcome...

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