In conversation with Anabel the other week she mentioned that I had never said much about holidays. So I thought I’d veer off and give them a mention! Our first holiday was a few days at my parents in Greenock just after Christmas 1956. There were so many Christmas events and services in Haltwhistle we couldn’t have been away then, much as we would like to have been. It was great to see everybody. We were able to tell both families that I was about 10 weeks pregnant which was well received! Anabel was born on 16th July, and I went to Greenock in late August with the pram loaded with the luggage and carrying the baby. John came to Carlisle with me and saw me on the train and my Dad met me at Glasgow. John followed in a few days and we came home together after about 10 days. We stayed with my parents or John’s each year. We always enjoyed trips on the steamers to Dunoon, Rothesay etc. and always seemed to get good weather!
We had holidays in Scarborough and enjoyed all the theatres; also in Grange-over-Sands where we rented a flat which was intended for use by ministers and families who had been ill and needed rest. When not required, we were able to have it a couple of times. Anabel did a school exchange with Susanne in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, but we never went abroad as a family.
One of John’s College tea club got us a week in the caravan at the family farm at Culgaith in the Lake District. It was a lovely area and we had some great trips including a memorable one when the rain came down in torrents and we had to stop and wait till it went off as the wipers couldn’t cope. The girls thought it was great fun! On each of our stays in the flat at Grange we had more great fun. It was our first car, a Ford Anglia, second or more hand and quite elderly! Anabel and Elspeth would be about 8 and 5. Half way up a very steep hill the engine stopped. We all got out. There was a steep grassy bank and I sent the girls up to the top away from the road, then found stones to put behind the wheels being convinced it would run away downhill! Then I climbed up beside the children. After a bit, a car stopped and a nice Japanese couple took John on to the nearest garage. The deserted females played I Spy etc., and again it was good fun! The next time was the same, the car just wouldn’t go. This time, a man who stopped found he was going to the same place as we were so he towed us. When we arrived at the flat he untied us and said to John “Just try the engine” – which he did and it came to life straight away! It really was funny and we all had to laugh. I don’t remember it ever happening again.
After the Anglia we had a Morris Traveller (seen here with Anabel coming back from school camp). Then a fellow minister told John about a Methodist garage owner in Yorkshire who found reliable older cars for clergy and arranged for us to go there. To our amazement, he had a Vauxhall Cavalier for us if we would like it. It was so spacious and comfortable. He told us the price and what he would knock off for the Anglia and suggested we went off and had some lunch and think about it. We decided to go for it and so began a succession of Cavaliers. Later, when we lived in Consett, he appeared at our door one day and said it was time we had a change. Fortunately our ‘car fund’ was able to pay the price and off he went with the old car. Ministers were given a travel allowance and we always just put it in the car fund towards the next car.
When we retired we came to Paisley with a Cavalier but wanted a smaller car. The local dealer sold us a great Vauxhall Astra. We tried the Corsa, but the passenger seat wasn’t comfortable and we liked the slightly bigger car better. We got a great deal and for the first time ever had a new car that wasn’t second hand! It had been the manager’s car but had been little used. It was a trouble free car, and when John gave up driving Anabel bought it and it is still in good order. I don’t think we ever got over the thrill of actually having a car and enjoying all the great outings and holidays we had with it!