We still visited Greenock while any of our parents were still there, and later stayed with Annabel and Jim. They brought my Dad to stay with us when they were going on holiday. We had several holidays in Scarborough with the girls and later on our own. One of John’s colleagues had a flat in Seascale in Cumbria which he let us have one summer. We enjoyed a leisurely week there walking along the beach every day where I picked up interesting looking stones (one of my idiosyncrasies) which I took home and put on the flower tubs. Someone commented on them and I said where I’d found them, to be asked, ‘Might they not be radio-active coming from so near the nuclear place?’ What a thought! So I dug a trench along the edge of the lawn and planted them all. Unless the garden has been remodelled they are probably still there.
We had left Consett, regretfully in my case, in 1980 and now lived in the Newcastle District Chairman’s Manse. From there we had other breaks and memorable holidays – particularly memorable in 1985 not only because of where we went, but also because Anabel and John had actually asked us to go on holiday with them, which we thought was marvellous! John had married a couple in Consett some years earlier – Joy was a Consett lass and Hans-Jürgen was a German friend of her family. Anabel had translated the marriage ceremony into German so that his family could follow the service and John and I were at the wedding which was a great day. They went off to Altenfeld in the Sauerland of Germany and in time Joy learned his language. Eventually they started a Guest House and Anabel’s suggestion was that we all went there in our car, which was a bit bigger and more comfortable than theirs at that time. Well who could refuse an offer like that?
We sailed via the North Sea Ferry to Rotterdam. The whole journey was great and it was an ideal holiday. Haus Renate was lovely and we were made to feel part of the family. By then, Joy’s parents, Jean and Joe, had moved to Germany and they were great fun. We were there for a fortnight and were sorry to leave. The food was marvellous including vegetarian options for Anabel. There were lovely little villages full of flowers, and John and I were content to see the other two off in the car while we strolled to the next village and had coffee and cake, and walked round the little cemeteries so beautifully looked after with flowers everywhere.
Other days we all went off in the car. We went to Schmallenberg to ‘Fort Fun’, where there were carousels and all sorts of things to do such as sliding down an 853 yard long chute on mats and a rotating cylinder in which the g-force pinned you to the wall so that you couldn’t move a finger! We enjoyed the torrent system that whooshed down into a lake and gave us all a soaking. We were all exhausted by teatime!
The scenery and the architecture were spectacular. Winterberg was the nearest town and had lots of interest. It was bilberry harvesting time in the country roundabout. The nearest small village was Bödefeld which John and I walked to several times. The Wassertretstelle (a sort of paddling pool) at Altenfeld was amusing – but cold! People were friendly and always called a greeting. Another walk was down the zigzag path through the forest to Siedlinghausen where we had lunch, sat in the sun with our books and got back for dinner. All very relaxing. Days out with Anabel and John were to Nordenau in the rain, then to Oberkirchen and Attendorn where there were weird and wonderful limestone caves to see. We also visited a lead mine. Another day was to Paderborn which has a 13th century cathedral and many lovely black and white houses. At Meschede we sailed on the Hennesee Dam and lunched on board. Fredeburg was a day out, as was Bonn where we visited Beethoven’s house, and so on. We had a good day in Cologne and spent time in the Cathedral. There were so many lovely churches and cathedrals we didn’t have time to do them all justice.
Going back to the ‘digs’ in the evening was a pleasure, always a superb meal and each one a happy occasion. In particular there was one when Joe waited on us wearing a very saucy apron! I haven’t really done justice to this holiday but it was one of the best holidays we ever had. I doubt John and I would never have been so adventurous as to make such a journey on our own. We were happy to wander around the little villages while the other two were more adventurous with the car. And just as happy to join them on some of the ‘touring’. It worked well for us all.
Sadly, Joe died some years ago but Jean and I still email each other now and again and keep up to date with the state of our health and other things!