The end of the platform….
1976. The hottest and driest UK summer on record. The family had just been on a brilliant holiday to the coast. 90 degrees most days, sun cream slapped on, bucket and spade at the ready. I was only four years old at the time. But amongst the joy and fun was heartbreak, especially for my father.
Back in London, his Dad, or my Grandad if you prefer, wasn’t well. News was trickling in on his progress. Still, my father got on with his holiday, trying to ward off the bad news.
But then, came the news that all people dread. My Grandad had taken a turn for the worse and we all had to cut our holiday short. We stayed in a guest house, about 300 yards from the beach. In between the digs and the beach, was the main rail line back to London. Every morning, the place used to shudder with the first express speeding it’s way towards points west.
So, came the day we were all dreading. There we all were, on the station platform. I don’t know what Dad was feeling, being four years old, I didn’t know about bad news and grief. We all stood, with our cases, looking down this long platform, waiting for the London train. It was like an adventure coming to an abrupt halt. What should have been a continuation of the joy and fun, had to be cut short, due to that dose of reality.
I was daydreaming (no change there). All of a sudden, the loud horn of the train sounded its arrival. “Is this it?” I mused. Indeed it was. I shall never forget that day. It’s indelibly imprinted on my mind. The best family holiday cut short. My Grandad passed away a few days later, if memory serves. I’m not sure how my Dad coped. I was too wrapped up in things to notice. I’m sure it was difficult. I would love to ask him now how he coped. Sadly, he has passed on too.
All I have left is memories. Memories of sand, sea, bucket, spade, cricket bat, tennis ball, sun cream, egg rolls, seagulls, trains, hot sun, endless members of family. 1976. The end of the platform.