This was our holiday home. A huge umbrella with a tear in the side which we kids used as a secret entrance. My dad would have taken the photograph. His mum is inside; the confused little woman holding a biscuit box which probably contains the Jaffa Cakes and Ginger Nuts that would sustain our afternoons in the baking dunes and warm beach lakes of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. She's next to Julie, our cousin, along for the ride; she'll remember this. We met up last year and she remembers everything.
This is all from a tiny scratched black and white print that I scanned and examined minutely to see if it held any secrets. It was a thrill to discover the Oxo tin that held the sandwiches (Sandwich Spread, naturally) and my brother's plastic boat by Mum's left foot. Sister Sharman is next to Mum; I'm posing in the middle, overjoyed at the prospect of more of that endless day to come in this glorious place; in this perfect home from home.
The floor was a sea of rugs and towels. It was our quiet room if we got too hot or tired. I don't think we went to Bembridge too often, but when we did it was always sunny and the water was bathtub hot. I think Duke (late sister Sue) wasn't around till the year after. She would have been bundled into the Hillman Minx, seen heating up on the road behind, along with the rest of us.
We were beaten by a cyclist going up Brading Down that year. Both Mum and Dad laughed in disbelief. It must have been a really slow old car even then, or cyclists much harder, but back then we didn't care; we really did have all the time in the world.