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Family Of Four: 42 - Travelling By Train

...Constantly pulling his slender gold watch from the little pocket in which it reposed, Daddy urged the porter on. The man panted as he ran pulling the heavy truck, Daddy adroitly catching a tilting piece of luggage, we children following, streaming along in an urgent rush, our spades swaying in our grasp as we encouraged Mummy to "Hurry, hurry" as she clutched her large hat and lifted her skirt, until, in the nick of time, we found the carriage, previously booked, and bundled in...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls journeys to a seaside holiday resort.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

We paid a visit of three weeks every summer to the seaside, and looked forward to it for many weeks before that. Imagine the packing up and the amount of luggage which was required for us all.

A large hamper was filled with bathing suits and towels, toys and shoes, and throughout the years we took our own tent, together with the pegs and cord to hold it safely in soft sand, in gale or sun. In the midst of the preparations Daddy had to find time to sew these into a canvas cover, using a special, large needle, tugging the string through with impatient exclamations as we harried him with questions about the holiday and the journey.

We always had to change trains, Huddersfield being situated off the main lines, and always there seemed to be an immediate connection to catch.

I recall many anxious moments. Daddy would lean out of the window in good time beckoning a porter, who then had to collect a truck and wheel it to the luggage van. And the big, black trunks, the hamper, the tent, Mummy's large, square hat box, Daddy's portmanteau and the hold-all had each to be lifted on to it.

Constantly pulling his slender gold watch from the little pocket in which it reposed, Daddy urged the porter on. The man panted as he ran pulling the heavy truck, Daddy adroitly catching a tilting piece of luggage, we children following, streaming along in an urgent rush, our spades swaying in our grasp as we encouraged Mummy to "Hurry, hurry" as she clutched her large hat and lifted her skirt, until, in the nick of time, we found the carriage, previously booked, and bundled in.

With a sense of triumph Daddy locked the door with his own key. This key was a gift from a porter at the Huddersfield station, one of the few who served him constantly on his many travels.

Daddy was very particular that our carriage should be booked about the middle of the train, and even now, I try to observe his rule. He was once in a train accident which made a lasting impression upon him, for he had helped to carry the bodies of the driver and fireman into a field. It was the first coach on that occasion which received the full force of the impact.

Now we sorted ourselves out, Mummy, of course, being given a corner seat. Mummy was amusing. She never travelled without a small, green leather cushion carried by a handle of the same leather, with a minute folding stool, which fitted into a slit pocket at one side. Settling herself comfortably with the cushion behind her head, and the wee stool unlatched and spread upon its spindle legs, Mummy rested her feet upon it, drew out her book, and sat in complete contentment.

I still have the cushion and stool, and when I am turning out the cupboard in which they are stored I smilingly wonder what looks I should receive, in these casual days, were I to use them in Mummy's characteristic way!

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