When I was 10, my parents decided it was time for us to move and see what the rest of the UK had to offer. Their destination of choice? Skegness. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the east cost of England, Skegness is your typical seaside town, one of the biggest in its region and a popular holiday destination. As a child, we had ventured to Skeg a few times as day trips but never spent more than a night there.
This was the first time my sister and I had ever moved (in living memory) and as we were currently living in a nice 3 bedroom house, the prospects of moving was pretty daunting. This was all we had ever known. We soon learnt we wouldn’t be living in a place as big as our house, we weren’t even going to be living in a house at all. Not even a flat… We were moving into a caravan.
So 10-year-old me was thinking the exact same thing that you guys are probably thinking: “A caravan? Like one that gets attached to the back of a car? Are we going to become travelers? Gypsies?” . It’s an understandable thought. We only really knew about tow-caravans, the ones people tend to use for weekends away and have a mind of their own when going around roundabouts. And I knew the four of us would struggle in a caravan that small. Luckily we were going for a more ‘family friendly’ type of caravan; A static caravan (one permanently rooted to the floor, located on a caravan park. Usually used for holiday makers or retirees).
So we moved in November 2003, with little to go on besides a few pictures. I was both excited and nervous, unaware of what would great us. Much to my supersize the caravan was pretty decent. The size of a small bungalow with 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets and a good-sized living room. The caravan park was awesome too. A fully build little town with different villages of caravans, our own shop, pub, swimming pool, arcade… One big playground. Some of my most treasured memories are from this chapter in my life. My dad used to work night shifts and would sleep during the day and as my sister and I were only 10 and 7, and made a fair amount of noise, we were given permission to take our bikes and roam the site, provided we didn’t leave the park. Today it sounds utterly insane to trust two kids so young to roam around freely without supervision but it was freedom we adored and no doubt added to our characters today.
We would fill our entire days doing different things. The site had several large ponds populated with huge Carp. We would sneak bread to feed them or hang around the arcade, looking for stray 2p coins then putting them into the machine with the best looking sweets but our favourite spot was just outside the golf course. A small water fall sheltered by a weeping willow that ran into a very peaceful pond. Ducks would often patrol this area, especially the waterfall as there was plenty of yummy moss for them to tuck into. Over the course of the year, we’d watch the ducks and their ducklings try to conquer this waterfall. It was so entertaining to see the little ones get so close before the current would sweep them down into the pond and they would have to do the waddle of shame back to the top.
Another area of the golf course had an unused, wooden gazebo, used to store the restaurants outdoor furniture during the winter. As typical children, we obviously messed with these chairs, making our own restaurants for our invisible friends. We did get caught a few times but that never stopped us.
I look back on these memories and it amazes me how happy I was. We moved to Scotland in 2005 and from there on, life took a very steep plunge into the darkest of times. To be able to look back on life before that, is not only very important to me but reminds me of a time I could just be a child, spending all my time outside, spending my pocket-money on penny sweets and buying ‘The Simpsons Comic’ every month. From my point of view, moving to Skegness was one of my parents smartest decisions.