First Real Holiday Remembered
Buried memories... and cigarettes.
Not quite abroad, but good enough.
A brand new taxi delivered us to Exeter airport.
Summer heat made leather upholstery stick
Like Velcro to bare legs.,
Sufficiently uncomfortable to make a fuss
But fair trade for the heady smell of the car's interior.
My first time on a plane -
One of those old propeller jobs;
It flew us to Jersey, only a short trip,
As far as my parents could afford
In the sixties when money was tight.
Jersey felt just like abroad;
All those French-sounding names
And wide, sandy bays begging for sandcastles.
There were real ones too;
Mount Orgueil and Elizabeth
Not ruined, still perfect and majestic
With moats, draw bridges and portcullises,
Impressive as when they were built.
I buried dad's cigarettes in the sand
He dug tirelessly, never finding them.
I collected buckets of shells
Which mum tipped over the harbour wall
On the last day, saying we'd have to pay excess baggage.
She lost her watch in St.David's park,
Crying with gratitude when it was handed in.
I found a huge, hairy caterpillar
And kept it in a sealed jam jar,
Air-holes specially punctured in the lid
By our landlady, Mrs.Plivane.
Just before the fortnight was up,
My precious specimen disappeared.
Confused, I searched everywhere.
Dad said it had become a brightly-coloured butterfly
In the night and flown off,
Sweet revenge perhaps for the loss of his cigarettes.
I discovered a dilapidated bungalow
Near our guest house, pretending it was haunted
Skylarking with local kids.
Not yet eight, still young enough
For two weeks' holiday to last forever
At that age you remember the going so vividly
But never the coming back.
© 2015 Stella Kaye