Memories of Childhood Holidays by Janice Preston

This week I’m joined on my blog by good friend and author, Janice Preston. Janice has just published The Rags to Riches Governess for Mills and Boon. I will include my own review of the book at the end of the post.

Over to Janice to tell us about her childhood holiday memories …

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog to talk about my memories of childhood holidays, Morton.

My mind has been in the past a great deal of late, as I lost my Dad at the end of November. We made a start on sorting out his home and that, of course, included a number of photo albums as well as boxfuls of loose photographs, which triggered so many happy memories. Knowing I was to write this post, my plan was to return to Dad’s bungalow after the New Year and pick out a few photos to illustrate this post (and, if I’m honest, to trigger even more memories).  But the best laid plans… of course, lockdown 3 came along and so now I am limited to using the few photos I already have at home. Please excuse the quality – no digital photos in those days!

As a family, we went on holiday every summer without fail, usually a beach holiday in Devon or Cornwall until, as time went on, my older sister (Pat) and I grew out of building sandcastles and we graduated to places like the Lake District (where I remember our Windermere hotel had a magnificent Pyrenean Mountain dog – I had never seen one before) and the Isle of Wight, often accompanied by our yellow labrador, Jason.

We never did go abroad as a family – Jersey was the furthest afield, and I remember my great excitement as we set sail on the ferry! I was probably 5 or 6 at the time. We went with another family, and my abiding memory of that particular holiday was of my Dad driving us four kids to the beach in a Morris minor convertible with the sun shining and the roof down while we sang The Quartermaster’s Stores at the top of our voices. Our family were never renowned for our singing abilities, so heaven knows what the locals thought! 

Many of those holidays have merged into one in my memory – flashbacks to beaches, sun, sand, picnics, windbreaks and deckchairs, candyfloss and vinegar-drenched fish’n’chips in newspaper, swallowing salt water and getting sand in unmentionable places, playing in the waves, hunting for crabs in rock pools, getting stung, buckets and spades – Dad always built us fantastic sand cars, and we loved to sit inside and pretend to drive.

But one early holiday does stand out in my memory, although not for the best of reasons! We’d booked a holiday on a farm near Perranporth and, as an animal nut, I was sooo excited. Pat and I made friends with the farmer’s kids, and they showed us the hay loft where there was a litter of kittens, we collected eggs, and played on a rope swing that hung from a tree. Strangely, I can’t recall cows or sheep, although there were clearly cows there as, one morning, breakfast was very late and, when it came, consisted of tea and toast rather than the full English we’d become used to. And this breakfast was served by the farmer himself – his wife had run off overnight with the cowman! We found ourselves packing our bags that day and searching for somewhere else to stay.

One of my favourite holidays as I grew older was Butlins at Pwllheli, in North Wales. Mum and Dad loathed it, but Pat and I loved it and spent most of our time at the roller-skating rink, and the disco in the evening. I remember being most put out the day our parents decided we should walk up Snowdon rather than stay in camp! I have no doubt I sulked, although I do recall the sense of achievement when we reached the top. 

Mum and Dad were both Geordies, having grown up in South Shields and we loved to spend some time during the holidays there, travelling up by train from London where we lived. We used to take the lift down the cliffs to Marsden beach, where Marsden rock squatted like a huge fortress in the bay. You can see the rock in the postcard – the sea had eroded tunnels beneath it that you could swim through, but going into the sea was more of an endurance test than fun – the sea was always perishingly cold, even in the summer! Sadly, the rock itself has now collapsed. 

It was at South Shields where I rode a horse for the very first time (apart from rides on the beach). Although it was over 50 years ago, I still remember Coffee (see photo), and clinging on for dear life as we jumped up a bank to get to the hills next to the riding school. I’ve had a lifelong love of horses, and even a kick from a Dartmoor pony on one Devon holiday didn’t put me off!

When I finally get the chance to look through those family photos, I am hopeful they’ll trigger many more happy memories. Thank you, Morton, for giving me the excuse to revisit my childhood and to remember my parents as they used to be before the years took their toll.

About Janice Preston

Janice Preston writes emotional and sensual historical romance. Although all her novels are standalone reads, she loves to write stories set in the same Regency world, and many of her books include book-hopping characters.

When Janice isn’t writing she enjoys reading, swimming, pottering about the garden when the sun is shining, and travelling whenever she can. She fuels her imagination with endless cups of coffee, is far too keen on unhealthy food, and is an expert procrastinator.

Social media links

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Twitter – @JaniceGPreston

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About The Rags to Riches Governess

From impoverished governess…

…to wealthy heiress

Governess Leah Thame learns she’s inherited a fortune the day her employer, the enigmatic Earl of Dolphinstone, returns from abroad. They share an instant connection, but in order to claim her inheritance, Leah must resign and find a husband. The guarded widower offers a convenient marriage to stop her leaving, but Leah refuses. She won’t marry the man who’s captured her heart, unless there’s a chance of her love being returned…

Buy Link

Morton‘s Review of The Rags to Riches Governess

5 Star – Janice Preston’s writing is polished and rather than just reading a story, you are transported back to the Regency era. As a shy person, I can so easily put myself in the position of the heroine of this story, Leah. I could see myself being unmarried in my early twenties and having to earn a living as a governess! The author is also good at depicting attraction between the hero and heroine, and the sex scene – ooo la, la! Lord Dolphinstone is attractive and fanciable, but his past makes the story more interesting and believable. I also love the dog, Wolf and the children. Can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Thank you for sharing your childhood holidays, Jan. What lovely photographs. So sorry about your dad, but it sounds as if you have a wealth of lovely memories … Hugs. Mx

Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

International Bestseller Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe published as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and Choc Lit for other options.

Bestseller Sunny Days at the Beach is now available as an eBook, audio and paperback – Amazon KindleApple iBooksKoboNook BooksGoogle Play and at Choc Lit for other options.

Christmas at Borteen Bay is available as both an eBook and audio download – Amazon KindleAudioApple iBooksKobo and Choc Lit for other buying options.

The Truth Lies Buried is available from all eBook platforms – Choc LitAmazon KindleKoboApple iBooks and also as a paperback and audiobook.

The Girl on the Beach published by Choc Lit is available as a paperback and from all eBook platforms –Amazon KindleApple iBooksKobo, Barnes and Noble and Google Play.

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. I think you tap into universal memories of bucket and spade British seaside holidays, Jan, although the farmer’s wife running off was perhaps a bit unusual. Very nostalgic and made even more poignant by your recent loss.

    Liked by 1 person

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