Sunny Days Encounter
Who remembers the drought summer of 1976? Week upon week of wall-to-wall sunshine, hard blue skies, melting tarmac, hose pipe bans and standpipes? Farmers tearing their hair out, the long lost village of Mardale re-appearing for the first time in forty years as the Haweswater Reservoir in the Lake District all but dried up? Denis Howell MP, officially Minister for Drought but nicknamed 'Minister for Rain' waffling on about how five inches of bath water was sufficient. Watching Abba in black and white on Top of the Pops, and rolling up flared trousers to sunbathe in 90 degrees in the shade. By August trees had started turning brown and shedding their leaves. Grass everywhere, from golf courses to roadside verges, turning a dull brown-yellow. Heat hazes shimmering off a near African landscape. And those little white stickers which could be picked up for free from branches of Halfords and the like reading: 'I'm Dirty! I'm Saving Water'. Something else to add to the car's rear window to go along with the obligatory nodding dog and giant furry dice.
I was 23 that summer and single. With impeccable fore-planning I had a Holiday Fellowship canal boat holiday booked in the west country for the August, based upon Tewkesbury. Barely enough water left by then to float a plastic duck! But by way of compensation I did have a memorable sunny days encounter.
She was two years older than myself and from the London area. A big, strapping young woman, 5' 11'' and powerfully built, yet possessing a lovely personality and an ebullient 'in your face' manner. And on the third day as I think it was, she further enlightened me to the fact that in her spare time she was a semi-professional wrestler! I kid ye not. I cannot quite recall our first holding of hands, but our first kisses certainly took place whilst screened behind a massive glass cabinet full of antique porcelain during a conducted tour of the Royal Worcester china works. And so things carried happily on until the end of the week when - to the considerable frustration of the two HF reps - we jumped ship, pooled what holiday money we had left, caught a bus into Monmouth, and there booked ourselves into a cheap hotel for our remaining two days. The hotel, more of a guest house really, was decidedly on the shabby side and run by a pair of elderly gents who in today's PC world would be termed same sex partners. The room had an overall brown drabness to it, relieved only by the ever present sunshine streaming in through the wide first floor bay window. And there, in the aged brown eiderdowned double bed, passion went supernova ...
But it wasn't to be. A couple of weeks later I actually saw her wrestle. She and another girl as a tag team, first warm up act of the night at a venue in Hertfordshire. I had driven down from Norfolk at her invitation to spend the weekend at her parents' house. They won too, my holiday girl gaining the winning pin fall, then blowing me a kiss through the ropes as I sat in the front row beside her big - in every sense! - brother. And afterwards, everyone the best of friends backstage. The other team's turn to win next time. We parted as friends when I set off for home.
Nearly three decades passed before we re-established contact via a certain well known website. Me long since happily married with a lovely daughter then twelve, she the same only with two in her case - plus a policemen son-in-law! Did she remember the canal boat holiday of '76? Oh yes! Our sunny days encounter. Because that's what memories are for - enjoying!
Published on writebuzz®:
> Memory Book