"Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside." We all know the song and I think it is unanimously agreed that the song-writer put our
thoughts into words very clearly.
The last minute preparation finished we awoke bright and early on this glorious morning, Friday, 13!!! August, and before long
were gliding towards the silvery sea in the comfortable coach. Our hearts were so light, one might almost have imagined that we
were dreaming and this was our dream-ship sailing over the slumber seas. But it was time, our holiday had started. Yes, we were
now going through Tottenham, the Spurs supporters among the party expanded their chests quite two inches and had much to say
about Willie Hall and company. On we went, sinking and whistling, to be suddenly plunged into darkness, lit only by the lights of
the coaches and an occasional glimmer from a wall lamp. We were under the river, but after such noisy screeching we eventually
emerged into the sunshine again, this time country-side instead of factory-land. Here and there we spotted barrage balloons, of
course we were interested but did not allow their significance: to spoil our trip. Mile after mile of green fields and apple laden
orchards (what a pity we were travelling so fast), through Ash ford and on to Hythe, why, we were nearly there!
Out came the combs, one must look smart, after all, Doris or Joan might be there already. Another few miles and a cheer goes
up—look, there's the Tuck shop!
Before we had time to get the luggage off the coaches we were pounced upon by an old friend, none other than jovial Mr. Foster.
His party of working lads were going back the next day but dearly wanted to try out their football prowess against us. Never
refusing a challenge we played them that evening and won. As is usual at camp we were all very much at home within an hour or
so of our arrival and by nightfall Goldings had been completely forgotten.
Swimming and sunbathing, rounders, cricket on the sands, treasure hunts and early morning physical jerks to liven up the liver,
how glorious it all was, certainly Life with a capital L.
Of course, the sight of armoured cars and camouflaged aeroplanes certainly reminded us of the war, but somehow we did not take
that as being too serious—not at first. But all the time the war clouds had been rapidly drifting towards England until at last we
heard that our holiday must end sooner than we had expected. Fortunately we were able to have the outing to Folkestone before
we left, and here we spent a most enjoyable day, eating numerous ices and eventually trooping off to see Rudyard Kipling's
"Gunga Din" as portrayed by the stars of the celluloid world.
The happy day over we drove back to camp, here to pack prematurely for the return journey to Hertford, but though it meant the
end of our holiday there were many willing helpers and by nightfall we were ready for departure the next day.
A trifle sad maybe, but going back without so much as a grouse, knowing full well that in our small way we had a job of work to do,
the competition of the trenches and the black-out of the school. Just over a week later, one full of exceptionally hard but willing work
came the catastrophe we had been expecting—our country was at war! With the same equanimity that we accepted the curtailment of
our holiday we now face the future, ready always to do our bit whatever the consequences may be, a vow ever in our hearts—
"There'll always be an England."