Above : Wales 2019 – my Sons childhood holidays…… photo by me.
It is a languid, cold, rainy, slow Sunday afternoon in March 2019 and I am tucked under the cosy blanket on the sofa at home idly flicking through the travel pages of a magazine when I see an image so powerful and evocative to me that I burst into sudden tears.
It is an image that squeezes my heart with such an emotional punch of simultaneous joy, sadness and longing for a by gone time (and other complicated feelings) that I am instantly transported back to 1987.
The image is the iconic coastline of the stunning jurassic coast, specifically, the winding coastal path that makes me rediscover my inner child as I let my mind wander to past trips to stunning Durdle Door.
It magically conjurs up that feeling of warm sand between my toes, a tummy full of ice cream and a heart full of love. A snap shot of a precious time that can never, ever happen again, but can be returned to within the corners of my mind, filed under the name of Uncle Freddie by seeing a photo in a magazine.
I happily recall endless summer days wandering barefoot across the beach, searching for fossils and only the most beautiful shells for my treasured collections and staring out to sea while imaging escaping to sea on childhood adventures akin to the stories filling my head from the many books I loved to read, at the time, think famous 5, Swallows and Amazons and my much loved The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Narnia surely was behind the soft sea mist and just around the coast, just beyond my permitted radius?
Yet, while it is wonderful to remember those blissful, near perfect sunshine happy days on the beach, it is not that which makes tears come to my eyes, it is the memory of my wonderful and much loved and idolised Uncle Freddie, who is now long gone but still fondly remembered and much loved.
Losing my Father at 2 years of age meant that my Mums lovely older brother took on the male role model for me that informed my early years. He was my absolute hero! He set the blue print for which I searched for in my adult life, kind, funny, amusing, clever, exciting and loving. Uncle Freddie was accepting and encouraging but above all brave and strong. My uncle was a kidney dialysis patient and I would spend hours sat with him while he had dialysis. We would talk and laugh and I would draw and write stories. We were very close and even his musical taste has influenced mine. He had a big impact on me and I adored my Uncle very much. My son is called George Freddie in his memory.
I was wary around men as a child, and this man was my safe haven. He was always around and he and my lovely Aunty took me on holiday most summers to the jurassic coast. Some of my happiest memories are on the beach, with my pens and paper, books, and of course a bucket and spade. They let me explore and I remember the joy of climbing on the rocks and searching for fossils.
This love gave me freedom, and it nurtured my love of nature and our beautiful British Coastline, but what I remember strongly is the utter joy and anticipation of walking that winding path down to the beach.
It was truly stunning to see Durdle door and the panorama ahead, of blue, blue ocean and a day of sea air and magical adventures but it was a view I had slowly forgotten until I saw that photo in the magazine.
It is a view that took my breathe away, but what made me cry when I saw the photograph is the fact that it triggered a memory of Uncle Freddie gently holding my little hand as we walked that steep but much loved path. I have no photos of those treasured days spent together at the beach.
Perhaps this is why I feel so compelled to capture moments, everyday moments, holidays, adventures, my sons childhood. Will the photo above of Aberdovey where we take our boy most summers evoke strong emotions when he is older? I hope so. It will always be meaningful to me, forever. These photos show the stories of our lives. It is our history. We can never go back, can we?
I wish I did have a handful of snaps from my childhood holidays, those sunshiny moments captured forever but there is not any, sadly, but thank goodness I can remember how it felt, I can feel all that love and sense of adventure.
I know one day I shall return to Durdle Door and gaze across the sparkling water and I know I shall walk that lost path and be captivated by that view once more, and Uncle Freddie will be just beyond the sea mist, just beyond the horizon.
Where did you holiday as a child and have you ever returned? Thanks for taking a trip down the coastal path with me.
with love, Lou xx
March 2019- Under A Pewter Sky Photography- Need a photographer? Get in touch with me xx