Fond Memories of Travelling Unaccompanied (Part 2)

Oh no, now that really is a massive FAIL!!

Not only is it the 2nd half of April – I was aiming for at least a post a month – and this Part 2 post was meant to get written only a couple of weeks (if that) after the first post. I really am pathetic at this type of regular record-keeping! In the meantime, I have been on holiday to France to visit my parents (probably a post that will get dropped now) and they have been and only just returned from a holiday in Southern Ireland. Sorry, but I think it means that this post will have to be somewhat shorter than intended. No – it is now the 2nd half of May! I am feeling really unhappy today so apologies, but I am determined to finish this post today..

Photo by Brett Sayles on

This goes from bad to worse, because I couldn’t find a suitable image from the selection of free images provided. At least this image does show a train and a child (yes I know it’s a boy and I’m not, but I was always a bit of a “tomboy” and I did have a toy train track although nowhere near as good as the setup shown in this photograph).

Now, what was I supposed to be posting about? Ah yes – travelling unaccompanied as a “minor”. The second part of this post actually takes me from doing the same journey as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ right through to driving to the same place as a young, professional adult – but we will start with the ‘early’ years as that after all is what the post is supposed to be all about!

Let’s start at the beginning: I was younger than 9 (because that is the year that we moved) and at that point Freddie Laker had just started doing cheap flights to the USA. If you don’t know who Freddie Laker is, then I am sure that nowadays you can find something about him on the Internet! And before you get all excited … no, I didn’t get to fly to the US with my parents (but that is for another time). Instead, they proposed that I go to visit my great aunt in Torquay and I was deposited at Paddington station for the train to Newton Abbot with my train ticket, a packed lunch and some money with explicit instructions that the money was to take my aunt out to thank her for having me. In typical, childhood fashion I proposed to my aunt that we visit the ice cream parlour (as my treat for her) and we both enjoyed huge Knickerbocker glories! I will admit that I used to visit my great aunt every summer for quite a few years and as I got older my ‘treats’ for my aunt gradually got better and more suited to her desires rather than my own – we often used to visit eateries and enjoy tea and cakes or more likely have a huge cream tea with scones and lashings of clotted cream and the mandatory bit of home-made jam.

As I got older, I started to be classed as an “adult” (at least for train ticket purposes) and the prices just got too high and so as my father worked in Victoria, London at the time we switched to me making the annual journey to Newton Abbot by coach rather than by train. Not that my family is ‘mean’ as such, but we have never really spent huge amounts of money on holidays. Apart that is for me going on a school cruise starting at Split in Yugoslavia as it then was – on to Greece (Athens, Santorini & Corfu), Egypt, Israel and finally returning to Venice, Italy. I can’t really remember the order as I was only 15 at the time, but I do remember that we never made it to Athens as the seas were far too rough. We were meant to disembark the cruise ship onto smaller boats and I have an abiding memory of standing at an open disembarkation door with the waves tossing the small boat up and down so there was no chance that we were going to make it off the cruise liner!

To provide a sense of timescale, our cruise was the last complete sailing on the SS Uganda, before it was requisitioned to sail to the Falkland Islands as a hospital ship for the war that Mrs Thatcher, the then Prime Minister of the UK had just started there with Argentina. It’s amazing to me when I look back on it now! At the time, it was just such a relief at our cruise had been completed. The next one started, but had to return mid-way through.

OK, a little rushed but at least I managed to complete something. Now so much time has passed that we are due to see my parents next week, as they are making the journey from France to the UK for our birthday (Kevin and I share the same birthday, but I am one year older than him).






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