ECHOES OF THE PAST: Setting sail on cruise ship with ‘wow’ factor

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My last two weeks started at Leeds Bradford Airport with a 50 minute flight to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Then by taxi we joined the Celebrity Silhouette cruise ship. The word whopper and wow are just two of the many adjectives that tripped off our lips as we approached the 15 storey high and 317 meter long ship.

This was actually a working holiday for me having been invited to be a guest lecturer on the ship - four presentations and have a spare just in case was my contract. Sitting on the bed looking through the port hole in what is described as a stateroom I felt like pinching myself - can this be real, am I really here, I thought.

Going back to my childhood holidays of the 1950s saw my family like many others going off to Wallis’s holiday camp at Reighton Gap which is just down the road from Filey. That was almost 60 years ago and for us in those days travelling on the family motorbike and sidecar and staying in a caravan for a week was the wow factor for me as a young lad of almost 10.

I can still remember entering the limbo dancing contest and years later the junior talent contest. Just how the world yoyo champion happened to be there each year just when we were there as well I don’t know. But after watching him for years I was hooked on trying to walk the dog with a yoyo just as the champ did, with one I bought on Brighouse market.

How many can remember the dual bikes? These were different from the tandem bicycles where the person sits directly behind the front rider. The dual bicycles are where the two riders are side by side.

Going out to the toilet block in the early morning in the pouring rain and being mindful to where and what you might tread in was all part of the 1950s/early 60s holiday experience.

Graham Pinkney and his orchestra provided the music and the last I heard he was still an active musician in Devon. Those were the days, happy holidays. Going back to the cruise ship after a 12 day cruise we had visited Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark before returning to Amsterdam.

Meeting people from around the world was a wonderful experience. None more so than a man who introduced himself as Roger from South Africa and had enjoyed my brass band lecture.

Not many brass bands in South Africa. Roger went on to explain that he was born in Scarborough and got a contract to work in South Africa. He packed his bag and never went back and that is over 40 years ago.

He like me had fond memories of Wallis’s Holiday Camp at Reighton Gap back in the 50s and early 60s - the advent of overseas travel opportunities has certainly made the world seem a lot smaller place.

The two featured photographs show the ship we sailed on and a group of Brighouse folk on the Brighouse railway station platform ready in the early 1950s just before they went for their wow factor week holiday.