During our ten years in Edinburgh our home became a welcome holiday place for friends from Northumberland, usually when we had Grandpa Pearson staying with us. Local jaunts to the South Queensferry and Cramond on the Firth of Forth, across to Burntisland by local ferry boat from Granton, days in Peebles by the River Tweed and many journeys north to various parts of the Highlands. Train, coach and steamer trips well remembered. Restaurants fondly recalled. When Northumberland didn’t come to us we journeyed south by train to Morpeth and red bus to South View: all our early Christmases were spent with Grandpa, and often summer days, too, with visits to Whitley Bay, Bamburgh, Alnwich, Morpeth, Seahouses and, of course, to Whittingham to see the wrestling. A trip to London was a special occasion.
It was the same in Coventry, our Northumbrian visitors followed us south and their visits occasions for visiting Straford-upon-Avon, Warwick and London. Early in the 1960s we made our first trip abroad as a family when with Pearson aged 12 and Ann just 9, we spent ten days in Paris. Mabel’s first holiday , aged 1 year:
Scotland in 1926 – year of the General Strike – with Mother Sarah Ann, Grandmother Margaret Johnston
and Jim aged 5.
Mabel instilled in the family that it was important to get abroad as a family and together see the wider world, having herself been brought up by parents that despite the economic circumstances of a mining household in the 1920s and 1930s (even during the General Strike of 1926) always found the means to enjoyed a family holiday each year. Sarah Ann, Pearson, Jim and Mabel always had a week away from West Sleekburn; holidaying in Harrogate, Manchester, Peterborough or sometimes to Peebles to stay with Sarah Ann’s sister Chrissie who had a cooked meat shop.Mabel encourage Pearson to take a six-month break in Paris before he attended Cambridge University. He rented a flat and worked in the library of Le Parsien and has always looked back on this experience as preparing him for the wider world of study, work and leisure. It was apparent to his parents that he knew all the best and reasonably-priced eating places! It was a providential six-months stay as Pearson settled in Lyon and ran his own business for some twenty-five years. Ann, too, in the period waiting to go to Teachers Training College spent six weeks in Western Australia. Undertaking this very long journey in the early 1960s and her time spent in Perth meeting Mabel’s distant relations were a real challenge for someone so young. What pleased her parents and made them particularly proud was her idea to go on a jeep safari northwards to Port Headlane. It was a journey of a thousand miles or so from Perth and visited a nature reserve, a ghost town, mountain and gorge areas, a gold mine, precious gem workings and a visit to a flying doctors’ base! It was a trip that her Grandmother Sarah Ann and her Mother would have loved to have made and Ann going was the next best thing for them … Our family holiday in Paris encouraged us to travel further afield: Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Germany, and a marvellous tour of Italy spending a week on the Isle of Capri and then travelled down to Florence, Pompeii and stayed a couple of nights in Rome. Mabel was right, it gave the family lasting memories of our time together as we journeyed to see different parts of the world.