Staycation – now that is a new word. Hoping you are all well and had been enjoying the glorious summer weather before it changed to rain and thunderstorms last Wednesday. But that is what to expect in Britain. I am sure the lovely weather will return again soon.
And of-course for those of us wanting to take holidays will have to do so within the UK borders. Although there is talk of the double vaccinated people not having to go into quarantine after visiting a country on the amber list. It is not good that the virus cases are creeping up more and more every day? I do think that Boris should have put India on the red list a lot sooner. Other surrounding countries were not as bad as India at the time and they were already on our red list. And the graphs show the very few cases of the Alpha (Kent) variant now. If the Indian (Delta) variant did not cross our shores in that way it has then I think we would have been looking forward to almost a normal pre-Covid way of living from 21st June. And now – who knows when the final easing of restrictions will happen. I cannot see it being so even on 19th July. A group of us have booked to see Con and Dec at Doncaster in September. That hangs in the balance. We cannot tell if the theatre will be allowed to work to full capacity or not – I cannot plan the Get Together we would like to have due to the rule of six indoors which may still be in effect by then. As far as I can see – things won’t be the same so it may be better if the date gets moved on to a time when we can enjoy it more. But we will see.
As for the green list of countries we can visit, there are not many places where families can go to with their children. Australia and New Zealand won’t let us in. Nor will Ireland. Iceland is too far North and half of it is above the Arctic Circle so the children won’t be able to splash about in any pools there. Israel is another place we are allowed to visit without any isolation rules afterwards, but I would not even want to go there what with the trouble they are having. It all flared up again last week according to the news. America is too far away to spend one or two weeks. One needs to go there for three weeks to a month to make it worthwhile. And all those holiday makers who went to Portugal were caught out and had to hurry back home when that country was placed on the amber list. It is a risk travelling anywhere now.
When we look back to the early days back in the 60s and 70s when The Bachelors performed in summer season shows at coastal resorts – not many people considered travelling abroad as a regular plan. It must have only been the young people in highly paid jobs who used to book package holidays in Europe. The rest of us made do with holidays in England. My family lived in Kent so we headed West to Devon and Cornwall for our holidays or even closer to home at Hythe. Then I spent two holidays in Wales with my in-laws in the early 80s. I remember the weather being quite iffy and we had to spend most of the time driving around and or being indoors. My father-in-law made me laugh. He had a deep monotone moany groany voice. And every day he would grumble in great length “This bloody weather is so awful, all it does is rain and it is dull and windy. And I bet when we all go back to work next Monday the sun will be shining and the skies will be deep blue and it will be hot!”. And indeed it was always exactly what he said.
Meanwhile most of my Bachelor fan friends who are a few years older than me enjoyed annual holidays wherever The Bachelors were through the 60s as well as the 70s. I had five Bachelors holidays. My first one was at Paignton in 1973 along with a school friend Irene. The next was a working holiday at Scarborough in 1974 when I saw the second half of the boys act every night for 6 weeks. The next was in 1975 spent with Linda Keane seeing them in Sunday concerts at Blackpool and Paignton and then a few nights at Butlins in Minehead. Then in 1976 I spent two weeks with 4 other fans at Bournemouth. And finally in 1978 when my husband and I saw them every night at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool which I now understand is a car park.
The boys’ fans must have had tremendous fun through the 60s hooking up with each other and going to see both shows every night. I can imagine the atmosphere of fun and delight and anticipation of great times to be had at each show. I expect the daily plans were arranged around the shows – such as main mealtimes being earlier in the day – time on the beach or even time seeing the boys appear at daytime functions such as opening fetes or taking part in presentations. And I know of two friends who were even more lucky to be living at or very near those resorts. So they could nip along to the theatre and see the boys’ shows at any time, or simply just to be there to see them arrive at the stage doors.
The boys were so young and energetic in those days – when you come to think of everything they packed in. It was always part of their contracts to stay in the area where they performed. So they must have gone alone to start off with and their families would join them for the school holidays. They must have had so much fun then and so many special memories. More so than the rest of us when we could only take a week or two at the most every year. I believe that the boys would be up early every day to play golf – following a late night performing the night before. Then they would have joined their families from lunchtimes and spending long lazy afternoons together – or partaking in other sports when their families were not with them. I know they enjoyed water skiing. Then they would turn up at the at the theatre minutes before the first shows commenced. Often they would be first on stage – with further appearances on and off throughout the first half. It must have been a quick scramble to don stage gear and apply make up in double quick time. They must have adapted well to that from very early on in their careers. And they would be the topping the bill through the second half of each show for about up to one hour. It was always a late finish for them. And not only that – they used to travel across country to another resort to perform in two Sunday concerts. Often they would travel the length and breadth of England. From Blackpool to Eastbourne or Margate for example. But they did it and still gave higher than top standard shows. How they did it, I do not know. But we have to admire them for their dedication as entertainers and the stamina they possessed.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to re-live those times. To turn the clock back, go on a time machine to see them as they were then along with other celebrities who are no longer with us. They boys probably would like to do a little mini summer season now – but on a lesser scale than before. But of-course with the virus still running riot, none of that is possible. But we can dream.
I cannot believe a month has passed us by since John Leyland launched his brand-new website www.the-bachelors.net I hope you have all been looking at it and enjoying everything he has placed on there. He adds on new information from time to time, so do still keep looking at it all. And being the ardent fans we are, it is interesting to read it all over and over again. John has brought back some memories for me. Particularly when he mentioned a Radio series in the early 70s which I had forgotten about. I was forbidden to watch the boys on TV but I was allowed to listen to radio shows. My sister and I were lucky enough to have the family radiogram in our bedroom, so we used to listen to any shows on there and the Top Twenty Hit Parade on Sunday evenings. And the sound coming from that machine was always bold and crystal clear. Even for me being deaf. I do remember in one part of a radio shows when Dec said he recited all of the names from a telephone directory. You will remember how thick those books were back then. I think it was Con who said to Dec “Come on then – tell us all the names from one of the pages”. And Dec said “Smith, Smith, Smith, Smith…” and so on. Very amusing.
We have since seen the boys’ June Zoom show and it was fantastic. We need more people joining in. So if you haven’t done so, please set yourself up on Zoom and be part of all the fun. The boys’ topic of conversation was what food would we not want to eat. Mine would be cheese. I hate cheese and get so annoyed when I go to a restaurant or want to buy ready meals and find most contain cheese and I have very little choice otherwise. To serve a meal without cheese is never an option – the restaurant kitchens cannot cope with that kind of a request. One lady spoke about crabs – she has never liked the texture of them. The boys asked another lady if she likes tripe and she said no – she finds to be so awful. And I think that went for the rest of us. Con and Dec said they like it. I was surprised with Dec since he is an oysters and caviar and champagne man. But their generation was brought up on tripe more than mine was.
Dec replayed “Streets of London” which I think is wonderful. It brought back memories of my London days when I worked there. Especially with the videos he sourced online showing the homeless people shacking up on the pavements. I used to almost trip on a fair few walking to the office in the mornings. Then the boys sang “He Ain’t Heavy – He’s My Brother” to a backdrop view of a field full of sheep – which I assume to be on the South Downs near where Dec lives. Then they sang “Bless This House” using pictures inside and outside of Con’s lovely Tudor house where he has been living for 51 years so far. We avidly look forward to the next show in July. And more after that but that depends upon us fans and attendance levels. So if you want these shows to carry on, please, please join in at the real time. 2.30 pm BST on the first Sunday of every month. As it seems the pandemic will carry on for a while yet and we need to receive this kind of entertainment.
I am not going to attempt to type out a list of “Ask A Bachelor” questions because I had a nasty fall last the week and I am still not too good. I need to rest up as much as I can. Anyway, I came across a short paragraph asking about their early memories.
Dec said his first memory was when he was sitting on a bus and the song “Happy
Birthday” was being sung. Not to him because I asked if it was his birthday on that day and he said it wasn’t. Many of us have memory snippets like that from early childhood, I certainly do – from when I was pushed around in my push chair. Con’s memory was a lot more detailed than that.
One of my earliest memories was when I was about three years old. My mother took me for a walk along the canal bank with the lady next door who was pushing a pram. I wasn’t looking where I was going and I slipped and fell in the canal. I remember going under the water and then grabbing at some reeds and pulling myself up. Someone pulled me from the water and my mother tried to dry me off. She then put me in the pram and took me home to get warm again. I was more embarrassed about being in a pram more than anything else.
I will be back in July – not sure when though because it looks like it may be a busy month with my work. I am to retire in September – roll on then. It will give me a nice feeling that I won’t have to work if I don’t want to.
In the meantime, the boys next Zoom meeting/Bachelors show will be on 4th July at 2.30pm BST. Please join us if you can.