A personal history ...
Bacton on the North Norfolk coast holds very fond memories for me. My grandparents had a caravan in Bacton. After my Granddad died my grandmother sold the caravan and bought a chalet on the coast road chalet park; just across the road from New Zealand Way. My parents started taking me there as a baby and according to them that’s where I first pulled myself to a standing position. Ahhhh ...
Although it was a three-room chalet, nowadays you’d consider it to be seaside accommodation at its most basic. You entered at the front door punched into the centre of the long wall, straight into the small living area, which was basically the kitchen, except there was no running water! There was an electric cooker, a sink (where you could dispose of water) and some storage cupboards. OK, as long as you didn’t want to keep much more than a can of beans and a bottle opener.
In this Living/Kitchen part of the chalet, there was a banquette area; a fancy name for a bench, with shiny plastic covers on the seats. You had to sit on a towel or your skin got stuck. There was a dining table in the middle of the floor which doubled as the games and jigsaw puzzles area if the weather was bad; it felt like it never was.
At either side of this room was a bedroom. To the right was the master bedroom with a double bed and to the left was the children’s room with a bunk bed and single bed. Each room had a window facing out to the front onto the communal grass area. Services were limited, to say the least. There was an outside cold tap behind the chalet for all your water. Hot water was courtesy of the kettle, permanently positioned on the electric cooker inside. So, washing was not for the faint-hearted; and for kids on holiday, to be avoided at all costs!
The toilet was an experience. Ours was in a small hut in a long line of huts. It was basically a plastic chemical loo that got emptied once a week. Needless to say it wasn’t pleasant. But we didn’t mind, because we were on holiday and having a great time.
Each family would take turns to have a week’s stay in the summer and on weekends when it was swap over time we would meet up. Other members of the family would come for day visits as well while we were there. My grandmother also used to take the grand kids down there for day trips and weekends. We would pile in her little mini and off we would go. It is only about 25 miles, but the journey transported us to another world, Bacton.
As with all families we grew up and went further afield for our holidays. My Nana wasn’t getting any younger either and the constant trips to maintain the chalet got a bit too much. Sadly, the chalet was sold. I moved to London in 1992, but every time I went home to visit my family I would try to go and visit Bacton. Just to walk along the long, long sandy beach and see and hear the sea is a great fix. It kept me going until the next time. It felt like another home. I feel totally relaxed there, even at night when it is pitch dark, as there are no street lights. To walk down to the sea at night and look up at a starry night sky! You don’t see stars like that in London.
So I had a dream, that one day I too would have a holiday home in Bacton. Somewhere my family and cousins; now grown up with their own children, could go and get their own memories. It took a while, the time wasn’t just right, or I couldn’t afford it. But I started looking properly about 2 years ago.
Then in September 2006 I found the perfect place. Unfortunately the timing wasn’t fast enough for my Nana. She died in September and never got to spend time there. There is a photo of her in the chalet; on the beach with her best friend, when she was young. As I said before Bacton has very fond memories for all my family past and present.
I hope like me, you enjoy the peace, quiet and days-gone-by atmosphere of Bacton and make your own memories.