Saturday, 28 March 2015

1962, Camping, fishing and a surprised milkman + 1963, the big freeze.

1962 & 1963.

The blog has now arrived in the 1960's.  Some people say "if you can remember the 60's then you weren't there!"  It was the time of the Beatles, free love, drugs and music festivals so I suppose what they meant was, if you can remember the 60's you were there, you just didn't enjoy them as much as some people did!
Well I was there and can remember the 60's so maybe I missed something?
While others might have been trying out new things and products, I was discovering the great outdoors, nature, birds (feathered) the countryside and generally having a very good time without doing any harm.
The weekends would see me and some friends heading off down the coast to Tetney Marshes for a spot of bird watching, fishing and camping.  When I say camping, forget modern hi-tech tents and equipment.  This was really basic seat of the pants camping, gathering wood for a fire, fetching water from a pump at the nearest houses and sleeping in small tents.  It was not only impossible to stand up in our tent but very difficult to sit up!  They had to be small though as everything we brought for a weekend had to be carried on our bikes. 

Here's me getting bedded down for the night.

Yours truly with more wood for the fire.  This shows how low the
tent was!


Before anyone gets the wrong idea here, one of my mates had an air rifle.  I don't remember anybody actually hitting anything let alone killing something.  That would have horrified me.  So why am I posing here with a pigeon?  We found it already dead out on the marshes and though it would make a good "trophy shot!".  No. we didn't eat it either!
Going back to the tent, somebody offered to lend us a large Blacks patrol tent, a popular choice of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides movement.  It was made from heavy duty waterproof canvas and supported on stout poles but , best of all it was huge.  It was 8 feet long, 6 feet wide and high with 3 feet high side walls so plenty of room to move around in.  The first time we took it out disaster struck, while we were nearby fishing a herd of cows came ambling along grazing as they passed by.  One cow however was curious about our tent and, after going into it to take a look decided to exit the tent through the back wall, tearing it from top to bottom!  We all chipped in to get it repaired but, needless to say, it wasn't offered for further camping trips.  Back to hands & knees tenting.
Another part of my outdoor life was biking.  Once I got a "proper bike" if I wasn't camping at the weekends I would go out with the CTC, the Cycling Tourist Club (of Great Britain) on one of the guided rides.  These rides weren't for speed, other racing clubs catered for that, these outings were purely to get out and see the countryside.  The motto of the CTC was "we ride at the speed and capabilities of the slowest riders" so it was a very friendly and gentle introduction to the pastime.
A friend and I decided to try a ride on our own and chose to ride to Mablethorpe, a small seaside resort on the east coast of Lincolnshire, about 35 miles away.

This is me, somewhere between Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe.

We set off just after dinner on a Saturday and arrived, quite late in Mablethorpe, as it was getting dark.  It had rained most of the way. 

My cycling companion Billy Antill as we arrived at the rain!

We had our trusty (small) tent with us and needed somewhere to pitch it for the night.  After several enquiries in Fish & Chip shops we were told there was a field just  on the outskirts of the town that people sometimes camped in.  Off we went, by this time it was dark so when we found the field we were quite relieved and pitched our tent.  It continued to rain all night and our tent leaked.  In the morning we awoke quite early and could hear a milk float and the clinking of milk bottles so it must have been quite early.  I stuck my head out of the tent to see a very puzzled looking milkman staring at our tent.  A little while later I found out why, when we came out of our tent we realised that, in the dark of the previous night, we had pitched our tent on an area of grass adjacent to the Barclays Bank car park and we were still in the middle of the town! 
We were very wet after a miserable night in the leaky tent so decided to go straight back home, another 35 mile ride.  When we were almost home we stopped at a pub at Tetney Lock, about 6 miles from home and had a rest on their porch seating.

The Crown and Anchor pub, it's still there today.

I still fish at a lake opposite this pub.

Not sure if this is me or Billy resting here on the porch seating.

We had other, more successful bike rides but I'll always remember that one, and the surprised milkman too!

The winter of 1962 - 1963 was very cold.  Snow began to fall at the end of December 1962 and some places had 20 feet drifts isolating villages and remote areas.  On the east coast were we where there wasn't very much snow but, like the whole of the rest of the country, we experienced long periods of sub zero temperatures. 
January was the coldest since 1814 with temperatures as low as -19.4 degrees centigrade.  The sea froze in many places including here at Cleethorpes. 
February  brought more snow in many parts with a blizzard that lasted for 36 hours and winds reaching 81 mph!
A thaw set in in early March and the 6th March was the first frost free morning anywhere in Britain.  temperatures soared to 17 degrees centigrade and the snow thawed rapidly!

I took this picture showing the ice flows
around the pier at Cleethorpes in early 1963.

Another picture I took of one of the fountains
in the Kingsway Gardens on the seafront.

I started this blog in November 2014 with a description of the terrible winter being experienced by the people in Great Britain that year.  I was around but, as I was born on the 9th January that year, it passed me by completely. 
I started the blog as a collection of my memories, being a boy born in the 40's as part of the big baby boom which occurred just after WW2.  I've enjoyed bringing my memories to you, at times it's been a little harrowing for me but I do hope you've enjoyed reading them. 
I've decided to finish the blog here.

It seemed a very appropriate point to wind things up, I started with a record bad winter in 1947 and so the coldest winter in 100 years in 1963 was a good point to finish. 
Thank you for all your lovely comments, plusses on Google+ and the re-shares, I've really appreciated them all.
I'll continue with my lincolnshirecam blog, the link to it is on the link list alongside.










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