Saturday, August 28, 2021

Winchelsea Beach and the Summer of Love

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I was there in 1967 and I remember it. But as I was only seven years old, that is to be expected.

We did, though, have a drug-influenced game at primary school. It involved sniffing a crumpled leaf from a bush growing on the generous playing fields and then running around being silly. 

It made a change from machine gunning Germans, which is what we generally did at play time.

For me the Summer of Love meant a week's holiday on a caravan park at Winchelsea Beach in Sussex. I think this was a visit to Malcolm Saville country before I had read any of his books, though as I was a precocious reader it may not be the case.

And that holiday reminds me of four things.

The first was a toy. You pulled a toothed strip through a gear wheel to send a disc spinning away into the distance. They should bring it back.

The second was The Beatles' song All You Need is Love, which was on the radio everywhere all the time.

The third is another record: Up, Up and Away. In the US it was a hit for Fifth Dimension, a group fronted by the wonderful Marilyn McCoo. But for some reason it was the Johnny Mann Singers who had a hit with it in the UK.

Johnny Mann Singers? Me too, but Wikipedia will tell you about Johnny Mann.

The fourth is that, before we set off, I got a little lecture from my parents about not playing with anything metal I found on the beach.

This, which must have been occasioned by the way these beaches had been mined against the threat of Nazi invaion, is a reminder that 1967 is several times near the second world war than the present day.

I do have another musical memory from the first Summer of Love. For me, Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale is inextricably linked with the Essex village of Tollesbury.

This is where my mother's mother's family came from and where my mother stayed as a little girl during the war.

So I must have had a first holiday there a little earlier that summer, But we shall play out with the Johnny Mann Singers...

1 comment:

Keith Knight said...

I was reminiscing recently that I first heard All You Need Is Love on our car radio at Severn Beach on Fluff Freeman’s show, so I have a similar memory. Would have been a Sunday day trip.