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Posted Nov 12 2010 6:10pm


According to the BBC News web site , holiday camp company Pontin's has been placed into administration, although its parks are continuing to operate normally.

The news made me think of my own childhood in the late fifties. We used to stay for a fortnight in a scruffy holiday home in Felpham Sussex. Every morning my sister and I would be sent into Bognor Regis to buy the daily paper from the newsagent for our parents. After the beach ran out at the harbour we would turn right, passing a tiny factory workshop making carpet slippers out of old Dunlop tyres, thick check wool and pom-poms. It had a slightly weird smell – very Wallace and Gromit. You could see Butlins in the distance, beyond the harbour, near the pier.

It was a source of immense frustration that despite my endless pestering and pleading, my father just didn't seem to want to take us to it, even for a day. As far as I was concerned, it was the apogee of wonderfulness... 

Later, my friend Margaret and I were taken to the Butlins in Margate for the day by her mother as a birthday treat. It had an INDOOR swimming pool, all bedecked in Krazy-show-business-esque plastic rainforest plants and parrots – and very steamed up windows.

And I loved it.

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