I had a more recent photo in mind for this week, but following Alyson's recent post which featured her memories of family caravan holidays from years gone by, here's one from my own family archive, starring my cousin and I at the Jaywick Martello Tower Caravan Park in 1965. My aunt, uncle and cousin all lived in the same house as my family at the time and, for a couple of years at least, we even took our holidays together, their tiny box caravan next door to ours. That's the aforementioned Martello Tower in the background.
Today my Mum, Dad and Uncle are all gone. My cousin lives in New York with her husband and two of her remarkable kids (the oldest and youngest are at home, her middle kid is at college in California), while my aunt, now nearly 92, lives alone in East London. The pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions have ensured that my cousin hasn't been able to visit her mum for nearly 18 months - she's understandably desperate to be able to do so. She plans to make at least a flying visit to the UK as and when the current rules on self-isolation ease and return for a longer stay in the Autumn. I have a week off work fast approaching, during which I aim to spend a couple of days with my aunt and make a Skype call to my cousin while I'm there, so they can at least see each other for a few minutes - even if my aunt probably won't be able to hear very much of the conversation.
The other reason for choosing this particular photo is that today just happens to be my cousin's birthday. She's three years younger than me, so it's not quite the big one - that's next year, but I'm sure she'd say that it's big enough! She's my closest confidante and oldest friend. I love her dearly and can't wait for the day when I too can see her and her family face to face again.
A number of notable musical figures have blotted their respective copybooks of late, sharing ill-considered (not to mention dangerous) views on the pandemic, masks, vaccinations, or all of the above. Morrissey (unsurprisingly), Noel Gallagher, Eric Clapton Ian Brown, Richard Ashcroft and, erm, Right Said Fred, all spring to mind as recent offenders. Long time curmudgeon-in-chief Van Morrison has even released songs containing daft lyrics like '...scientists making up crooked facts...' It's all thoroughly depressing and a very far cry from this scintillating, jumpsuited performance with The Band at The Last Waltz in 1976.