Journeys nowadays are speedy affairs... well that is if the traffic isn’t too jammed up... or the road works aren’t bringing us all down to one lane . But in these days that I write about, there were no bypasses or dual carriageways, so every trip was a major undertaking.
Which of course made it all the more exciting.
There was one special road that led to Newtownards. We called it, “The Switchback”.
It had no bends in it at all ... it was simply a dead straight road going up and down and over the hills. .The alternative road...the wider road was more regular, and thus deemed boring. So the cry went up from the kids on the back seat, “Dad, please take the hilly route!”.
As far as I can remember nobody was car-sick, but that may be because I didn’t want to admit to such feelings. Hauling your stomach back inside you as the car bounced over the top of the hills time after time, with Ian shouting “faster, faster dad!”, meant that I couldn’t let myself down by admitting to nausea.
Through Newtownards and the road edged along Strangford Lough, eventually turning left towards the village of Carrowdore. Isn’t it odd the feelings you get on some roads? It seemed to me that it was out in the wilds and had a wild west deserted look to it. Thinking back, farming wasn’t the pretty, crafty place that a lot of it seems in the fashionable magazines today...and the people were possibly poor cottage farmers....I'm not sure. Or maybe it’s just another example of my insatiable imagination!
Right turn at the end of the village and we’re almost at the field, the farm, the caravan,
. Ah! Ballyferris! What magic is conjured up even at the mention of the name. As we come over the last hill the competition is on to be the first to shout out...“I see the sea”. ?
I really, really want it to be me. …but usually it was my big brother Ian, Iupy ...the son‘n’heir.
Now and again we journeyed down by a different road, driving past the old windmill at Millisle, before turning right to join the coast road again. That was always a great route because dad really loved icecream, and there was a wonderful shop in Millisle selling cream ice in a poke (that’s a cone to you!) ...which was then dipped into melted chocolate and the joy as you crunched through the hard shell of the chocolate made a memory never to be forgotten.. So we were happy bunnies when we reached the field...........
..if also rather sick!