At the Caravan
Wendy's story retells her memories of childhood weekends spent at their family caravan in Symonds Yat during the late 1950s and 1960s.
‘Stop, listen’ sad dad suddenly, ‘can you hear that?’ We all stopped dead, fearfully straining our ears in the darkness of the old railway tunnel. Have we made a mistake? Was this line really disused? But what we heard was the clump clump of feet coming the other way. A young soldier was walking through the tunnel. He had no torch I don’t know how he managed in the pitch black, we had torches and it was still tricky. The tunnel came out in a really quiet valley, no road access, almost a secret place, its still like that today but the railway tunnel’s closed, you cant even see the entrance, they built a hotel in front of it. This was one of many magic times we had in our caravan at Symonds Yat. We used to spend every weekend there for years, from Easter to October. In those days, weekends for us didn’t start until Saturday night because mum and dad had a shop in Birmingham and they ended on Sunday night, precious time, even the budgie came too. This was a special place just down the river, the biblins; we called it Swing Bridge for obvious reasons, hardly anybody knew about it then, its different now. In those days you could look through the wire mesh floor of the bridge to the river far below which was quite scary at first. They boarded over the floor now. This view hasn’t changed much in all those years, Yat rock. A good place to take visitors but you couldn’t sit hear today, they built a big wall round so you can still look but not fall off, not that anybody ever did, well maybe one or two. This view of the caravan field could be seen from the veranda of a pub called the grove inn. Mum and dad used to go for a drink there on warm Saturday evenings and we’d all sit outside to enjoy the view. It was unthinkable then for children to go inside a pub. I went back to this pub a few years ago, its called the why not inn now. I said to the barman, I remember this place when it was called the grove inn, he looked amazed, it was like one of those moments in the western saloon when the piano player stops playing. He shouted to the landlord in the back in an incredulous voice ‘hey there’s a woman here who remembers this place when it was the grove inn’ it made me feel very old but also very proud to have such a long association with this wonderful place.
Train the trainer at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Museum
A group of museum and heritage professionals from across the Midlands came together for a three day training session at Ashby Museum, learning how to run digital storytelling workshops. Each person made their own digital story.