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“One day down to Budleigh…”

Early Days
 1. Chris Woodhead was at David Jones’s house, one day; and his Dad (or Fido, as Chris and I referred to him), came round there for him. It was the time of year when people talk about holidays—“Had your holidays yet? Where have you been?”—and, indeed, as Fido was talking to Mr. Jones (whom Jones called “Dads”), they got on to the topic of holidays. The Joneses had recently spent a holiday in Saltdean, and Dads was telling Fido about it: that Saltdean was where they usually went, and that they’d found a very good hotel—a Butlin’s hotel—and…
 2. During the course of this conversation, Jones — twelve- or thirteen-year-old Jones! — stepped in, and suddenly started to take over. One would almost guess that he was a rep. for Butlin’s, the way he was trying to sell this hotel to Fido! He was enthusing on it; everything his Dad said, he endorsed: “Oh yes, Mr. Woodhead, and one thing we like is” (such a thing). “And it’s rather unlike any other Butlin’s hotel. One might get the impression, Mr. Woodhead, you know: ‘Butlin’s holiday camp’. Oh, it’s not like that at all, Mr. Woodhead. It’s a very quiet, select—could I say, almost sedate?—hotel. And Saltdean: oh yes, it’s a beautiful place, just on the outskirts of Brighton. Oh yes—ideal place to be!”

 3. When the conversation was more or less over and Mr. Jones was showing them to the front door, Jones disappeared. He came back with a brochure about this hotel, enthusing about it again and saying, “Look, Mr. Woodhead, you take the brochure and have a look at it, and see what you think. I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed if you did decide to choose Butlin’s at Saltdean for your next holiday.”
[1] According to the Wikipedia article Butlins: Locations:
Butlins hotels past and present
Location:  Saltdean
Opened:  1952
Closed:  1999
Comments:  Converted to flats

“One day down to Budleigh…”
 4. The Joneses also used to go to Budleigh Salterton. Perhaps they went to Saltdean in the spring, and Budleigh in the summer—or vice versa. But it seems that on one occasion they had a bumper holiday, for Jones was trying to illustrate to Chris how much driving Dads had done in a very short time. “One day down to Budleigh,” he said, with the pitch of his voice rising on the second syllable of Budleigh, “one day up to Saltdean—and then one day up to Manchester.” They had relations in Manchester. “And then home.” It was as if they had done all this travelling in the space of seventy-two hours. Probably, though, they’d had a few days in each of the first two locations.

 5. “One day down to Budleigh”, with the same rising intonation at the end, became one of the many catch-phrases of Jones that Chris and I would reel off with laughter when we got together.

My goodness, what a laugh, I'd almost forgotten this! But, yes, now it all comes back: especially the bit at the end where Jones disappears and comes back with a brochure. As if Fido hadn't heard enough about this bloody hotel already!!
I remember going round to Jones's place, after they had moved to Park Road, one evening in the summer. Maybe it was in the summer holidays, and they had just finished unpacking the car after having arrived home from Budleigh. To demonstrate this point, the first thing that Jones did was to drag me to the car, which was still in the drive, and to yank open the driver's door. He then commanded me to read the mileage registered on the speedometer, which I did. Whereupon he told me what mileage had been registered there that morning. After a brief calculation, I deduced that the car had travelled some 300 miles that day. That was Jones's first point; the second point was that Dads would only trust him with the navigation, so I guess he was stressed out! These were the days before there were many motorways, of course, and he made a point of saying that they had travelled the length of the A49, that afternoon!
# posted by Blogger Chris : 7 December 2010 at 18:03

I’ve incorporated the material in Chris’s comment now in the story The summer holidays, 1964.
# posted by Blogger John Edward Cooper : 16 December 2010 at 19:45

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