Saturday, January 03, 2015

Sepia Saturday 260 : To The New Dawn (Via The Dover Ferry)


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features some tents, a banner and some young people and it was chosen at random from the Flickr Commons stream of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol. And, for once, I have a pretty perfect match for the theme.


It was the summer of '67. The Beatles All You Need Is Love had just been released and I recall that, as I took the above photograph, it was playing on some hidden transistor radio. The camping site was somewhere near Amsterdam and the two people holding the banner were Darryl Oldfield and David Hebblethwaite. The third member of the party - the one taking the photograph - was me. We had set off to hitchhike across Europe because that was the kind of thing you did in 1967. We carried the banner because we were three Young Socialists from West Yorkshire, all certain that some kind of revolution was just around some corner. And we had been tipped off that it might just be happening in the coffee houses of Amsterdam.

We put tents in backpacks, rolled up our precious banner and set off in search of a new dawn - via the Dover ferry to Calais. The chances of three people managing to hitch a lift together were slim, so we would split up with merely the vaguest plans to rendezvous. One time in France I remember a discussion as to whether Belgium was a monarchy. This was not some political discourse, but a matter of practical arrangements. We came to the conclusion that there was still a Belgian King. "OK", someone said, "let's meet in front of the Royal Palace at noon the day after tomorrow". 



And so we hitched from city to city, from country to country; living cheap and living well. Some of the memories have faded with time, but when the precise detail is gone you are left with impressions and those are all that the impressions of youth should be. With all the things we carried, there was little room for cynicism. We didn't find the new dawn of course, although the world at the time was undergoing profound changes for the better. A few weeks later we returned home - via an overnight ferry to Immingham this time - and went our separate ways to College and University. I don't think I have seen Darryl and David in more than forty years, we have all lost touch with each other. But maybe, just maybe, they might be Googling their names and get a link to this post. If they do, let's meet up : how about the day after tomorrow outside the Royal Palace in Brussels?

To see the other Sepia Saturday posts go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.


17 comments:

  1. The last photo looks quite similar to the outdoor dining we have here now. Back then, there was nothing like that here.

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  2. It WAS the kind of thing we did back in the 60s; we were all young, enthusiastic and terribly idealistic. My best moment was, I think, surviving Woodstock...same kind of memorable occasion. Happy New Year!

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  3. Oldfield and Hebbkethwaite sounds like a Music Hall act, or a firm of stern solicitors.

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  4. Oldfield and Hebbkethwaite sounds like a Music Hall act, or a firm of stern solicitors.

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  5. Ah yes. Summer of 1967 I was in Detroit for the riot. Did seem like something that's not this was around the corner. Hope they google and you all meet up.

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  6. The 1960s were a "happening time"! Folks like my parents didn't understand what it was all about. I wasn't exactly a 'flower child', but I understood the clamoring wish for change & the '60s changed so much! A great decade & a great time to be young & full of ideas & ideals. I also loved the fashions!!!

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  7. Ahh, the life on the road! Revolution at its best.
    And Chairman Bill has it right, maybe the name of an estate agency too.

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  8. 1967 that was a great year...I always wanted to go to San Francisco with flowers in my hair...but that was a long way from Minnesota. You were quite the bunch...I hope they find your blog and you! :)

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  9. What excellent histories we have brought with us.

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  10. It's great what memories old photos can bring back. I was still at school in the 1960s.

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  11. My main feeling from the first two pictures is that it must have been terribly wet and cold. I hope that next time you will put wet cold looking photos on during a terrible dry heatwave, and then I will appreciate them more! Happy New Year to you Alan and I will look forward to seeing more great vintage photos in 2015.

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  12. Terrific memories, Alan, glad you have the photos. I was, er, 13 that year. Hadn't even been turned on to the Beatles yet, really, though I took was as political it was possible for a 13-year-old to be.

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  13. Let's us know if they ever do google their names and find you again.

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  14. What a great match and an exciting time in your life. Hitch hiking???? would you do it today or be happy for your son to do it? "Photos are the pilot light of memory" author unknown.

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  15. It’s amazing that you were still able to connect with such loose arrangements. It’s good that the image has reminded you of a happy and somewhat carefree life in your youth. Let’s hope they get in touch.

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  16. It can happen. A few weeks ago a college friend Googled and found her photo that I used in one my Sepia Saturday blogs from 2012. She emailed me - I sent her my phone number - she called - we laughed nonstop for an hour.

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  17. Oh I do hope Darryl and David get in touch, and do let us know if they do:)

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