MY VIEW, Mel Hewitt: The bright side of British summer holidays

Brenda Blethyn, director Mark Herman and Michael Caine outside the former confectionery warehouse called Bottomley's in Trafalgar Street West in 1997.
Brenda Blethyn, director Mark Herman and Michael Caine outside the former confectionery warehouse called Bottomley's in Trafalgar Street West in 1997.
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Victoria Wood made a very funny and totally relatable comment about traditional seaside holidays years ago that still makes me smile.

She suggested, if memory serves, that every British holiday photo had a tax disc in the left hand corner as it was most likely to have been taken from inside the car, due to the inclement weather outside.

As glorious as the country we live in is, we’ve all been there: smiling grimly and sweating profusely in a cagoule in midsummer, absolutely drenched and taking refuge in a bus shelter on the sea front.

I can recall vividly a family trek, with my mum, dad, brother and sister, across the moors above Haworth to Top Withens in the late 70s. The ‘weather’, as hurricane-force winds are often casually called in Yorkshire, came towards us along the valley and then hit us broadside.

Holiday happiness is not travelling home in a Ford Escort estate, with three children wrapped in damp towels, steaming, teeth chattering and stuck in a traffic jam on the M62.

For every tale of a less than perfect holiday or outing there are, of course, the many that make you smile and stay with you forever.

In 1997 I was expecting our second child, Lizzie, and spent a weekend in Scarborough with the whole family. I now look back on this weekend and think of it as ‘The time we went to the East Coast and kept seeing famous people’.

Enjoying a rare and tranquil moment wandering along the harbour alone, I saw a tall and broad-shouldered figure walking towards me in a dark navy jacket. In one of the more surreal episodes of my life I realised it was Michael Caine.

Ever since my dad took me in 1971 to see Zulu, which had just been re-released, rather than Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I’ve been a fan of Mr Caine.

I can’t remember what I mumbled as we stood and chatted, but I do recall he was smashing, listening kindly to me no doubt gush about how I loved his work.

He was in Scarborough filming Little Voice with Jane Horrocks, Brenda Blethyn and Ewan McGregor. Now every time I watch that bittersweet movie I can enjoy the delights of Scarborough and the memory of meeting one of my heroes.

The next day I was delighted to see the wondrous and much-missed John Thaw filming Kavanagh QC in Whitby.

I have suggested to my husband that we look for a cottage to rent in late summer this year in Cornwall.

But I have a feeling he’s worked out I would probably just sit on a cliff next to a convenient tin mine, with a flask and pilchard sandwiches, hoping to catch a glimpse of a certain Mr Poldark.

* Mel Hewitt, Community fundraiser, St John’s Hospice, Balby