One day while talking to Alan’s sister, I asked her what his nickname for her was when they were children – she paused in thought and then said “Ally Pally”. I burst out laughing how could my dear, dear, man who didn’t appear to be aware of what was happening on a daily basis and quite often had no idea what my name was, suddenly remember a name from over 60 years ago. I explained to her what had happened that night in bed, and that Alan wanted me to take him to see her – she thought that was an insane idea. Nevertheless, I continued to ponder the idea in my mind and during the next visit to the Neurologist I asked him his opinion, and he asked “what’s the worst that can happen?” My body went numb, I was like a deer frozen in the headlights, as I was remembering what had happened that night in Argentina. I guess when we cease all arguments and debate, both internal and external, then our true questions can be heard and answered, and I thought – I managed to cope in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language; so yes, I could do it in my own native country. I made the decision, yes I would take him back to England for one last visit.
His family’s annual vacation was always to a beautiful stretch of sandy beach along the South Coast of England, called Mudeford, where the only access is by ferry from the Quay over to the sandbank, or foot via Hengistbury Head; and to this day they still do not allow cars. Just a collection of tiny beach huts, with no running water or bathroom facilities. Of course back in the day there weren’t computers or cell phones, so the children were left to play in the water and the sand and make their own fun. Even then Alan was an enterprising young man, he rowed people in his boat from the Quay to the beach huts on the other side of the run.
For Alan these were some of his most cherished memories, and the friendships formed lasted a lifetime. Every year we would visit the area. Although today, many more beach huts have been erected, people still spend a small fortune to recapture the simple pleasures of earlier times.
Ally Pally with his Sister & Mother
Alan at Mudeford probably early/mid 50’s
Best buddies, Alan with the two John’s
Friendships that lasted a lifetime –
Jeannie, Alan, John Olsen & John Davis