|Welcome to Pontins|
It had to be done.
My good friend LP and I had been planning this for a year................we had discussed our outfits, and decided what cameras to use. I wanted to wear a lovely elasticated topped dress like everyone in Camber wears , but let myself down by failing to find time to buy one. LP did much better, in her pink jeans, colourful top and matching pink bag.
|what I should have been wearing|
A cloudy Saturday in late July was our nominated day for exploring what goes on behind the hedge at Pontins, Camber Sands. The hedge is high, and long. Starlings like to flit in and out of it.
I have walked beside it many times, wondering what goes on behind.
As a child I longed to get behind the fancy railings of Butlins, in Bognor Regis.
A dream unfulfilled.
No high hedges there. Just a tempting display of fun and games.
So whilst not necessarily fulfilling a dream, I was at last going to see what goes on behind closed doors.
Security on the gate at Pontins is tight. We spent the grand sum of £5 each for a day pass, left £10 deposit against the possibility that we might trash the place, and in we went.
It was quiet; uncannily so. Our desire was to experience the place and take some photos, without getting thrown out. We certainly didn't look the part, being about 30 years too old, and without any kids in tow.
|closed curtains means someone in residence|
We saw endless quadrants of apartments arranged in blocks with a shared central lawn.
We saw chairs; abandoned randomly. No sun loungers here.
We saw seagulls standing , waiting for action, and rabbits hiding in the electricity substation.
And the staff quarters with a randomly fenced area of grass.
|the main building in blue|
We saw blue, and pink.
What we didn't see was much sign of any action. And the staff whom we asked about the bingo and quiz advertised on the days' activity programme were completely clueless about whether and where they might be taking place.
So we had a cup of coffee in the pub, and watched a young man win £70 on a slot machine in £1 coins. He was down on the morning, as we were too after spending a happy ten minutes on the penny falls.
We discovered the games room; upstairs and resembling a sauna.
We had a game of table tennis , and enjoyed the decor.
I shocked LP with my lack of ability to play chess ( years of being really stubborn to achieve that one)
but did win at table tennis ( years of playing in our garage and garden).
|the games room|
Suitably sweaty, we headed downstairs for some lunch.
Healthy eating not really an option. We weren't in the mood for pie or burger and chips, so headed back to the supermarket on site to find a sandwich.
We asked about the meal deal............... no answers on that one. Just more blank faces.
We browsed the pound shop; some delightful Christmas earrings on sale, and the most amazing jewel encrusted emery boards took our fancy.
Back to the big blue building for Bingo.
Not a soul in the hall, and no-one to tell us anything at all.
A man did come in and turn the screen on and off............
And then left us alone in the empty room.
|the 2.30 bingo session|
So we plodded off to the beach.
Where people were having fun, and we had a cup of tea or two and watched a seagull wait nonchalantly for chips at the Kit-Kat cafe..
We pondered over the safety regulations on the inflatables that were for sale at the beach. So many instructions, most of which completely fail to be self explanatory ( bottom right).
|'no protection from drowning'|
Time to escape................
Back past the front gate
and home for more tea.
We need to go back on a day when all the visitors are settled in and doing their thing. Saturday morning is change over day........... we at least know that now, which would probably explain why the place felt like a ghost town. We have worked out how to take pictures without getting arrested.
At this point LS had to wend her way home, so OH and I got to return later for what turned out to be a really fun evening of entertainment and magic for all the family, fantastically well run by the previously invisible 'blue - coats' . We had to laugh at the prize for the children's talent contest; a free holiday for all winners and runners-up at Pontins in Wales in November !
OH wanted to stay up late for the Miss Pontins talent show, but I spoiled his fun and dragged him home for bed.
Next time then.