A Caravan In Lytham St. Annes
During my 25 year career I can perhaps only think of one moment when such a thing happened. I was pulling a late shift and trying to fend of a tiredness that had dogged me for hours with a strong cup of black coffee.
At that time during my career night shifts were very much a rarity, I think the top brass knew that I was one of those rare ‘morning people’ who was useful to have firing on all cylinders at 6am, rather than dozing into their dinner at 6pm. As such, whenever I did take the occasional night shift (usually as a way to save a little extra for rent) I found that I’d bump into complete strangers whilst walking through the office.
Jack Fosterley was one such stranger who, over the course of a cup of coffee, told me all about his plans for retirement. At the age of 62, Jack was nearly ready to call it a day, however he now found himself so close to achieving his dream that he found it almost impossible to give into it, for fear that his preconceived nadir of relaxation might prove to be less than the sum of its parts.
Jack was a happy man. He had two daughters, both of whom had married and had children of their own. His wife worked in the local chip shop and would have a fish dinner warming in the oven for him upon his return every Friday. Although I’d never met the man, I had heard him mentioned in passing as one of ‘the greats’, a superintendent who, instead of chasing a career ladder, took the path less trodden and which led him to working the night shifts in records, intermittently daydreaming of his caravan retirement.
It was upon the day of my retirement that I thought of Jack and wondered if he’d ever made it to that caravan, I never recalling seeing a notice up for his retirement party. So when I saw that there were caravans for sale near Lytham St. Annes, I decided to jump in the car and get a look at the paradise that Jack Fosterley had so keenly envisaged.
I’ll be honest, up until that day I had not given the prospect of a retirement spent in a static caravan much though. Just the word ‘caravan’ led my mind to wander off to rainy holidays spent with my parents in Wales, longing for a trip to Spain which never realised. I tried to drive these thoughts out of my mind as I neared the town of Lytham St. Annes which turned out to be a rather enchanting coastal location. Large enough to feel alive, whilst small enough to easily explore of foot, this seemed like the perfect place to retire to, but what of the caravans?
When I drove into Mowbreck Park I found myself pleasantly surprised. This was not the dreary 70s caravan site that I had imagined, this was a clean modern site complete with good facilities, well cut lawns and an air of calm that I had not felt for some time. I understood then what Jack had pined for and wondered, as I signed the purchase documents, if he ever made it to a caravan of his own…