Friday, 5 September 2014

Are we there yet?

Who doesn't remember packing a picnic hamper into the boot of the family car only to have the car break down?   It happened all the time when I was a little girl. Dad would attack the engine with a spanner and a greasy rag, and sometimes that would be enough to get us on our way.  If not, it was a call to the AA (Automobile Association) and a wait for the patrolman to turn up on his motorbike, just as he does in one of these sweet little books.

The books featured in this post are all sold, thank you for your interest.

By Coach to the Seaside Published by Birn Brothers, England c1950s 
Birn Brothers, England. Vintage children's books

A policeman diverts the coach

They stop at the beach cafe for tea 1950s

A Journey by Car Published by Birn Brothers
Birn Bros




A holiday by air Published by Birn Brothers
Published by Birn Brothers




A Wonderful holiday Published by Birn Brothers
Birn brothers




Thank you for accompanying me on my travels!  If you would like to know more about any of the books, please click on the links above each one. 
Are we there yet? Vintage travel

When I started this post, I assumed the four books above made up a complete set but by a strange coincidence, I was offered another set of five books. There can’t be very many of these around so it seems like the best kind of luck to have two sets plus an extra! Now two lucky customers can own a little piece of travel history.

The Travelling Twins Published by Birn Brothers


A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles... Tim Cahill

Thanks for breaking your journey here...

33 comments:

  1. What a wonderful set of books! Those must have been the days, when traveling was a magical adventure!

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    1. It’s not quite the same now is it? I suppose there are just too many of us all trying to get to far-flung places. I can remember the days when travelling a few miles down the road was an adventure. A two hour trip always took at least five hours because of the number of times the car broke down It was never a problem as we would just sit on the side of the road and eat a picnic, or play cards, or have a quick game of rounder’s. Sitting on the side of the road was all part of the holiday. It might sound funny to say it, but they were very happy times.

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  2. Lovely books here, Barbara. I'd love to travel on steam trains, buses and cars though I admit I don't enjoy travelling by planes that much these days. Too cramped. Travelling to the seaside and sitting at the beach cafe is a glorious way to spend a day!

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    1. Hi Claudine, don’t get me started on planes! I love going to Australia to see the family, but the journey is murder! My poor old bones just can’t take sitting in a cramped space for all those hours. Some people sit in their seat and sleep for the entire journey, wish I could do that. I’m very happy to read a book or two on the way and the way back, just wish I could do it comfortably.
      Thanks for your visit. Barbara x

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  3. What gorgeous books! It wasn't as long ago as the 1950s, but I remember my first travels in a plane as a small girl. Sweets were handed round before take-off and everything was very civilized. And as for car journeys, we had an Austin A40 and sometimes, on Sundays, we'd just go out "for a drive" with no consideration of wasting petrol.

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    1. Oh yes, I remember the sweets – on take off and landing as I recall. I wish they would reinstate that I have to take my own now! We used to put our son on the back seat of the car (in an unsecured carry cot!!) and drive around until he fell asleep. By the time we got home, got him out of the car and tiptoed back to the house, he would be awake, so we would do it all again! I dread thinking of the gallons of petrol we wasted doing it.

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  4. Barbara, another of your memory stirring posts but I particularly like your last line. That is so kind and it was a pleasure to drop in, thank you!

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    1. Hi John, I’ve met some lovely new friends and got back in contact with some old ones through blogging and for that I will be ever grateful. Thank you for your comment, your visits are always appreciated. Barbara.

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  5. OH MY! How did I miss this post? It never jumped up to the top on my blog roll!!!!!

    I LOVE THIS! The drawings, they again are so "pure" and depict a time that I can certainly remember, from the textbooks of my youth! Dearest Barbara, you find the best collections, ever! Isn't it interesting, how a few lines and not a lot of detail with shading or colour can still convey the idea and evoke such imagination?

    We were out yesterday at a festival in a little village named, LINDEN HILLS. It is by two of our prettiest urban lakes. The festival was a dog event named, "Woofstock" - a tongue and cheek version of the famous American 1960s Woodstock rock concert! hahahahahaha....there were so many dogs there. It was terribly FUN. But Linden Hills boasts a most unusual and fun children's bookstore. It's called WILD RUMPUS. They have real chickens, cats and birds and lizards (appropriately caged) throughout the shop. It is always filled with children and inquisitive parents. The books are new, mostly from local writers, and we love it there. Of course, I thought of YOU! The shop itself is an old one, with the antique overhead lanterns so typical of American bookstore history.

    My friend, thank you for coming over to hug me! So good to see this new post, and I best check my blog roll to see why your post did not show up! XOXOXO

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    1. Dear Anita, please don’t worry it is entirely my fault or the fault. For some reason, this post showed up underneath several of the newer ones. I tried moving it to the top but without success so had to delete it and start again. I don’t know what happened and sincerely hope it doesn't happen again, but please don’t spend any time checking your blog roll.

      Have you any idea how much I want to visit Linden Hills and the bookshop? You describe it so beautifully so I was ‘virtually'’ there, but now I want to be really there. As you know, I love dogs and books so Woofstock and Wild Rumpus appeal more than I can say. What a lovely idea to have animals in a bookshop I can see why the children love it and the parents too. I can picture the overhead lanterns I don’t know why but think I must have seen them in a film or on a TV show. If we ever make it to your part of the world, Linden Hills and Wild Rumpus will be right at the top of our ‘must see’ list and I really hope we arrive when Woofstock is on.

      Lots of love dear friend, thank you for coming to visit me today. Barbara xxxx

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  6. We had quite a family trip from California to NY by car and then Southhampton and LeHavre by ship with our auto on board. Unfortunately, the car broke down one mile from home. Wish they would have had the motorpatrol A.A. scouts. It all worked out though and the next time we broke down was in the Alps. That book almost chronicles our trip!! We even had the twins with us! LOL

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    1. Hi Eve, oh my goodness, you should write a book about those trips! I know it would be an entertaining read. Thanks for your visit. Barbara

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  7. These are so fun! I feel like cars are always breaking down on big outings. We went on a big camping trip a few years ago and the RV we were towing had a tire blow out. We were on the side of the road in lawnchairs waiting for the repair guy for hours. We were outside of Yellowstone- so it took a good long time. The person who came to help was in a car though, not on a bike. :)

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    1. Hello Stephanie, Well if you had to break down I guess that was a good a place as any! We used to own a camper van and that regularly broke down too – the funny thing is it usually turns out to be fun and ends up being one of the things we remember. When I was a girl AA men arrived by bike, fixed the car and saluted as you drove away! That’s service for you. :-)

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  8. What a fun journey looking at all those old-timey transportation pictures. Certainly brings back a lot of memories. I'm a new fan of your blog and hope that you'll drop by mine (I write children's picture books) and take a look at www.allynstotz.blogspot.com.

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    1. Hi there, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. How nice of you to say you are a fan of my blog. I will be over to visit you as soon as I’ve left this reply. Barbara.

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  9. What adorable books. We didn't travel as my dad had a farm to look after and a ranch to run. I didn't board an aeroplane until I was 27. I did take a couple of road trips with my grandparents which included some adventures, although I don't recall the car breaking down. Children get to travel so much more now.

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    1. Hello Darlene, have you any idea how exciting ‘a ranch’ sounds to someone from the UK? My dad looked after a farm but that was nothing compared to a ranch! The High Chaparral, Ponderosa, Southfork just the names are enough to conjure up excitement! :-)

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    2. LOL My Dad's ranch wasn't nearly as big or prosperous as those famous ranches. It's funny, as a child I was bored and longed for the excitement of the city. The grass is always greener I guess.

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    3. As far as I was concerned All ranches were that big and that famous. A ranch sounds so much more romantic than a farm – and you had cowboys – we had agricultural workers! ;-)

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  10. Hello Barbara ,
    Oh how wonderful that these adorable books are still around. The kids can read and know about these wonderful adventurous journeys.
    As kids we to used to love it when we went on holidays. It used to be such an adventure. Mum used to pack food for one part of the journey. We had to take a bus from the hills down to the plains. Then spend overnight in a rest house. Next day we had to get a train which would take nearly 2 and a half days to reach Madras. Those days it was all steam engines. But we used to have a lot of fun on the way. Each state the train would pass through had its own characteristics and the stations on the way sold all sorts of things and we would watch with wondering eyes like saucers :-) the vendors used to sell colourful toys, books, tea, coffee, sweetmeats which looked mouth watering but we were not allowed to eat those. Then we would look forward to the dinner on the train which they served in stainless steel plates. Then those heart stopping moments when we thought that the train would leave before dad could buy fruits from vendors on the station.:-) thanks for bringing back those wonderful memories Barbara.

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    1. Hello Shashi, thank you so much for telling me (us) about your childhood adventures. There is so much I recognise in your memories, like the steam engines and the stainless steel plates! But other things like the vendors on the stations and the different states you travelled through are all outside my experiences. It all sounds so colourful and exciting. I really enjoyed the post on your blog about where you grew up but would love to read more.Have a lovely week. Barbara x
      For anyone who would like to read the post about where Shashi grew up please visit;
      http://sewingwithmoonbeams.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/where-i-grew-up.html

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  11. I love this! A slice of history, preserved forever in book form.

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    1. Thanks Stepahnie, I love it too! Enjoy your day. Barbara.

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  12. Its a beautiful and nostalgic post ! I love travelling or better, to be out ..simply.The running joke in my family is 'you should put Kokila in a train ,any train going anywhere... and make sure it never crosses her home... ' And to go for a holiday means loads of fun and merriment. All the pictures are good with special mention to the ship,the train and the coach ones... just like every time, its gladdening to be here , to look at the pristine past and to feel charged to re-create it for my kids in the near almost present-future :)

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    1. Hi Kokila, you obviously love travelling. I like being on holiday or out for the day, but I don’t enjoy the travelling – I just want to be where I’m going. I love what your family say about putting you a train – any train, going anywhere…you really, really like travelling. Thanks for breaking your journey here :-)

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  13. Lovely photographs and wonderful post Barbara..Thoroughly enjoyed :)

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    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed them Nagini, thanks for your visit. Barbara

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  14. What sweet photos. I think these books must have been made for wealthy families as when I was at the age to read, assuming they are from my generation, very few people had a car, flew on their holidays or went by liner. I actually was taken by my Mum to the Isle of Man in my pram, when she took me to live there whilst my Dad was on an Officers' Training Course at Jurby RAF station over there. We were there for over 6 months.

    The rest of our holidays when I was old enough to be taken, were cycle touring, which provided a wealth of knowledge about the geography of our country. We only had one seaside holiday, my Mum took me and her younger sister, only a few years older than me to Rhyl with a friend who begged her to go with her. I vaguely remember it but certainly memories were not good ones and passing through it a few months ago, it hasn't improved over the years.

    The photos on front of the books reminded me a little of a younger version of The Children Who Lived in a Barn.

    Sorry, I've a lot to catch up with, having not blogged or read many for quite a few weeks. Need to get a bit of writing done!

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    2. Hello Anne Marie, what lovely memories, thank you for sharing them. I think you're right about the books and wealthy families. My dad’s boss and his wife used to fly to The West Indies a couple of times a year but that was only something we could dream about. We were very lucky though because dad had a win on the football pools, so he bought a second-hand car (and a TV!). That was back in the early 50s, so from then on we took holidays in Cornwall. Most of the time we rented a caravan but later on dad bought an old white van and converted it into a ‘motor home’. It was still just a van, but it had a couple of camp beds and a tiny sink and a wardrobe! We thought it was wonderful! My first time on a plane was in 1974, when Terry and I went to Austria for our honeymoon. Our first (and only) cruise was 25 years later for our silver wedding – we went from Cork in Ireland to New York, but encounter a hurricane (Marilyn) on the way so that was pretty terrifying and enough to put us off cruising for life!
      I’m so pleased to see you are back to blogging I’ve missed your posts.

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  15. I can imagine the fun you had in your 'motor home'. We went to a car show the other day and one that caught my eye was a huge old post office type van that had been shelled out inside (if that's the right term) and merely had a sofa bed in, the owner used a camping stove and they must have used camp beds if anyone else was sleeping in there. Perfectly adequate and still useable as a vehicle.

    My first air travel was 1964 when I went to Majorca with some girls from college. It cost about £60 for 2 weeks I think.

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    1. I can't remember what our honeymoon cost, but I do know we were saving up for ages. We were very proud of ourselves because we paid for the majority of the wedding, and the honeymoon. My mum and dad paid for the flowers, and Terry’s parent put some money behind the bar to pay for the first drinks, but other than that we did it ourselves. We managed to bankrupt ourselves in the process, but we could boast that we paid for the wedding! Our parents probably thought we were completely daft!
      Terry and I often talk about converting a van, and spending a couple of years travelling around Europe. The trouble is we talk about it but don’t do it. I’m always very keen to do it when the sun is shining but tend to change my mind when it gets cold! Thanks for coming back for another visit, Barbara.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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