TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
Aged five, I dressed in a poncho, sporting a large sombrero on my head and carrying a pair of maracas.
The official, alarmed at the sight of Granny’s oversized knickers as he opened the offending case, hurredly waved her throughTrish Burgess
It was the late 60s and package holidays were only just starting to become popular with British tourists.
Spain and the Balearics were totally alien to us and we were understandably keen to bring back as much tat as possible.
With no thought as to whether these items were authentic, I was mesmerised by straw donkeys, castanets and dolls dressed in layers of black and red tulle.
It wasn’t just the children who were smitten. Following a visit to a glass blowing factory my mother returned home with an strange stylised glass bull.
As a little girl I used to wonder why it had five legs, one shorter than the other four. For many years I believed my mum’s explanation that she had picked it up from a seconds bin.
It was usually booze that the adults wanted to bring home, particularly as the excellent exchange rate with the peseta meant that local hooch was as cheap as chips.
I recall my grandma being stopped at customs, having secreted an extra bottle of advocaat in her case along with her usual multipack of ciggies.
Asked if she had anything to declare, she proclaimed, “Only some of that yellow stuff.” The official, alarmed at the sight of Granny’s oversized knickers as he opened the offending case, hurriedly waved her through.
Bringing home souvenirs on planes didn’t seem to be an issue when I was growing up. Sadly, when we fly now, we are anxious not to exceed our baggage limits. We barely have enough room for our clothes, rolled and squeezed into tiny cases, never mind the odd knickknack from a Spanish market. Instead we tend to buy fridge magnets because they are small: not as exciting as a handturned milking stool or a strawbottomed bottle of Sangria.
Thankfully the internet has come to the rescue. Back home, from the comfort of my own armchair, I can source the souvenirs that have caught my eye whilst on holiday. Sometimes it can be years later.
In 2011 we visited Copenhagen and fell in love with an iconic wooden monkey, designed by Kay Bojesen in the 1950s. Four years later, seeking inspiration for Dougie’s birthday, I found an online company selling authentic Scandinavian products.
A few clicks later and the little monkey was winging its way to its new home in Holbeach.
How much more civilised a journey for the little chap when you consider how he could have travelled back the UK...wrapped up in a selection of next week’s washing.
You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at