So where did we go for our holidays in the 70's? We couldn't just hang around Priory playing fields every summer, although we did do that most of the time. Was it Ibiza....or Disneyland.......or Spain? No you guessed it.....the holiday camp! But not for us the veritable luxury of Butlins....our experience was far closer to Hi de Hi at Caister Holiday Camp near Great Yarmouth! And then later we became seafarers on the good ship Crane!

Caister is legendary as the first holiday away from home without the parents and I think the boys ventured there for 3 years before it was time for us to go away to University. I didn't go the first year which would have been 1970 but I was let let loose to go in 1971 and 1972.

Everything you saw on Hi de Hi was true - it was like Colditz! Row upon row of chalets all exactly the same, very sparsely furnished and painted in very drab colours. The dining room was like a....well, like a dining room. There was of course a bar for entertainment which was excellent for your first holiday...that's all us 18 year olds (!) needed.

The dining room served us our meals three times a day....strictly in sittings of course so if you missed your turn you had to head for the bar and pay for your chicken and chips in a basket - obligatory pub food in the seventies. In fact the only food served in pubs in the seventies. Meals were family affairs, which was a bit of a shame for the breakfast goers one morning as the families were treated to the sight of me throwing up outside the dining room door after realising for the first and last time that 9 pints of cider are too much for anyone to stomach. This was the very first time I swore I'd never drink again, but obviously not the last!

The dining room was also scene of some entertainment and if you were a birthday boy or girl your name was read out in front of all the mums and dads and you had to stand on your chair while the whole room sang happy birthday to you. Birthday boy Bert wasn't too pleased when his name was read out announcing his fifth birthday, particularly as he was the oldest of us approaching his 18th, and he refused to stand on his chair much to the concern of the announcer and the assembled parents. We did try to help by pointing at him and making as much noise as we could, but he still didn't seem too amused with Tats who had handed his name in!

Just discovered! A photo of what the well dressed holidaymaker was wearing to attract the ladies at the Friday night disco! Note the floppy hats which were obviously the height of fashion and bear in mind that Trev Pinder is now a policeman so the boys in blue will be knocking on your door if you laugh too loudly!

We met some fairly wild people as well. Can anyone remember Michael Murrin and the Millwall boys? His lot gave me my first impression of what Millwall fans were all about, particularly when they all fell out with waiters one night. The camp had a policy of sticking all the teenage holidaymakers in the same area of chalets and I think they classed their own staff in the broad category of "could cause trouble". I remember a pitch battle almost ensuing when the waiters came armed with iron bars and various assorted weapons. We felt obliged to back up our friends the Millwall boys but I don't think they needed our help! Things all calmed down eventually and it's a good job as I think we would have run a mile faced with a waiter wielding an iron bar!

And then there were those wild women we met in 1972 led by big Moira! I think it was Ollie that remembered her name so she obviously made a big impression on him!

There was always plenty of organised entertainment. In fact it was organised just about every hour of the day, usually based around the pool or the playing field. There was also a good dose of ballroom dancing whatever time of day it was. We had this theory that learning to waltz may help us in chasing the girls but a couple of ballroom dancing lessons soon put us off that idea!

Sports day was the highlight of the entertainment week but the events weren't too exciting. I don't think they have the sack race or the wheelbarrow race on the entertainment at Sandals.

Of course if you got bored you could always make your own entertainment. We were hopelessly addicted to bridge - judging from the score sheet here Mop was obviously using his normal tactics of bidding the suit that he had none of. This confuses the opponents totally but also confuses your partner to the extent that they'll bid four spades before realising that Mop had none! This results in great amusement and a lot of wins for the opposition. We obviously found time for a rubber or two, as did Duggie the camp compere who I remember queuing up at a Durex machine in the toilets on a Friday night before heading off down the beach with the girl he'd awarded the title of Miss Caister 1972 only hours previously. And I thought this stuff was all fair and square and above board - another illusion shattered!

Which brings us on to Friday nights - last night before going home and the time to chase all those girls you'd been after all week. Although they'd been ignoring you all week so I don't know why we thought we had any more chance on a Friday night!

Maybe it was because we all put that much extra effort into the dressing up on a Friday.

Now look at Hodgie and Mart - could you resist them dressed like that? Hmm.....maybe we shouldn't have told them it was the camp disco! Where did Hodgie get a shirt to match the curtains?

Look at the programme for Fridays in 1971. It's a wildly exciting is Champion House v The Rest. Did I forget to say you got house points as well? Note there are no dancing classes in the daytime as they assume you've learnt it all and are raring to go by Friday, so you have the carnival dance to show off what you've learnt. And the highlight of the week, at 10.00 The Hottest Hot Pants Competition! Now if you can't score on a Friday night you never we didn't! Still there's always the nine pints of cider to console ourselves, and we could always sit outside the toilets and watch Duggie disappearing off to the beach with the winner of the hottest hot pants competition!

I say we didn't score but Trev found a lovely tall girl fairly early on in the week one year and I must confess we getting fairly jealous! He was quite taken by her and kept leaving the boys to dance with her and her family. She looked quite young but he insisted that she was 15 which was sort of OK for a group of 17 year old lads, so she met with our begrudging approval. Duggie the compere was due to spoil it all for Trev though as he invited the unsuspecting young lady up on to stage for some sort of trick or competition or something. He asked her age and when she replied "13" he couldn't understand the howls of laughter and finger pointing which erupted from our corner of the room.

Of course Tuesdays was a different affair altogether - very intellectual. We had wrestling! And Top of the Pops with Duggie in the Holiday Cafe. No doubt just before he headed off down the beach with the winner of the Pans People lookalike competition.

I actually remember searching out the TV room at the camp on Thursday to watch the real Top of the Pops as of course you couldn't miss it. I think that was in 1972 and I always remember that Mott the Hoople were number 1 with All the Young Dudes.

And so after the third Caister we sort of grew out of it almost as quickly as we grew into it! Maybe our tastes matured..or maybe we couldn't afford holidays any more as we all went off to University, where life resembled Butlins every day!