The Story of HF Holidays by Harry Wroe

Publisher: HF Holidays
Year: 2007
First Published: HF Holidays, 2007
ISBN: 0-9555139-0-1
Date reviewed: 04.07

Harry, my dear old chap

I had to write and tell you what I thought about that book of yours which dropped through my letterbox the other day. To be honest, I didn't think it would be up to much: HF Holidays is such a peculiar outfit it's hard to see how anyone can do it justice. But I reckon you've actually made quite a good fist of it. That chap Leonard, the one with the beard whose photo crops up everywhere, has a lot to answer for if you ask me.

Some of the early stuff is just splendid - everyone wearing proper hats and quite a few of the blokes with ties and waistcoats. Bit of a change now with our polo shirts and logos, eh? I bet the Goretex jackets and those hats with flappy ear bits some folk wear now will look just as odd in another 50 years, don't you?

And all that fuss about things like buying a gramophone, whatever that was, or whether they should call it a Common Room or a Lounge, or whether the girls should wear lipstick. Imagine trying that one on today! At least now we deal with real problems, like whether they should take the soup spoons away from people who've ordered the paté starter, or TVs in bedrooms. Some things don't change, though. They were going on in the 30s about Leaders turning up for dinner in their walking togs and being a bit - well, let's be honest - whiffy, and I remember seeing something in the same vein in that newsletter we get now and again. Actually, come to think of it, they ought to give you the job of turning out that newssheet. I reckon you'd make rather a good job of it, with pictures and anecdotes and all. How about putting in a bid?

Anyway, I thought the book was jolly interesting. Some clever-clogs I know had a look and said it was like a peephole window onto a small but fascinating corner of social history, though your guess is as good as mine as to what on earth that's supposed to mean. You've found some terrific pictures, both the photos and the other bits and pieces like the old brochure covers and that "Over the Hills" job - a bit before my time, but there are probably still a few old stagers around who remember it. And I never realised how many places the old Fellowship had had their hands on over the years. One hundred and twenty and counting - amazing! It's great that no-one has to stay in a garden shed any more - apart from Leaders, of course, when the house is full.

So, Harry, thanks again for a cracking effort.

All the best and yours in comradeship,


Design, text and graphics by Tony Turton.
Copyright © 2007 Tony Turton
First published 16 Apr 2007

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