Thursday, 18 August 2016
A considerable amount of press time is still being devoted to trying to put as cowardly a face on the prospect of Brexit as possible. Yesterday’s news - contrary to the Today programme’s pet economist commentator’s hopes and dreams – of lower unemployment and higher ages must have come as a hammer blow. Still, there was some consolation for those wishing for the worst by making a huge deal over holidays. The cost of a European holiday, they say, has increased by 20% because of the devaluation of the pound.
But the foreign holiday is an exotic, recent import into people’s lives and is far from being an essential component. It falls firmly in the category of discretionary spending and it’s up to you whether you do or you don’t. For many the costs are fixed anyway, if by ‘holiday’ you mean the all-inclusive package deal that you bought like so much discounted tat from a comparison site on the Internet. Lying like corpulent pink slugs around a pool full of other people’s kids, wearing wristbands to show which hotel you are the property of and spending the days getting pissed and burned seems to me less like a holiday than an ordeal.
The weather is oft cited as a reason for going away but we have weather in Britain; we’re famous for it. And because it isn’t as reliable as, say Spain’s relentless beating heat, we have lots more variety to enjoy. As they say, there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothes. Maybe if you live a life of idleness on benefits, dossing about the house all day every day, a foreign escape is at least a change of scene, but sod you; your existence is one long holiday from the realities most people have to contend with.
But seriously, why go abroad, cattle class style, to be despised by those who wait on you and clean up your shit for a pittance, to wait in long queues at airport check-ins, to lose your luggage and then afterwards discover your teenage daughter has gained her own extra baggage via the local Latin Lotharios and Montezuma’s revenge has taken control of your lower bowel. The tan will fade and all you will be left with is a bit more gut overhang and those identikit selfies that you put on social media just because everybody else did and now you don’t know how to remove. Oh and you will be broke again. Call that a holiday?
But right here, in one of the rest of the world’s highly rated tourist destinations there is a ‘hotel’ where the beds are familiar and the food is up to your expectations. A place where everybody speaks your version of English and where the facilities are familiar and close at hand. Instead of all that Benidorm bollockry, close down that holiday browser, take your finger off the mouse and put your credit card back in your wallet. Instead of all that holiday hullaballoo – packing, parking, queueing and crap – take a deep breath, settle into your favourite chair and actually, you know, relax.
Go for a walk. Or if you live in a busy city, drive somewhere nice and then go for a walk. See some local sights, have a pub lunch and just talk bollocks for a few hours. Make the most of these balmy nights while you can – the clocks go back in a few weeks’ time, after all. Have you been to the local museum? Lazed in the local park; fed the ducks? With the money saved you could go on a shopping expedition (if that’s your thing) in real shops in a town centre, not just the local Tesco megastore. You could try that new restaurant in the high street, or just pig out on a takeaway in front of the telly.
Package holidays are for mugs; don’t play their game. The doom-mongers despise you and will happily use the possibly increased cost of your annual jaunt abroad to point out your ugly nationalism. Prove them wrong by choosing not to be that chav in Union Jack shorts being escorted from the plane on the SiX O’clock News at Malaga airport and be proud of Britain while actually being in Britain. Make the most of it though, because it’s forecast to piss down next week.