Brochures of the week

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The Independent Travel
IT'S ALWAYS the same. The English spend three years moaning about the state of the country, then BAM! World Cup fever kicks in and suddenly everyone becomes painfully patriotic - and even start thinking about holidaying "at home".

Up until now, I hadn't chosen my summer holiday destination. But then I discovered the Stay on a Farm in the North of England and Norwich & the Norfolk Countryside Short Breaks brochures. What could be better than some serious R&R staying on a farm in some of the best of British countryside? After ploughing through the pages of these two brochures the unequivocal answer was, "Well quite a lot, actually".

The sole note on the Stay on a Farm in the North of England brochure pleads, "There's so much to do!" Doubtful, I opened the brochure to find pictures of honey-coloured sandstone farmhouses and of happy people riding horses along quite country lanes and rambling through velvet green valleys. I added my own images of mountain climbing and cycling, and began to feel encouraged.

I turned to the Norwich & the Norfolk Countryside Short Breaks to find pictures of stately home-style hotels and of people relaxing outside thatched pubs and exploring the historic streets of Norwich. I added to these my own images of sailing the Broads and discovering the region's rich wildlife, but then reality hit home.

I'm not really interested in exploring Norwich, I can't sail and I'd probably find East Anglia flat and boring. And if I stayed on a farm in the North of England it would rain, I'd be woken at 5am by crowing cockerels and the unhygenic kitchen would be full of buzzing blue bottles. Besides everybody knows grumpy farmers hate people - especially city dwellers.

No, I'll be off to some place where my strong pound will go further. Where long days of sunshine are practically guaranteed. To somewhere I can do things that will impress my work colleagues and friends. Yes, anywhere but England.