Charles Nevin: Try a holiday at home this year

Share
Related Topics

Recent brief outbreaks of sunshine have shown this country in a different light. I had been regretting the conspiracy of circumstance - absence of initiative, finance and friendship with an Italian prince - which prevents me from holidaying abroad this year, but now I'm not so sure. Have any of you, given the current confusions, wondered if you'll be allowed back in?

Exactly. And that is only the half of it. In the past few days, for example, two cruise ships have been forced to abandon voyage. I gave up cruising for fear of encountering Keith Harris and Orville, and in these cases it was also stomach trouble. Then there was that Lancashire teacher who took 30 hours to fly from France to Manchester, and the poor woman who took five days and three airports to get to Jersey. And the survey showing British Airways to be best on lost baggage, with an average of only five passengers per flight left staring forlornly at the half-unwrapped parcel and broken buggy making their melancholy circuits of the carousel.

No, staying behind is the thing, I now see. We domestics have been the more exclusive since 1998. You will recognise us not only from our attractive pallor, but from that air of environmental superiority which we cannot conceal.

And Britain does have such a lot to offer. This month will be particularly good for getting around, too, as those who remain will spend much of the time in front of their new widescreen television sets (John Lewis, 85 per cent increase in sales), in the middle part at least.

Where to go? Well, the Victorian Society has just launched a campaign promoting our resorts, and there is no doubting their delights and distinctions, of which space, sadly, allows only these: Napoleon III based the boulevards of Paris on that magnificent thoroughfare, Lord Street, Southport, after a stay there as a young man (in Lancashire, Paris is known as "The Southport of the South"). The Grand Hotel, Scarborough, was the largest hotel in Europe when it opened in 1867. The fish finger was invented in Great Yarmouth.

But the Interior also has much to commend it. Few countries, surely, can match the variety of landscape contained in even one of our counties, and, with rare thoughtfulness, local authorities have created a calm and steadying contrast by permitting and sometimes persuading every town, no matter where, to make its high street exactly like every other. Don't forget, either, that even in the deepest, boskiest, most magical depth of the countryside, you're never more than 10 minutes away from a large and convenient supermarket.

Such is the sophistication of modern life, however, that novelty is vital. And here, the Interior has always lagged behind the Coast, although the friendly custom of tractors guiding motorists from village to village at a pace which allows appreciation of the surrounding countryside is still appreciated. All the same, what's really needed is something that will produce a bit of buzz. Clearly, the reintroduction of wild boar hunting is a start, but despite much hot rural rumour, I can't see it being extended to fly tippers, second-home owners and Margaret Beckett in the lifetime of this parliament.

I myself have long argued for the adoption of the splendid Spanish parador system, reasonable accommodation provided by the Government in magnificent buildings and stately settings. But where will our rulers find such places?

How to make a day to remember

Favourite for Gordon Brown's National Day is, according to a BBC poll, 15 June, the date of Magna Carta, ahead of Trafalgar, Waterloo, and VE Day. Other suggestions have included 1 May, commemorating, of course, the glorious victory of 1997, and 28 April, St Prudence's Day, but I don't see any of them quite capturing the essence of our island virtues and values.

Luckily, inspiration struck when I read about the Yaohnanen tribe, in the South Pacific, cargo culters who worship Prince Philip as a living deity. Of course! The Prince, above, 85 on Saturday 10 June, represents all that is noblest about this country, demonstrating just what an immigrant down on his luck can achieve, and exemplifying our tolerance, good humour and ability to ignore, but politely, all attempts at provocation. I give you - and Gordon, it's got a ring - Edinburgh Day!

* Finally, here are some important messages for St George's flag users:

1. If you notice that a large queue has built up behind your car, don't be concerned, as in some motor-racing circles, your flag can mean "emergency, no passing".

2. Resist attempts by unscrupulous traders to foist you off with one bearing a red cross with splayed ends, as this is the Templar flag, and before you know where you are you'll find yourself locked in a fierce struggle with a crazed albino monk.

3. Remember: flags must be taken down from cars at sunset.

4. If you're dining in Hampstead or want to keep fluttering for any length of time, it's useful to know that it's also the flag of a) the Genoese Republic b) The Tasmanian Steam Navigation Company.

5. Handheld flags: do put a rubber protector on the tip before attempting The Crouch, or you can do yourself some serious damage.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
 

The strangely parallel lives of Oliver Letwin and Ed Miliband

Matthew Norman
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral