Susie Rushton: Wedcations make the best rural retreat

Urban Notebook
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The Independent Online

You can keep your low-carbon staycation in Devon, or the marvellous week with only three days of rain in a cottage on the Suffolk coast. This summer I've discovered a novel way to holiday in the UK: the wedcation. It represents slightly less value for money than a three-week gourmet spa retreat in Hawaii, but it's certainly been an adventure and the past two months, thanks a rush of traditionalism among my friends, has been a multi-centre, five-date tour.

All but one of the invitations propped up on my mantelpiece came accompanied with a note warning there would be dancing in fields, B&Bs with just two rooms and taxi firms that require booking several days in advance. I actually grew up in a small village in the Kent countryside. But this summer's rural itinerary has demonstrated how much a decade living in London has reduced me to a useless, public transport-enslaved, cappuccino-addicted, wifi-suckling infant. Early in the wedcation, I made stupid errors. So, if there's a next time, I've made a memo to self of things to remember when making a two-day sojourn out of town carrying only a flowery dress and pointlessly small bag:

* Take cash – more than you think. And then take an extra tenner. The countryside doesn't accept debit cards (although, bizarrely, cheques are fine). The ATMs have been eaten by cows defending their calves.

* There, hailing is a weather condition, not a method of catching a cab. On taking delivery of your taxi driver on the first day, keep hold of him and keep him close. Failing that, get his mobile number. Unless you have a problem with...

* The reception. Not the happy couple's – your phone's. Is this what being dead feels like?

* If you arrive at your pub-cum-hotel at 11pm, don't rush to make last orders. "We close when we close," a landlady in the Yorkshire Dales told me. The local bobby was sitting at the bar. This is the life. Unless your bedroom is directly above said bar.

* Don't forget to buy a plastic bottle of Coca-Cola at the station in London – the pubs only sell miniature glass bottles and country supermarkets are just a rumour. You'll need cola the morning after the wedding, as medicine for the gut-churning, wallet-splitting, high-speed cab ride back to the train station. Water, interestingly, can be drunk from the tap, and is sweet and delicious. Incredible! You don't get that at a gourmet-spa-retreat.

Middle classes go into hiding

It's the question on every responsible citizen's lips: where will the displaced residents of two of London's most infamous middle-class enclaves – Notting Hill and Blackheath, thronging with carnival-goers and environmentalists respectively – hide out this bank holiday weekend? If anybody sees a caravan of Porsche Cayennes congregating suspiciously in the capital, report it to the authorities immediately. These people had a rainy summer holiday in Norfolk and are now believed to be feeling quite irritable.