Who's the Daddy: Everyone’s gone to the Lakes
Under normal circumstances, this week’s column would be coming to you from somewhere sunny and foreign, probably beside a pool with an ice cold beer on the go.
But because the government’s traffic light system for travel has all the stability of a box of flashing lights at a school disco, we thought we’d give it a miss this year and holiday at home.
The word ‘staycation’ has taken on a whole new meaning in the last few years – now it means going on holiday in the UK, which when I was a kid meant just going on holiday.
The places we went to, holiday camps/Victorian penal colonies in North Yorkshire, Wales and Norfolk, have long since closed down, nature has taken its course and they are often the subject of YouTube videos where a game presenter armed with an iPhone, drone and a selfie stick explores what now looks like modern day Pripyat 35 years after Chernobyl.
They weren’t the prettiest places even back in the 1970s.
Yours truly spent the week away playing ping pong, and the tournament’s top prize was… an off-season weekend away at one of their camps, which I won, much to my family’s annoyance. Norfolk is a long way from South Cumbria for a family of four cramped in a tiny Electrolux van.
One time our chalet was so damp we all came home with serious respiratory infections. Nowadays experiences like that make for great reality TV or a gruelling stint of community service, 40-plus years ago families did it for fun.
So this year, with stories of a seaside beach hut selling for £80,000 and a Cornwall holiday cottage available for £71,000 a week (yep, not a typo), we thought we’d do days out instead.
And judging by the packed out places we’ve visited over the past week, so did everybody else in England.
With touts losing out on tickets for big football matches and gigs over the last 18 months thanks to Covid, they could make all their money back and more by selling Lake District parking spaces for 50 times their face value. And stressed out mums and dads with a car full of ratty, bored kids would gladly pay double.