If there’s a time when the British holiday triumphs over the minibreak abroad, surely it is Easter Bank Holiday, when families load children, tent and rubber ring into the car and drive to the sea at dawn with fingers and toes crossed for good weather and no fighting in the back.
This Easter I’ve been true to my word and vay-cayed in the Yorkshire Dales and Exmoor. Having thus traversed more or less the length of the country this week, I can confidently tell you that, while the scenery may vary greatly, the British are up to the same old slightly bemusing antics wherever they may be.
Here are 10 things that will absolutely happen to you on a British Summertime holiday.
- Whatever the weather forecast says, you will pack for Spain and freeze to death.
Having packed for Yorkshire on a gorgeously sunny southern day, it seemed incomprehensible to me that the weather for the next week could be anything other than baking hot. Cue me rifling through sundresses, teeny shorts and kaftans on arrival to find the one emergency fleece that would be my companion for the whole week.
Think there’d be a learning curve there? I’ve done exactly the same for Exmoor. I write this shivering in tiny shorts as the wind howls outside.
- As in the times of our forbearers, you will allow the animal kingdom to dominate.
Whether it’s slamming the breaks on for a pheasant bumbling across the road or waiting patiently for two massive cows to strut past (this happened to me and I was terrified), you will acknowledge that all the greatness of humanity is reduced to nothing in the face of a belligerent sheep.
- You will befriend a total stranger.
What are we like? If we haven’t seen a fellow human for a few hours (and in Malham this could easily be a few days), we feel the need to treat the next one that comes along to the full force of our friendship. If we did this in the city no one would make it out of their street.
- You will attempt physical activity well beyond your range of fitness.
At home I will occasionally attempt a 15 minute jog. Why then on holiday do I think I’ll be able to climb a mountain? Having moaned my way through an 11 mile hike yesterday, I think I need to reassess my abilities.
- You will feel compelled to consume an obscene amount of local produce.
Cheese. Cider. Cornish pasties. ‘Nuff said.
- You will spend at least half the holiday engulfed in an ordinance survey map.
Nothing says ‘I am a strong and powerful man’ like an OS map. The bigger the map, the bigger the, ahem, distance travelled.
- You will feel obliged to live as if it were the dark ages, even if your apartment has all the mod cons.
Rarely in my day to day life do I suggest a family game – suddenly on holiday this seems like a fantastic idea – and probably one of the chief sources of fun to be had, especially when one’s great Aunty confuses the innocent Articulate word ‘ramp’ with ‘romp’ and gives the clue ‘fun and games on the floor’. Lord forgive us all.
- You will visit an obscure museum and pretend to have fun.
The Dog Collar Museum in Leeds is a real thing.
- Stopping at the services will be the highlight of the trip.
Is there more fun to be had than the anticipation of which sandwich to choose? I don’t think so.
- When you return, you’ll tell everyone it was the best holiday you ever had.
Because, I’m afraid, this crazy peninsula is where we belong.