Wish you were here?
Alan Edwards is in holiday mood

 

Our local airport has recently become host to a budget airline. The local press soon began carrying adverts for the new venture. One in particular intrigued me. ‘Fly to Dublin. One way ticket 50. mention of a return ticket nor any indication that there was a return journey.

Admittedly the Isle of Thanet has neither the romance of the Isle of Capri nor the upwardly mobile pull of the Isle of Dogs but surely it is not so dreadful a place that not one single person would want to fly back. On second thoughts, the chance of running into Tracey Emin (the Isle’s most famous resident) might tip the balance in favour of permanent exile.

Then I discovered that the airline’s headquarters were in Ireland and possible explanations piled up as rapidly as empty glasses needing a refill on St Patrick’s night. After years of producing emigrants, the newly confident Celtic Tiger was probably now seeking immigrant labour. Long practice in coping with the chaos caused by strike-happy French neighbours has given Kent coast dwellers a temperament that would easily adjust to Ireland’s laid back ways.

Too prosaic an explanation, surely. Brussels bureaucracy cannot have robbed the Emerald Isle of its leprechauns. It must be the little people luring the budget conscious travellers away.

My daydream was interrupted by my practical wife. ‘It’s just a marketing ploy ever advertising.liday advertising evokes the wish to believe that the song was right about rain’s avoidance of the coast in Spain or that Big Apple stores compete to see who can give away jeans and handbags to Brits.

I have long believed that Eve was only persuaded to leave Eden because Adam gave her a holiday brochure, and that the success of the Crusades in recruiting was because the lads thought they were signing up to a Club XVIII to XXX holiday.

Disillusion for me came early. In a wartime Cotswold town, the childhood Eldorado was the promise of a trip to Weston to see the sea. Arriving at that grey gulag planted the seed of disillusion. Moses had obviously gone there on a day-trip the day before. The sea had not only parted but completely disappeared, and taken its own excursion across the Bristol Channel to Barry Island.

Thereafter, when I went on a train, the colourful holiday town posters that in those days adorned platforms and carriages failed to convince. The Skeggy Man bounding along the beach promising that ‘Skegness is bracings obviously running to catch the disappearing sea. Nowadays he would be desperately dashing to find the only unvandalized lav.

In these car confined days, observe the ferry advert family bowling down to their Dordogne villa. The children happily calling from the back. Are their cries that sound like ‘Oui, ouiancophile enthusiasm or another call familiar to all parent drivers on a long journey.

Cruising is the fastest growing holiday trend. Adverts always show a senior couple gazing romantically at sunlit seas. He, elegant grey locks and clean cut chin, a double for Cary Grant. She, hair highlighted and Harrods habited phia Loren’s younger sister? Pray that they are on your table.

Reality comes at the first meal. No clean cut chin on your table but a man whose clean cut concerned his prostate and whose conversation describes every surgical step. His companion no Latin lady but a Barking Betsy whose rendering (literally) of ‘I Will Survive a talent night treat comparable to missing the last lifeboat from Titanic.

You have booked a cruise to escape the 1000th repeat of Only Fools and Horses. Too late you discover that Turkish TV screens the show 24/7 to prove they are ‘good Europeansit for the EU. ‘I your waiter for the cruise. My name Mehmet, but you can call me Del Boy. Lovely Jubbly. two lengths every month with the Senior Swimmers sufficient training for the swim home?

Booking a holiday? Go to a travel agent. Study the customers. If anyone’s humming ‘I Will Surviveurloin a paddling pool and settle for a stay-at-home holiday.

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