Friday 18 February 2011

Five Go Mad on Holiday Again

The upper-middle class Upwards, Gideon and Samantha, love the Continent, and everything Continental - but their Continent contains only France and Italy. You never hear an Upward raving about Sweden, Belgium or Poland. And they aren’t allowed to like Switzerland: chalets, waterfalls, pine trees, snowy mountains, wildflower meadows, cowbells, chocolate, watches, lakes - how kitsch!

When Sam is abroad she doesn't see cafes because they're all over-priced and full of common people and you couldn't possibly be seen eating there. She won’t let you buy anything, or eat or drink anything (unless you’ve brought it with you), or even sit down or go to the loo. (She also wouldn’t take a taxi home even if she had a migraine during a blizzard.)

And then there are those terrifying people whose idea of a holiday is a route march with rucksack and will never go to beaches or towns or even small villages except to lay in supplies. If forced to pass through towns (to get to the railway station), they march on looking neither to right nor left, never put down their rucksacks, and consume nothing but the bottled water they’ve brought with them.

Upwards are always trying to find a way to be exclusive without spending money. They stay in friends’ holiday cottages which have been in the family for 75 years and are full of ancient hardbacks with tattered dust jackets that never lose the damp chill and smell of mould they have acquired over 75 unheated winters. If Sam hired a chalet it would have to be an old one in Suffolk that was falling into the sea. She pines for a beach hut but the ones in prime locations cost squillions.

Sam is terrified other English people will speak to her because they might be the wrong kind, and might expect to "know" her back home. She looks out for other people whose children are wearing mini-Boden.

More holiday hell here. And here, here, here and here. And here.

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