Friday, September 01, 2006
A New England
When I was born, the world was a far simpler place. As kids we went on holiday in this country. I can remember a caravan in the Lakes, a B&B in Southport, various Butlins camps and my Great Uncle's farm in North Wales. Our greatest extravagance was a trip to Cornwall in my Dad's Cortina. We stopped off in Weston-super-Mare on the way down, Shrewsbury on the way back. A week in the Trelawney Hotel in Newquay felt like the apex of luxury.
My Dad's mate Ralph had been to Spain and said we weren't missing much - "Hest Bank with sunshine," he reported. I was 13 when I went abroad for the first time, 15 for the second time but it's been foreign climes at all points of the globe over the last 25 years. I've loved everywhere I've been, even Geraldton, Western Australia.
But with the five kids in tow and the amount of fun we need to spread around, I'm up for Cornwall all the way now after a wonderful week away. We did the lot - Eden Project, Newquay, Padstow, Truro, a different beach every day - wonderful food, great people. We had some good weather every day, even if it wasn't all day. It's been the best break I've had this year, nudging a tiring weekend hiking around (the shops in) Keswick into second place and relegating a weekend in Marbella down to third.
The point of all of this is that the British holiday industry is catching up with the 21st century. Apart from the Light Ale quarter of Newquay the Cornish experience has made it comfortable for nice people to enjoy England. And while Blackpool looks like it's gambling everything on getting a monster casino, this may present an opportunity for Morecambe. Bill Bryson had the vision in his book Notes From A Small Island where he suggested Morecambe could offer short breaks for the middle class of the North of England, offering art, Lancashire food and a hop to the Lake District.
There are plans floating around for Morecambe and I hope they succeed. Cornwall tells me they can.