It’s not a staycation, it’s a holiday.
That’s right, reader; we’re on a HOLIDAY. Not a STAY-BLEEDIN-CAYSHUN. You know, them things where you stay somewhere else for a week, eat loads and potter about. Here at Yorkshire Bylines, we try and give you things straight. Here’s a summary:
- There’s been a crisis which has killed millions all over the world.
- This has meant we’ve had to stay in.
- Richer states are starting to come to terms with it to the point where people can go on holiday again.
- A holiday doesn’t have to involve getting on a plane.
Holidays are not staycations.
Well, clean out my colon with a Daily Mail Johnson wedding pullout if that’s not blindingly obvious. However, if all you read were tabloids and the BBC news, you might have fallen for the occult notion that being able to jet off on demand to somewhere distant, preferably impoverished (cheaper drinks) and possibly repressive (Dubai’s got such GREAT shopping centres!), whilst destroying the planet in the process, was a fundamental human right.
Julia Hartley-Brewer thinks so, and often goads the Twitterati about it for money.
The Needles, Isle of Wight
Anyway, the Needles is mercifully free of such distractions. Here you can take the rickety-looking chairlift over the steadily eroding cliff for one of the greatest views in the world. At the bottom you potter about under the unique, multi-coloured cliffs before your party starts to argue over who gets to ride the chairlift back and who has to ascend the picturesque-yet-gruelling steps.
This can take some time, with a triage process evaluating levels of health, fitness, medication, age and infirmity, which would be the ideal busman’s holiday for a member of NICE.
This process is exacerbated by the tendency of those condemned to walk back, to turn this quarter-mile up a beautiful, fast-disappearing gem of a landscape into a lung-bursting, score-settling, trial-by-ordeal that would stretch SAS trainees.
Once at the top, you can affect nonchalance whilst suppressing the migration of your stomach contents onto the path by the booth where you can buy a photo of yourself looking like an artist’s impression of an escaped sex offender with the Needles photoshopped into the background.
I love the place.
It’s the only place I know that combines epic scenery with kids’ rides, a glass-blowing demonstration, crazy golf on the edge of a cliff and a little workshop where you can put the different colours of sand from the cliffs into little glass ornaments shaped like the Isle of Wight. There’s always an upside to coastal erosion down here.
As we sat outside the Marconi café (it’s the site of the first transatlantic radio call), the heat was baking, but, like most, we felt better that way.
You came all this way for a pasty?
All of a sudden, the tannoy crackled into life. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a public service announcement.” The babble of families negotiating sweet purchases, couples barking “NO, GET A FAKKIN TABLE IN THE SHADE, SINDY!” and losing control of spaniels fell deathly silent.
“The final sweet-making demonstration of the day will take place in two minutes.”
I’ve been to the Needles most years since the early 80s. I’m not sure why. Usually, the various announcements are completely ignored, but as my son resumed the conquest of his pasty and chips, the silence and subsequent sigh spoke wordlessly of how Covid-19 has thrown us off our normal reflexes.
In the midst of the most idyllic spell of summer weather you could wish for, on the Isle of Wight, (which has been relatively untouched by Covid-19,) and in a place where grateful holidaymakers were finally getting away, here was a spontaneous demonstration of how jumpy we’ve become.
For a couple of seconds, with a pasty in front of us, we got a glimpse of it.