Holiday season again. Mind you, as I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before, I’m one of those strange people who rarely actually go anywhere on holiday. When I take an extended break from work, (which I’m doing at the moment), I simply like to do more of the things work prevents me from doing. More lounging around reading paperbacks, or catching up with dodgy DVDs. More wandering around musty second hand book shops, more playing with my trains, more writing and more propping up the bar of my local. This isn’t to say that I don’t actually go anywhere. On the contrary, I make frequent day trips to the coast, London and other places of interest. What I don’t like doing is packing up my entire life and spending a couple of weeks of my precious time off travelling to some destination which will inevitably be filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of fellow holiday makers. I don’t like the sense of impermanence that travelling brings, let alone all the other stresses of making flights, changing currency and ensuring you have all the correct documentation. Not to mention the fact that – unless you are fluently multi-lingual – the sense of isolation that a language barrier can bring. Perhaps most of all – being something of a loner – I hate all the unspoken prejudice that travelling on your own brings. Add to that an anxiety about flying which I developed some years ago, and you can see why I’d rather stay close to home. I’ve even let my passport expire and, right now, I have absolutely no intention of renewing it. I can’t say that I miss all the travelling at all. I used to have a job which required quite a bit of overseas travel, both to Europe and the States and, to be frank, it all got just a little bit stale. Not to mention inconvenient. By the end of it I’d had enough of moderately-priced hotel rooms, mid-range hire cars and airport lounges to last me a lifetime. Now, I know that there are some of you out there who will argue that, by failing to expose myself to alien cultures through travel, I’m severely narrowing my horizons and denying myself potentially life-changing experiences. There are two components to my response to this, not unreasonable contention. Firstly, bearing in mind that most people travel abroad on package holidays to places like Ibiza, I don’t think that I’m actually missing out on encountering any foreign culture – such destinations attract Britons precisely because they’re like home, but with sun. Secondly, the overwhelming majority of people I’ve ever known who have ‘gone travelling’, be it in Europe or the Far East, don’t seem to have been, in any way, ‘enlightened’ by their experiences. They seem completely unchanged.
Maybe my sometime drinking crony Techno Barry, (not to be confused with Boring Barry, who married a fire woman and moved to Belgium a few years ago), has the right idea – he recently bought a camper van. Now, he claims that his intent is to use it to spend his weekends travelling around the country visiting agricultural shows and folk festivals. However, I have my doubts. These are mainly fuelled by the amount of electronic surveillance equipment he has in the back. I mean, the other week he saw a picture of a bloke in the local paper he thought he knew from his schooldays. Unlike any normal person, who would just have looked them up in the phone book, Techno Barry instead located the poor guy’s address via some clandestine internet search, identified it on Google Maps, before parking his camper van opposite the house and recording the guy come and go with concealed cameras. That’s just not normal, is it? It’s not as if he even spoke to the guy, or even confirmed whether he actually had gone to school with him. After a few days of surveillance he just concluded that if the guy was the same bloke he’d known as a kid, then he’d done bloody well for himself, judging by his house and the nice furniture he had in the living room. The only downside was that Barry’s analysis of some nocturnal audio recordings he’d made indicated that the bloke probably suffered from premature ejaculation. Anyway, my worry is that what he’s actually going to do with that bloody camper van is go around the UK on some kind of perverted peeping Tom tour. It will all end in tears, mark my words. Even if he doesn’t do that, it’s my experience that even stay-at-home holidays inevitably end in disaster. Just look at that time Big Sleazy got us deported from the Isle of Wight. It was all a horrible mistake. As usual, Big Sleazy had too much to drink and thought that ‘Bestival’ was actually ‘Beastival’, a celebration of bestiality. To cut a long story short, there was an unfortunate incident involving him and Lily Allen’s dog. What can I say? Miss Allen has a terrific left hook and Big Sleazy is still receiving parcels of dog crap through his letter box. I suspect the RSPCA.
Even a recent weekend excursion to East Anglia turned into a farce. I knew it was a mistake to take my cousin Suzie Sleaze with us, not that I had much choice, in the absence of Little Miss Strange, we needed someone to provide us with protection and legal advice. (If you are wondering about the fate of Little Miss Strange, she’s currently on the run in the Far East. She says that she’s ‘travelling’, but I know better. It turns out that the horse she punched out a few years ago had friends. Who’d have thought it? Despite the fact that he shouldn’t have been in the lounge bar of our local at the time, let alone stealing her pork scratchings, the horse’s buddies have finally tracked Little Miss Strange down and vowed vengeance for their pal. After finding an upside down horseshoe nailed to her front door, followed by a bale of hay hurled through her living room window, she decided to make herself scarce. I’m not expecting her back any time soon, hence the arrival of Suzie Sleaze. Actually, while we’re on the subject, many of you seem to be confused as to my relationship with Little Miss Strange. It’s very simple really: she’s my adoptive idiot sister). Getting back to East Anglia, the whole place being flat and boring, we inevitably ended up in a pub. Unfortunately, so did a load of those Sealed Knot loonies. Even more unfortunately, Big Sleazy challenged them to a pool match. Well, all was going fine – Big Sleazy easily despatched Oliver Cromwell with a pool cue over the head, whilst Prince Rupert of the Rhine edged Big Sleazy’s girlfriend, Lazy Eyed Lisa, out with a cue ball in a sock – until Matthew Hopkins tried to cheat by denouncing Suzie as a witch and trying to have her burned at the stake, (actually a pool cue stuck in the middle of the pub’s lawn). A bad tactical error on his part, as she proceeded to demonstrate her supposed magical powers by making several red balls vanish up his nose. Well, I decided that we’d count that as a 2-1 victory in our favour, and beat a hasty retreat. All of which provides, I feel, a watertight argument for not going on holiday again this year. Well, until the next time, keep it sleazy!