Wish you weren’t here?

Spring sceneWith the Easter holidays coming up this weekend you might be thinking of going abroad for a Spring break…

That is, if you can still afford it after
a. The heating bills
b. Child care bills
c. Taxes to prop up the National Debt, Eurozone etc
d. Etc. etc.

For those of us stuck in Britain it looks like another cold/wet/snowy weekend on the way – more winter than spring. So even if you can afford to get away, expect travel disruption and cancelled flights because of ‘the wrong sort of snow’ or similar excuses. And if you are staying in Britain expect travel disruption and cancelled trains because of… you get the message.

So why not just stay at home, wrap up, settle down with a (library) book and gloat that there are others who are going to be even more miserable than you are.

You are awful (but I like you), by Tim MooreHere are some titles that might match the mood of a typical British Bank Holiday weekend…

You are awful (but I like you): travels through unloved Britain
by Tim Moore

“It began with an accidental daytrip to an intriguingly awful resort on the Thames Estuary and ended 3,812 miles later. This is one man’s journey through deep-fried, brownfield, poundshop Britain, a crash course in urban blight, deranged civic planning and commercial eccentricity.”

Crap days out by Gareth RubinCr*p days out
by Gareth Rubin
“From Land’s End to John O’Groats, this Sceptred Isle is riddled with what are laughably referred to as ‘attractions’. Rubbish tourism is a proud British tradition, and from Stonehenge to Madam Tussaud’s, Shakespeare’s birthplace to the Harry Potter Tour, and model villages to a museum dedicated to pencils, Crap Days Out is the quintessential collection of places that will ruin a perfectly good bank holiday.”

Bollocks to Alton Towers, by Jason HazeleyB*****ks to Alton Towers: uncommonly British days out
by Jason Hazeley
“The British Lawnmower Museum, Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music and Mad Jack’s Sugar Loaf. In a world of theme parks, interactive exhibits, over-priced merchandise and queues, don’t worry, these are names to stir the soul. Reassuring evidence that there’s still somewhere to turn in search of the small, fascinating, unique and, dammit, British.”

Far from the sodding crowd, by Jason HazeleyFar from the s***ing crowd
by Jason Hazeley
“Britons work longer hours than almost any other nation in Europe, taking fewer public holidays, laboring from Monday to Friday on the promise of a blissful weekend of fun. But how do we spend our precious days off? When asked what you did at the weekend, will you mutter something about shelves and how hard it was to park? Or will you regale them with a mighty tale of your trip to the Somerset Shoe Museum?”

To Hull and Back, by Tom ChesshyreTo Hull and back: on holiday in unsung Britain, by Tom Chesshyre
“As staff travel writer on The Times since 1997, Tom Chesshyre had visited over 80 countries on assignment, and wondered: what is left to be discovered? In a mad adventure that took him from Hull to Hell (actually a rather nice holiday location in the Isles of Scilly), Tom visited secret spots of Unsung Britain in search of the least likely holiday destinations. With a light and edgy writing style Tom peels back the skin of the unfashionable underbelly of Britain, and embraces it all with the spirit of discovery.”

Are we nearly there yet? by Ben HatchAre we nearly there yet? A family’s 8000 miles around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra
by Ben Hatch
“They were bored, broke, burned out and turning 40, so when Ben and Dinah saw the advert looking for a husband and wife team with young kids to write a guidebook about family travel around Britain, they jumped at the chance. With naïve visions of staring moodily across Coniston Water and savouring Cornish pasties, they embark on a mad-cap five-month trip, embracing the freedom of the open road with a spirit of discovery and an industrial supply of baby wipes.”

And finally, what we can only dream of:

Cream teas, traffic jams and sunburn, by Brian VinerCream teas, traffic jams and sunburn – the Great British holiday by Brian Viner
“The British on holiday: how can four simple words evoke so many vivid images – of raw sunburn and relentless rain, of John Bull’s Pub (in Lanzarote) and Antonio’s Tapas Bar (in Torquay), of endless queues to get through security at the airport and endless tailbacks on the motorway, but also images of carefree sploshing in Portuguese swimming-pools and lazy lunches in the Provencal sun? It is a story that connects Blackpool with Barcelona, Mauritius with Margate. It is a story, indeed, that connects us all.”

A Week in December, by Sebastian FaulksaulksStaying in London? You could read A week in December by Sebastian Faulks, set right here. In December. Which is, after all, what it feels like… It’s the Cityread London book and several of our book groups, including Text Tribe (the online book group) will be reading it in April – join in!

Get your library books for the Easter break today, as we’ll be closed Friday 29 March to Monday 1 April inclusive. See you next week!

[Malcolm]

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