Saturday, 18 August 2007

A Tale of Three Holidays

The end of a holiday almost always brings with it a certain wistfulness – a longing for the break from work to continue, of course, and the sadness of good times come to an end. One of the pleasures of holidaying in Frinton is that such feelings rarely pop into mind as you pack your valise to return home.

This year (entirely as predicted) Mrs Blunt and I spent innumerable hours sitting beside each other in our deckchairs, me with my copy of War & Peace, her with her copy of the Racing Post, with barely a word exchanged between us. Wally Green once told me, in a rare period of candour, that the sign of a good relationship between a man and a woman was the ability to endure the interminable silences. Alas, my patience with the silence has come to an end. My first step on Monday will be to instruct a solicitor to prepare my petition for divorce from Mrs Blunt. I know there are many who will be saddened by this news – and it’s not that I don’t appreciate their concern and advice.

I have always, to a degree, been able to put up with the drinking, the gambling and the smoking of foul-smelling cigars. We’ve raised three lovely children who each, in their own way, are talented and creative individuals. But, as I watched Mrs Blunt take to the microphone to perform yet another drunken rendition of “Me And My Sha-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-dow”, I knew it was time I moved on. In fact, that night I determined to cut the holiday short, pleading the need to visit our daughter, Barbara, to help her harvest her bumper crop of lettuce in her allotment.

And so it was, I found myself deserting Frinton, and travelling up the A1 to County Durham. Mrs Blunt seemed happy to stay on, saying she didn’t want to miss out on the ‘lovely kippers’ that the hotel served up for breakfast every morning.

When I arrived at Barbara’s, she was surprised at my decision - but supportive, nonetheless. I hadn’t realised her brother Jasper had also been roped in to help with the harvest, too, and was staying with her a few days after his own holiday in the South of France. Before we set to on the allotment, I suggested we have a few hours on the nearest beach, which happened to be Seaton Carew. Barbara is a frequent visitor there, as it’s just a tad over 10 miles from where she lives.

It’s an interesting place – a little run down, but it’s had a few million Euros invested courtesy of Brussels over the last few years, so it does at least now have a presentable prom. The vast expanse of sand is clean, even if the distant views of the North Yorkshire coast is partly obscured by the chemical works on the Tees estuary.

For Jasper, the contrast between his recent holiday and the north east of England was too much, at first.
“Pa,” he said (with a scowl on his face), “it’s hardly Juan Les Pins.” But, by the time he’d gone for a dip in the North Sea, he had changed his view. The sea, he said, was cleaner than the Med, and he reflected on the thin strip of shingle and pebbles that forms the beach where he’d been staying, and realised that, at the end of the day, you couldn’t beat a good, ‘proper’, sandy English beach.

“Of course, the eye candy’s a bit better down there,” he said, somewhat ruefully, as he tucked into his Mr Whippy.

As we sat on our deckchairs watching the youngsters build sandcastles, we debated the issue further. Barbara felt you couldn’t beat a decent English beach. Jasper thought that was true, but you couldn’t rely on the weather. The consensus was that global warming, once it had settled down a bit, might help.

My own view – jaded by years of holidays at Frinton – was that we needed to develop our coastal resorts a little more. Our tastes, as a nation, have become more sophisticated. With a little imagination, Hartlepool Borough Council (the custodians of Seaton Carew) might even think of installing a few barbecues, or setting up a continental market along the promenade to attract people to the area. A few restaurants serving up something other than fish and chips, and they would have cracked it.

I’ve still to hear how Thomas Hamburger has fared in his cottage in Scotland. You can get some good weather up on the West coast there at this time of year. I hope it hasn’t distracted him too much from penning the final chapters of Harry McFry.

8 comments:

Shinade said...

Welcome Back---I have missed you so...I was getting worried!!!XX'S~jackie

nursemyra said...

wishing you all the best in cutting old ties.

vietnam has the best beaches, followed closely by australia :-)

the domestic minx said...

Oh dear, it seems the drinking, the gambling and the smoking of foul-smelling cigars has finally taken it's toll.
Divorce. Oh my...

Bill Blunt said...

Yes, I'm afraid I have paid those toll fees for too long, DM.

And thanks for your wishes, shinade and nursemyra.

Julian Syngen-Smythe said...

I blame War and Peace, myself.

- Julian.

Daddy Papersurfer said...

Well well - gosh - ummmm.......

Crofty said...

I can't say I'm not dissapointed Bill; but every cloud etc. - your descriptions of Mrs B must have fuelled the ardour of many a man and now you are doing the decent thing by releasing her into the world of singledom.

If I weren't happily married myself...

Sugar Queens Dream said...

Welcome back you delicious man you ! I trust all went well on the little smooze....
Peace!