When the town or city dwellers in the summer months simply cannot face the thought or prospect of another day in the rat race they enter the race to speed as quickly as possible to queue to come to the West Country.
Around our little village of Ipplepen we have a number of caravan/camping/motorhome sites which at this time of year start to gear up for those who feel the need and impulse to venture away from their couches and television sets and face hours trapped in traffic queues en-route to Devon.
As is the British way the visitors uncomplainingly sit for hours in traffic jams with the parents becoming increasingly frazzled as the temperature outside and inside the vehicle rise incrementally as the kids become bored to the edge of exploding.
Oh! how we love the summer holidays and look forward to spending quality time with our immediate family.
The local councils in the nearby Torbay Riviera also see this as a boom time especially the increase in parking revenue and the “Park and Display” car parks that seem to have an almost hypnotic draw for visitors.
Though to be fair if the draw is the seaside then the draw of municipal parking is inevitable.
And to be even fairer to the visiting townies and city dwellers the wide open spaces of the Devon countryside may cause them a great deal of distress in spite of the fact they have come here to get away from the town or city.
Why is it that so many want to get away only for their courage and ambition to fail them at the last moment to the extent that they simply decamp from one town to another?
And inviting them to leave their precious cars is almost like asking them to be reborn tied as they are to them by some kind of mystical and invisable umbilical chord with not midwife around to cut it for them..
The only advice you can give them is to
“Keep breathing, keep breathing what you are experiencing is called fresh air”
As for the kids they are in an even worse predicament because believe it or not (and I should if I was you) there are numerous geographical spots in Devon where the precious signal is not available rendering the electronic world no more than very expensive paper weights.
The result is that come the summer we see hordes of young (and not so young) people sat around silently and sullenly trying to work out just who are these people we have travelled here with and are they around the rest of the year when I’m at home?
But still (like the Martians in Jeff Wayne’s classic War of the World’s) they come.
They come because in South Devon they can wonder at the beauty of the countryside, experience the wonder and stress of travelling down ancient lanes bordered on each side by high hedgerows and ancient dry stone walls, and see the Torbay tourist attractions without leaving or at least straying to far away from their previous cars.
What they can also settle back in satisfaction with at the end of each day and their holiday is the knowledge that judging by how much it has cost them they simply must have had a good time.
Tourism in Devon is a big, and when I say big I mean big (or as the President of the USA would say ‘Bigly’) thing so equating having a very good time with spending as much as you have (if not all of it and more) is something the tourism officers are only too happy to foster as being a basic fact of life.
The new tourism slogan should be “”..
“You get what you pay for, so pay more and have more fun”
What the tourism people aren’t to keen on are those killjoys who don’t spend a lot of money…. Namely – Bloody Walkers/Hikers/Ramblers.
Damn their selfish hides.
They turn up without any thought for the tourism industry in their ‘environmentally friendly’ vehicles (or even on bicycles) and show their self-reliance and independence by having a rucksack that appears to be able to hold the contents of the Mary Poppins carpet bag.
Talk about being prepared they arrive complete with foul weather gear to protect them against the wind, spare socks, flasks of tepid tea and pre-packed sandwiches who are very soon after arriving seen disappearing over the horizon much to the consternation of those who would like to see them stick around and spend some money and very much to the amazement of others who refuse to venture anywhere on foot that is more than a two minute walk away.
Their attitude being –
“Bloody hell fire isn’t that what the internal combustion engine was designed for”?
Of course there are three types of ‘ramblers’ the first being those who wander along the well established and signposted trails, the second being those who walk off the well signposted trails but who have taken the precaution of knowing how to read a map and compass… and the third type!!!!
are those who wander aimlessly (usually in shorts and flip-flops) and before they know it are hopelessly lost in the countryside annoying the farmers or even worse requiring rescuing from the Devon Moors and whose only knowledge of reading maps is either SatNav or Google Maps.
The last type of walker are clearly part of the ever growing “bloody idiots tribe” and should be treated accordingly which means encouraging them to return to the town or city as soon as possible.
When the mist (as it does very often) suddenly descends on Dartmoor or Exmoor Devon suddenly becomes a place that is not so inviting and it is also the time when for the inexperienced walker panic starts to set in.
The hills and scenery that looked so inviting when viewed from the confines of a car window miraculously and suddenly become very (and I mean) very oppressive.
What started with a “pull over this is beautiful lets go for a walk” doesn’t seem such a good idea when faced with not being able to see further than the end of your nose and facing a wind that seems to be screaming in your ears,
“Go Back, Return to Safety …… IF YOU CAN FIND YOUR WAY”
I suppose the only thing they don’t do in such circumstances is write a last note to their loved ones telling them how dangerous a place Devon is and that they love them very much.
Which of course is where the ‘electronic loving geek’ comes in with their super deluxe mobile device that does everything suddenly at the point where they are going to give up in despair says,
“would this be of any use?????”
How the rest of the group don’t kill and bury them on the spot is a matter for conjecture and wonder.
And so the rescue is completed and for years afterwards the tales of the emergency and the danger they were in are developed, enhanced and exaggerated until the story tellers themselves start to believe in their own mythological fables.
The greatest holiday of all time, don’t you just love the summer in Devon?