Holidays. Strange concept. You work and you work to pay for your four walls, your little piece of Eden.
You fall asleep dreaming of a life made complete by a cupboard specifically for your vacuum cleaner - I know, some women dream of shoe storage rather than vac storage but they are... there is no other way to say it: younger
You fantasise about more electric sockets, about an extra fridge, about that lovely lamp you spotted in B&Q while shopping for WD40.
You devote a huge part of your life to acquiring things - and then you start to dream of leaving them all behind. For whole weeks of the year you want to abandon your comfy nest, where there is a place for everything and everything in its place - some of the time - and experience life as a stranger in a foreign land.
And it’s an urge that’s got more urgent. From tentative beginnings the holiday industry has become massive, with we Brits. Not every nation likes to leave its own shores far behind, but we do.
Come summer, the French like to decamp to their little place in the country. Their country. Not us. We are like Vikings, marauding our way across the globe. Not exactly wearing a horned helmet - they’re a myth anyway - but with, you know, a horned-helmet attitude. We’re a bit gung-ho on our hols.
It’s a sign of increasing affluence, of course because, despite all feelings to the contrary, most of us have pretty decent lives. The days when a holiday meant catching the train to Brid as soon as the factory whistle signalled the annual shutdown are very far away.
We Leeds people headed for Brid and Scarborough. Those Lancashire foreigners made their way to Blackpool. Wherever you were, your fun was set to a strict timetable dictated by your boarding house landlady.
The meals were when she said, the doors were locked when she said. The food was as decided by her, unless you took your own box of provisions.
I have sympathy for the seaside landlady. It can’t be easy work: all those meals, all those beds, I wouldn’t fancy it myself.
Then to thank her for her trouble, we all upped and went to Spain - and the travel agent became the heart of the holiday instead. You waited your turn, told them your preferred destination, your pathetic budget - and they decided whether you could get there or not. I have exited travel agents with a holiday in an entirely different country to the one first intended.
The climax of the package holiday was the all-inclusive. A bit like the landlady experience really, but much hotter. But we have tired of them. A survey reveals that only 15 per cent of us are intending to go all-inclusive this summer.
The rest of us have discovered holiday freedom. I blame the internet. We’re booking things online, looking for new experiences, preparing to bravely march in and sample local culture.
That’s in the places we are not too afraid to visit. As terrorism makes its ugly mark there are whole tracts of the world lots of us are too afraid to visit. Taken for granted holiday spots, like Egypt, now have a question mark over them.
So here’s what I think: the domestic holiday is going to make a blistering comeback. It won’t be the way it was. I can see a future for seaside donkeys but I think the seaside landladies have been quietly retired. But the popularity of the domestic destination will be bigger than ever this year, and for years to come.
I think the gentle appeal of a British bucket and spade holiday, or a calm wander around our many cultural highlights will win out over the drama and danger of all that constitutes abroad.
Really I do. After all, life can come full circle - television was meant to kill off both the radio and the cinema but, after a bit, we got bored with the box and went back to both of them.
In a hundred years our descendants will be holidaying in space but until then, there is Bridlington.
Selfie is fast losing its credibility... nope, it never readlly had it
I don’t like to sound old and grumpy.
I’m embracing of modern stuff. I think life is much better than it used to be. I love the idea of my youth in the 1970s but I wouldn’t go back there, not for a second. It was rubbish compared with now (David Bowie excepted).
But here’s the “but”.
It’s selfies. They’re just so pointless, aren’t they? Another hour, another picture of me. What will happen to all the selfies in the world? If they survive for those yet unborn to see, history - once made up of fascinating fragments, tiny glimpses into the unknown, will become both boring and overwhelming.
Worse, some selfies are just offensive, ill-considered and inappropriate.
I’m thinking of the man who posed, smiling, with a child in front of three dead sperm whales washed up on a Skegness beach at the weekend. It is thought they became disorientated in shallow waters. It was a sad, sad sight. Those huge, beautiful creatures, stranded, lifeless and beyond our help.
I’m not saying don’t look. Take a photograph if you must, it is after all a remarkable sight.
But don’t pose smiling in front of death. Have a heart. And a bit of respect. And don’t include a child who knows no better in your pathetic picture.
My consolation is that there have always been thoughtless people and ghoulish people. They have always existed. It’s just that, once, they didn’t have the technology to advertise their stupidity to the rest of the world.
Dolls are meant to be fake... not real
I grew up with a mother who was scared of dolls’ faces, so I have always had an eye for their darker qualities.
I had my childhood doll, Jackie - don’t sneer, that was an on-trend and interesting name at the time, but that was about it.
My own daughter wasn’t all that enthusiastic either, preferring to chop off their hair and wrench out their limbs.
No one I know has ever owned one of those hyper-realistic dolls, the ones that look like a real baby, and no-one I know has ever wanted to.
They have their fans, but I don’t understand the attraction. Mostly, they seem to be bought by sad women, defeated by an unfulfilled yearning for a real child.
They don’t always look like babies. A Russian artist makes dolls which, although tiny, have utterly realistic adult faces and they sell for undisclosed but large sums. And they are even more unsettling.
The only thing worse than a completely lifelike yet plastic baby face staring at you, would be a completely lifelike yet plastic adult face. I’m left wondering “why?”