{01/12/2012}   Evenings without a TV

I have a TV but don’t that often watch it for something specific, other than on for the news in the mornings, but staying with my friend in London at the moment there is no TV.  Well, there was one but now it’s all fancy digital, it doesn’t work!  So I’ve spent the last two weeks without any TV.  I didn’t have a TV of my own for years and it doesn’t bother me not having a TV, not least because they take over a living room and any likelihood of conversation.  These two weeks have been fine, but I realise that I haven’t seen or heard any news.  I don’t often read a paper or look at online news but I do listen to the morning TV news and I like it.  But as for the evenings, it’s quite refreshing being TV-less.

When I’ve been home, we’ve sat and chatted, taken longer over dinner and sat at the table to eat, we’ve read and/or emailed and there’s been no TV noise.  Nice.  But I do annoy myself that every now and then I think how nice it would be to sit in front of the telly like a zombie and watch mindless drivel.  Sometimes escapism in the form of rubbish telly is just what you fancy.  Ideally with, in my case, a lap tray and dinner.

I can stay up far too late sometimes absorbed in rubbish TV and it’s very unsatisfying.  I rarely switch on the TV to watch something specific, though I was obsessed with the first series of Homeland (almost completely lost interest in series two, and indeed have missed the last three episodes) and quite enjoyed the telly being turned on for 9pm on a Sunday night.

I know there are some people who watch hours and hours of TV.  I don’t get it because I think so much of it isn’t properly absorbed, it just seems like a way of killing time and I spend far too much time complaining I don’t have enough time to then waste hours staring numbly at a screen.  I went through a few phases of playing Scrabble of an evening, which sounds strangely middle class c1985.  It felt almost like a luxury to be doing an activity like that of an evening.  The more I think about it, the more I think how easy and wasteful it can be to watch TV for the sake of sitting down and convincing yourself you’re actually doing something, when in reality the odds are high you’re watching drivel, often interspersed with dreadful adverts which are both noisy and intrusive.

Also, with the advent of digital TV stations and 24-hour TV, there needs to be more repeats and cheaply made programmes (don’t start me off on reality TV … again!) to keep the stations going .  But, really, I wish I could turn a TV on and find choices of decent, well-made programmes, then I wouldn’t mind so much turning the TV on in the evening and watching a few programmes just for the sake of watching a bit of television.

As for my return to life with a telly, I may intend to fully appreciate the quietness of the evenings, maybe enjoy some music and chatting and, well, just appreciate that there is life without TV, but I know with certainty it will be on at some point every day!


Why do I have complainer’s guilt?  If you get bad service, particularly for something you are paying for, you have every right to complain when it’s not up to scratch.  So why on earth do some complaints make me feel guilty or that I’ve been unfair?

I wonder if it’s a bit of a British cultural thing whereby we don’t like to upset people.  But the reality is that if you’re complaining about something, you’re upset so shouldn’t feel bad about making someone else upset.  And so it goes round and round!

Last week, two friends tried to go into a café at lunch time.  Bizarrely, the doorway had two chairs across it, yet there were a few people eating/drinking inside and one of the owners was behind the counter.  So one of them asked if they were open, to which he was given a curt “No” before carrying on with whatever he was doing.  Both friends were fairly regular customers of this café and should have been recognised by the owner.  The friend who had spoken wrote a complaint on their Facebook page and a scathing review about their customer service on Trip Advisor.  Bear in mind that there have been customer service issues before, though never that extreme.  So far so good and reasonable, right?

They then responded on Facebook and asked for him to go in so they could address the comments.  Then I started to feel bad because someone else had seen the Facebook comment and posted that they didn’t like poor customer service so wouldn’t be going there.  But the comments weren’t unreasonable and they did reflect how he felt at that time.  I have no idea how they will address it, if indeed such an exchange occurs.  But I was surprised by how bad I felt that there were negative comments up there that they obviously wanted to address.  Silly really because the owner had an opportunity to be polite at the time, he just needed to have explained why it was closed despite being open, it wouldn’t have taken much, however bad a day he may have been having.  Or he could have put a notice on the chairs explaining why the café was unexpectedly closed at lunch time.  Customers don’t want to go places where there is a chance they will not be treated decently or with respect and simple courtesy.

Poor service has stopped me going to a lot of places.  Nowadays, it’s easy to write or read reviews, and perhaps we take them too seriously.  But if I’d read about that café having poor service, I wouldn’t have wanted to go there if I’d never been before.  Is that fair?  Should we not make our own minds up?  Or should we quietly seethe, only venting to our friends about shoddy customer service?  How should owners respond to complaints or criticism?  It’s true that we remember the negative more than the positive.  But in terms of his writing negative comments, he was perfectly justified.  I’m not sure that their, come in and we’ll talk about it, type of response was ideal, but the public nature of reviews nowadays makes it uncharted territory to an extent.  I have no idea how they will address the issue, given the chance, but customers can and should be particular about where they spend their money.  And I shouldn’t feel bad that someone sounds upset about negative comments when it was their rude behaviour that triggered the complaint in the first place.

{21/07/2012}   Causing offence

I, like most people, do not want to offend anyone, unwittingly or deliberately, but over recent years I have felt paranoid about saying and doing all manner of things in case it’s seen as offensive.  I know of someone who complained that the way a white colleague mauled and severed the head of a black jelly baby was racial harassment as the black colleague who saw it felt it was directed at him.

I have recently encountered the world of employment tribunals where issues on a scale I was largely oblivious to come to light.  There were things said that made me cringe but which were not made into issues and other things said that I didn’t think were offensive, yet clearly could upset and offend some people.

Is it a good thing that a lot of us are made to be more careful about what or how we say things?  If you see television programmes from, say, the ‘60s, there are a lot of inappropriate/offensive/ignorant comments or “humour”.  It’s great that we don’t have to endure as many racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, TV programmes, for example, but things do seem a bit sterile now.  In the years of heavy film censorship, it was risqué to show crashing waves in the context of a couple as this signified sex.  Nowadays, you’d just see people having sex, albeit with a packet of condoms on display by the bed, brand visible or concealed depending on the advertisers.  The weird thing is that it feels like those subtleties are the things that nowadays aren’t allowed, or rather have to be politically correct.

The thing I love about “Little Britain” is that it mocks our fear of saying or doing anything that could be offensive or politically incorrect by emphasising it.  Part of the humour of that series is that I think we all know people like that and no matter how much you sterilise television, literature, etc, there will always be people like the Little Britain characters.  Is it not better, more positive, to pity and mock them than to be offended by them?  Maybe, maybe not.

Unsurprisingly I am drifting in and out of potential points.  I think it is good that we are more aware of how we can cause offence, but I think it is a great shame that it has, I think, got to the stage where so many things we say or do can be perceived as being offensive.  Here is a scenario I borrowed from a friend, make of it what you will:

My friend, with limited time, was at work doing the hair and make-up of an actress.  They were both trying to get the actress ready in time and it was a bit tense but they were having a giggle about it.  The actress was in communication through an earpiece with, let’s say a producer but I can’t remember that detail.  The actress was black, the make-up artist white and the producer white.  The actress laughed and said that she was all arms everywhere.  The make-up artist concurred and said the actress was like an octopus, all hands and feet trying to get everything done.  They both giggled.  Then the make-up artist went quiet as she heard the actress exclaim that that wasn’t the case at all.  It transpired that the producer had heard their conversation and was asking the actress if she was offended by such a racist comment and that the producer was offended for her.

I have always thought I would find it easy to dismiss potential dates if I went speed dating, for I very much either immediately take to people or I don’t.  Earlier this week I encountered someone I knew instantly would annoy me immensely.  I have been wrong about people before, but there are some people you just know will annoy you for the duration of time spent in their presence, and that person is always going to annoy me.

There are some people on TV I can’t abide watching.  Chris Tarrant is one such person, though I have never watched him long enough to work out what it is that bugs me about him.  At least with television you can just turn them off.  My world would be a much more pleasant place if I could reach out and switch certain people off.  These may be the signs of an intolerant person but I feel that as there is so much mindless drivel on the TV I am less inclined to tolerate nonsense in my out-and-about life as well.  Yes, yes, it’s all very Victor Meldrew again!

I was just thinking about what in particular irritates me and I was suddenly awash with things, fuelling my growing concern I am perhaps too intolerant.  Thinking of recent encounters, epic faffing and dithering when I am not also faffing and dithering is a cause for irritation.  Snobbery and smugness are attitudes I have no patience for and a lack of common sense and awareness of other people’s needs and interests is a major no-no.

The person who got me thinking about all this is delusional and an unrealistic perfectionist, with standards imposed on others that are unreasonable and ridiculous.  But of course, this person is never wrong.  I feel I have dealt with this person in the only way possible, which is that I have politely addressed all their issues and have repeated a calming mantra along the lines that “I am not alone”, for I have seen many eyes rolled and exasperated sighs released.  I shall rise about it, safe in the knowledge our paths have merely crossed.

I believe that as a general rule I can, on at least a small talk level, get on with most people and that there is always something you can think of to talk to people about, even if only about the weather.  But I find myself thinking annoyed thoughts about so many people I encounter and it makes me feel a bit two-faced, though what does that matter if they are people you will probably never encounter again?  It just makes me feel a bit judgmental.  But I guess it’s better to make an effort to be polite than it is to dismiss and ignore people you have no interest in talking to.  Yikes, does that sound really bad or just a teensy weensy bit bad?!  Mind you, I know with certainty that at least some people I encounter feel the same way about me, smiling nicely and making polite conversation!

I was at a house party once and realised neither I nor the bloke next to me were talking to anyone, or appeared to know more than one other person, so I made some pithy comment (ahem!) and conversation started.  Actually, no, it was more like my introductory hello were a key that unlocked a torrent of monologue about that person, how fantastic he was, how you couldn’t possibly have experienced what he had (patronising upstart) so he would explain blatantly obvious things.  I don’t think I have ever endured such tedium for so long; even interrupting to say how hungry I was resulted in his continuing his dull, patronising monotony while he trotted along next to me as I tried to escape to the food area.  What arrogance.  To top it off, he kept winking at me.  I think he was either totally in love with himself so could only assume everyone else was too, or he had a nervous twitch.  All very unsettling either way.

In conclusion, it has been well and truly established that, while I have patience and can appear to be interested and nice, I am actually intolerant and that most members of the general public annoy me.  There, I’ve said it!  Which makes me appreciate and love my friends even more, for they prove I can have nice, normal, interested and interesting exchanges with people and that there are lovely people out there who make niceness rewarding!

{28/06/2012}   Favourite old TV adverts

As a child I loved TV adverts, probably because there were only two channels of them in those days!  Now I hate them and usually turn the sound down when they’re playing.  I saw a few old adverts being played at the British Design exhibition at the V&A recently and since then I intermittently think about old adverts I used to love and which I can actually remember, at least in part.

I’ve mentioned it before but the Levi’s advert, the one with a rather strapping, young Nick Kamen dressing down to his perfectly white boxer shorts while at a launderette under the excited surveillance of women waiting for their washes, to the sounds of “I heard it through the grapevine”.  Eye candy and a great soundtrack.

Was it Carling who did the advert with the squirrel doing the tightrope run?  Of course it was, for the whole advert was this squirrel doing a tightrope sort of obstacle course (again, I recall some good music) and at the end finally comes the brand: I bet he drinks Carling Black Label.  Fantastic squirrel performance.

I remember the Tango adverts too, not that I particularly liked them; I just liked the concept of a big orange person slapping your cheeks and declaring you’ve been tangoed!  Did they slap people’s cheeks?  (Refer to yesterday’s blog on my waning memory!)

The Flake advert with the woman eating a crumbly Flake in the bath was also of interest to me because I was always amazed how her steaming bath wouldn’t have melted the chocolate and, as it is the “crumbliest, flakiest chocolate”, I don’t know how she didn’t make anywhere near as much mess as I always made while eating a Flake!

The Milk Tray man.  My kind of man, prepared to do daredevil stunts, dressed in a tuxedo, all in the name of making sure the lady gets her chocolate fix.  Memorable for manliness display.

Oh, the Nescafe Gold Blend adverts, the ongoing saga of the neighbours who clearly wanted to jump each other.  I liked that the adverts ended with suspense and you wanted the next installment.  Did they ever get together?  I like to think they did.

T-Mobile.  Ok, so not an old advert, but I really, really enjoyed the one that was filmed at Liverpool Street station where all the dancers were mingling amidst the late morning travelers but broke out into choreographed dance when music blared from the speakers.  I think it was a genius idea and it was fun to watch, spotting different people’s reactions.

With the exception of the Levi’s advert and the T-Mobile advert, the rest are all food and drink.  Is that interesting or just coincidence?  Probably coincidence and by virtue of the fact I am interested in food and drink so maybe pay more attention to such adverts!

I have drawn a blank as to other adverts.  I know there are more.  I am picturing snippets from an Old Spice advert: waves crashing and that amazing classical music – I can hum it but no idea for present purposes what it’s called.  I also remember the Hovis advert of the little boy delivering bread up a steep cobbled road.  You shared his excitement as he finished his bread round and cycled joyously back down the road.  Ooo, remember Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the Congo?  I suspect that would come under the guillotine in today’s society, if only because Um Bongo might not have been available for sale in the “Democratic Republic of the Congo”!

Ah, I’ve gone all misty eyed.  I also know that I have missed some absolute corkers.  I might have a YouTube search this evening.

               We all talk about the weather in the UK.  I would say we complain about it more than we revel in it.  It’s easy conversation if you’re trying to fill a potentially uncomfortable silence, it’s an ice breaker and, most importantly I imagine, it’s something we can all have an opinion on and that we’ve experienced.

                To my horror, in court the other day one side’s counsel, complaining about the conduct of the other side’s witness, announced that the witness had also been “speaking to the transcribers”, which he deemed to be inappropriate.  I felt myself redden and squirm.  Fortunately the judge said she saw nothing wrong with that.  However, wary that any conversations we’d had with the witness would have been recorded, I rapidly thought about what we’d discussed: spellings and, you’ve guessed it, the weather and how hot it was in the court room (despite the frosty atmosphere between the two sides!).  The weather is, or should be, an inoffensive, uncontroversial thing to talk about and in that scenario it saved us sitting in the non-sitting court room in complete uncomfortable silence.

However, of late I feel that the weather has been over-used as a topic of conversation.  It’s been so bad and changeable over the past few months that I have even been in regular, lengthy conversations about it, even down to recalling things like, “Ooo, I remember this time two years ago smearing myself with yogurt, I got that sunburnt”.  While it is good to have a bit of a rant, discussing the weather in such detail will do nothing about it other than make you feel ever more sorry for yourself.

One of the good things about having all this wind, rain, chilliness, etc, is that on the few days it’s been sunny of late, there has been a veritable spring in everyone’s step and lots of cheery Facebook statuses along the lines of, “Wow, I’d forgotten how lovely the sun feels”.  The novelty of sunshine.  In summer.

When someone gets back from holiday, what are the questions you’re most likely to ask?  I reckon the weather is definitely in the top three.  Why on earth are we so utterly obsessed with it, other than as a conversation starter or ice breaker?  I do find it kind of interesting.  It being changeable is a feature of the UK.  On the few occasions it happens that you walk between rain and no rain, I find that amazing.  Or that there will be a thunder storm where I am but hot sun where the person I’m on the phone to is sitting.  It’s uncontrollable, unpredictable and of consideration to what we wear every day.

I moved to Japan in late winter.  Everyone there warned me that one day – I reiterate “one day” – it would become summer.  From that day until the day you left your house when it became winter, it would be hot, day and night.  There would be rain.  But it would be hot.  One day, I remember opening the door of our flat and being hit by a wall of heat.  And there it was, summer had begun.  It was horrible, a big sweaty horribleness to me, but at least you knew where you were:  cool clothing, ideally that would cope with the sweat, for outdoors and wintery cardigans for indoors because of the icy air conditioning being pumped out of every possible indoor space, public transport to shops.  But little variety in conversation, “Blimey, isn’t it hot”, or “Wow, we really needed that rain, didn’t we?”

Maybe, in fact probably, the weather really is part of the culture and character of our island nation and our cultural identity.  It’s going to be unpredictable because we are an island, in fact quite a few islands, and maybe having a common interest amidst such a diverse population is something to be celebrated.  After all, when there are floods and other dramatic and devastating weather activities, people always seem to be united, with stories of rescues and people pulling together.

{01/06/2012}   Eating food on trains

One of the many things that shocked me about returning to the UK after two and a half years living in Japan was how much food is consumed on trains and how smelly and intrusive it is.  In Japan it just isn’t done, and on a few occasions when I tried surreptitiously to nibble something, I felt guilty, naughty even.  I don’t feel naughty eating on trains in the UK, but I would rather not do it as it adds to the all-round train aroma resulting from being trapped in a carriage, usually without opening windows, with a whole load of strangers with all their whiffs and pongs!

In dire need of sustenance a few months ago, I resorted to eating my egg sandwiches on the train.  I felt ostracised, probably rightly so, for the smell seemed like one great big almighty fart.  Egg or fish sandwiches are probably the most offensive and should be banned, but a McDonald’s meal or a hot pasty is also overpowering.  I have got the vomit comet home before.  I am not a post-booze eater, though I do get why people want to eat after a drinking session.  It’s just that on a train, with no escape, smelling such strong food mixed with the inevitable sweat and booze stench makes me feel a touch queasy.  I also don’t appreciate food remnants on the seats and floor.  Listen to me, I shouldn’t be allowed onto a public forum like a blog, it brings out the moaner in me; something I would (should) otherwise keep restrained!

I am writing this and hearing my Victor Meldrew gearing up for full rant mode.  If I were in charge of trains (I know this applies to all public transport, it’s just that I get more trains than any other mode of transport), I would have a food-free carriage in addition to the quiet carriage.  There would then be a dining carriage in which you could eat your lunch, whether purchased on the train or brought yourself.  The only issue, as ever, is the security issues of leaving your bags and seat unattended.  Maybe I could ban fast food outlets at train stations?  Maybe that would make me hugely unpopular?  Oh, and the other night, I bought a Leon’s superfood salad (I did go for a less smelly option, ruling out the salmon) on my way to a dinner time train.  I had to eat it on the train.  Hmmm, I am seeing flaws to my ban-fast-food-outlets-near-stations proposition too, there are times when you can only really eat at a decent time by eating on the train!

Maybe I should just stop moaning and eat my egg sandwiches oblivious to how stinky and unsociable it is.  Maybe having a public rant about it is enough to keep me quiet for a few more smelly train journeys!  I wonder perhaps also if our varying standards are what make we Brits, for example, a diverse, relatively unpredictable population; more independent and less rule-bound than, say, the Japanese.  There, not so ranty after all, there’s hope for me yet.

Like so many others, I was glued to the TV for my annual dose of dreadful music, infuriating voting politics and whacky outfits.  What’s not to love about Eurovision?  And for those I saw on Facebook announcing they were poised to turn over, it being that awful, I bet you at least watched all the singing!

Last night I watched it with two friends.  It is impossible to watch without participating so it was a night of shouting at the TV, gazing in open-mouthed wonder and feeling slightly naughty for laughing at Graham Norton’s at times marginally un-PC commentary (I think he’s done a good job of filling Sir Terry’s popular shoes).

Possibly the most memorable entry for me from the 2012 Eurovision final was Turkey and the bat pirates.  I loved (an open-mouthed moment) the boat with the straining body of the figure head emerging from the rubbery bat wings.  Priceless.  I was in another room for one of the early entries, possibly Albania, but I could hear wailing; that was awful.  The Hump put on a good performance, but it was a pretty awful song and it was missing two key elements, of which at least one must be in abundance: novelty (think Russia) and a tight, revealing outfit adorning a lovely.  This is where the likes of Cyprus gained extra points, enhanced by a wind machine.

My favourite was Germany (no novelty and no crotch enhancing attire, hence they didn’t do well), though in part that was because I had a small crush on Roman Lob, who it transpires is a mere 21 years old.  I had a few issues with treacherous Jamie Cullum having played a part in writing the song though, where are his loyalties?!

I also rather liked Moldova’s entry.  I am totally in love with the lampshade dresses of the dancing girls (one of the turquoise ones in particular) and their legs-dipped-in-gold tights.  And then they lay on the floor and kicked their legs about, merrily flashing their pants, shortly followed by belly rocking between the legs of the singer.  Truly, I thought that was an excellent entry.  What was with the MC Hammer blacksmith look though?!

As for Jedward, well, you did Ireland proud.  Sort of.  They are two of the bounciest, sweetest people, but, seriously, get over the jumping chest-to-chest thing!  Suitable costumes and hair for Eurovision, I felt.

Oh, it’s so much fun writing about this because it makes me think about it and I have iPlayer open as well so I can refresh my memory.  I suppose I should mention Sweden.  I think she did well because she wasn’t scantily clad (I was fully expecting her excess clothes to be ripped off at some point but, no, it was a serious performance).  It was a proper dance track, though as soon as I heard it I thought it was something else.  However, it was a decent entry and was one of a few that had credibility as a winning song.

But why, oh, why, do I, does anyone, watch Eurovision?!  The votes are beyond infuriating, the people who announce the votes for their respective country usually embarrass themselves and it goes on for far too long.  Yet still I blinking well watch it!  And another thing, did anyone else notice that a lot of the performers looked similar?  I was sure that some were singing for two countries.  And lips, did you notice a lot of large, pale lips?  Oh, I’m about to get into full flow but I’m going to leave it there.  Hurrah for Eurovision and a whole evening’s entertainment!

{09/05/2012}   Passports

I found my previous passport, it’s full of stamps and memories of a more exciting ten years than those visible up to year eight of my current passport. I think this sums up how I think of my 20s: travel and adventure.
I love the idea of a passport as a travel record. It pains me that you no longer get stamps for EU countries, then my current passport would seem far more exciting and I wouldn’t feel so rug bound and lacking excitement. When an Australian friend and I drove around parts of Poland, Germany, France and Czech Republic, she got stamps galore, I just had a memory of the excitement of border crossings. I know it’s a bit silly to want a mere stamp in a little book, but I have never stopped finding border crossings thrilling. Merely crossing from one country to another (and, no, airports don’t count and neither does the “You are leaving the UK – Bienvenue en France” type signs around the Eurotunnel entrance) is something momentous, an occasion of the utmost excitement … to be marked by a stamp of confirmation. Such stamps also allow you to say really tossy things to friends while you’re standing in airport queues, such as, *flicking through your stamp-ridden passport*, “Gosh, I don’t know if there are any free spaces for a stamp … oh, look at that *stop flicking*, I forget [yeah, right] how bizarre the stamp for North Korea is”. Most annoying.
By virtue of being eligible to have a passport and it being straightforward to get one, I feel I have a duty to use it. It’s a bit like voting in that, as a woman, generations before me risked their lives to allow the likes of me a right to vote. So I vote and appreciate the fact it’s easy for me to vote and that women fought extremely hard to make that the case.
On the rare occasions when I am not in possession of my passport (usually for passport renewal or visa application), I feel a great sense of loss and I am conscious that a freedom has been taken away from me. I remember sending my passport away a few years ago and actually holding on to the envelope for as long as possible before finally dropping it into the letter box. I then felt panicky and reassured myself that if in the next few hours I felt a need for my passport to be returned, I could meet the postman when he emptied the letter box. Really quite pathetic, I know. Then about two days later I had to turn down work in Paris (it would have been a horrid job that I probably wouldn’t even have done, but that so wasn’t the point).
My passport expires in about two years. Writing this has made me think that I could combine the end of my 30s with the filling of my passport and the broadening of my geography knowledge; it appears to be all about the collection of stamps but really it’s more about having adventures and convincing myself I am as exciting as I rose-tint myself as having been during my previous decade! Then my 40s can be spent fretting about my carbon footprint!

{05/05/2012}   Bank Holiday Weekends

Raining?  Check.  So there you have it, simple, it must be a bank holiday weekend, woo hoo!  I am soon to be kayaking (second lesson, this time most likely in the rain) and this afternoon a friend is coming to stay through to Monday.  She will be getting the train from Brighton, which somehow manages to take about 2 and 3/4 hours, so I feel there should be some excitement to the day to make the cross country train journey worthwhile.

Over the latter half of Easter a friend came to stay and the rain was so bad we hardly went out.  There was also the Easter Sunday confusion as to what if anything would be open.  This weekend, Sunday should be normal and Monday, at worst, should be like Sunday in terms of opening times.  So what to do when it’s raining?  You’d think we would all have bright suggestions for rainy bank holidays because there are so many of them, but when it rains it seems I have in mind outdoor activities.

Shopping.  We could go shopping, but that never strikes me as a great activity unless you’re on holiday.  Museums/galleries etc.  This part of Kent is not South Kensington, though I am sure there are some.  But they will only be open on Saturday and would most likely be busy.  Zoo.  There are two zoos near here but they are very much outdoorsy places and any animal in its right mind, especially considering few come from rainy climates (or at least hot when there is rain).  There are lots of National Trust/English Heritage places, but dreary weather stops me appreciating such places as it brings back memories of being a child feeling that I was being dragged around historic buildings etc on rainy days.  It must have been a parental weather plan b.  It’s not exactly warm so a bbq or picnic under the wee-filled arches by the sandy beach probably isn’t a fantastic proposition.  There is cake and tea that can be sought out, but that’s hardly an all day activity that you would travel almost three hours for.  See, now I’m struggling!

Indoorsy things.  We could play Scrabble but right now that seems too serious.  We could drink tea, bake things, eat things and lounge about.  Hmm, that doesn’t seem too dreadful and idea but, again, worth travelling for?!  There is always the cinema, and there is a lovely independent one in Folkestone, but she’s visiting so we can chat, so watching films doesn’t seem right, but that could be an option.  I wonder what’s on, think back a few months!

And there endeth my current thoughts on bank holiday fun!  I suppose sometimes – “usually” of late – you just need to embrace the rain and time indoors, perhaps venturing out merely for supplies.  Who knows what we will end up doing and maybe I should just appreciate the fact we have two days of good quality catch-up time and accept that this is how it swings with bank holidays: rain, tea and cake!  See, I feel positive and enthusiastic about the bank holiday weekend already!  So come on rain, do your worst, we will overcome and have a memorable and enjoyable long weekend in true British weather style.  Ooo, now there’s a thought: a picnic in the car overlooking the sea, complete with steamy windows from a flask of coffee!  Oh yeah!

et cetera