The Yorkshire coast beckons this summer; Croatia can wait – Jayne Dowle
My words rang slightly hollow last week as I waved my 17-year-old son off to Blackpool, his first trip to the seaside without parental supervision.
Social distancing? How can I preach when Jack has been working in a supermarket all year, coming into regular contact with strangers?
And, to be honest, I was more worried about the fact that five lads were about to set off over the M62 in a VW Polo.
My absolute worst parental nightmare is a carful of young people travelling at speed. I’ve worked with Brake, the Huddersfield-based road safety charity. I’ve seen the spine-chilling videos it uses to educate youngsters.
“I’ll be fine, mum, stop worrying,” Jack said as he arranged his 6ft 3in frame in the back. He reminded me that the lad driving is in the Army, therefore duty-bound to stick to the rules of the road or face disciplinary action.
This comforted me (a bit). What about the rest of the rules though? We’ve all seen the footage of half a million people crowding onto Bournemouth beach in the heatwave. I didn’t want a call from the local constabulary informing me my big daft lad was in trouble for unwittingly breaching some law.
To be fair, given the three months of lockdown our teenagers have already endured and the long months stretching ahead before Jack can return to college in September, I can’t begrudge him any kind of fun.
Several of his friends have been laid off from their apprenticeships as surplus to requirements. I know the Government has much more pressing matters on its mind than fulfilling optimised life chances for teenagers, but Ministers do need to pay serious heed to the growing disconnection this generation feels.
Horizons have narrowed. Suddenly. And not just for the young. Since March, I haven’t been further than Sheffield Ikea. Our Easter break to Barcelona was cancelled and our August trip abroad now hangs in the balance.
I’m a great advocate of independent travel. However, I do resent some of the sniffier comments criticising British holidaymakers who feel entitled to their all-inclusive “two weeks in the sun”.
Personally, my idea of holiday hell would be a fortnight lying on a sunbed too stuffed to roll into the pool, but each to their own. And frankly, I’ll go anywhere. These days I get excited at the prospect of taking the dog for a long walk around the reservoir.
Growing up in Barnsley in the 1980s, I learned early on that travel always broadens the mind. Since they were old enough to pull their own cabin bags, I’ve been determined to show my children how to go under their own steam.
We’ve driven from Hollywood to San Diego in winter, explored France by train and spent last New Year in a guest house by the docks in Naples. It was a cheap last-minute thing booked on a fanciful whim but I will treasure the memories of this overseas trip. It may be our last one for a while.
This summer’s adventure – flying to Venice for two nights, taking a ferry to Pula in Croatia and then a week R&R by the beach in the seaside town of Fazana – is looking questionable, in all senses.
Our flight to Venice from Leeds Bradford was cancelled for Covid-related operational reasons last week.
I’m juggling alternatives, but the thought of airport restrictions, possibly flying in a face mask, getting locked down in a foreign country and the prospect of a 14-day quarantine on return is more than worrying.
The situation, as they say, is “fluid”. And frankly, for all the talk of air bridges and so on, I don’t trust the Government to come up with a coherent and reassuring plan for overseas travel this year.
Still, in these taxing times, we all need a break. As soon as the Prime Minister announced holiday parks could open again, I seized the moment and secured a long weekend in a caravan at Thornwick Bay.
We love it here so much. We cancelled a planned summer trip to Cornwall last year and spent a wonderful week exploring Bempton Cliffs, Cayton Bay, Scarborough, Hornsea and Withernsea instead.
Yorkshire has so much to offer, even to hoary old travellers like me. And with the future of tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire uncertain, I feel proud to be doing my own little bit.
I can still dream of overseas adventures, but there’s nothing more uplifting for the soul than the sight of Flamborough Lighthouse.
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