Tuesday 12 August 2008

On August

August eh? What is it with August that so many people feel obliged to take holidays in this month of all months? Of course some (as I remember with a shudder) are obliged to - notably parents of school-age children. But the rest - what are they playing at?
In August, if you holiday in this country, you can be sure of overcrowding everywhere, rip-off prices, no peace and quiet - and, like as not, appalling weather. If it's not tipping down - the usual thing for an English August - it gets oppressively, hideously hot, then turns thundery and starts tipping it down again. Meanwhile, the nights are drawing in - not by much, I grant you, but the balmy days of sitting out late into the evening are pretty much gone by August. Then, if you go abroad, you can be sure of all of the first three horrors, plust intolerable heat and, most likely, deafening cicadas.
In my book, virtually any month is preferable to August - for a summer holiday, June and July are far better bets in all respects. August is for working through, in the hope of taking a later break in Indian Summer weather: perfect. Yet the cult of the August holiday trundles on. I guess its one benign effect is that politicians are also in thrall to it, so at least things go quiet on the domestic political front and we're not assailed with daily 'initiatives' and other bright ideas (though I was vaguely aware of some idiot floating the idea of a Bill of Rights the other day).
Meanwhile, the Russians, clearly sharing my disdain for August holidays, decide it's time for a spot of war and invading, while the holidaying world looks on aghast and powerless...


  1. You are quite right, Nige. August is the dying butt of summer. Yet it also seems to be vacation month for everyone in Europe. Paris should be half-shut down right now while people throng to Provence and the Alps.

    This summer in America has been unusual in that gas prices seem to really be affecting travel. Every other week, it seems, I see articles about "Staycations," and it's certainly true that the city is teeming with not only tourists but locals.

    We are going to the Caribbean next month for a little R&R. Way cheaper in Sept., although we may have a hurricane to contend with!

  2. It seems even the French are showing a tendency to stay at home this year Susan - apparently the great exodus from Paris was nothing like it normally is...

  3. August should be banned Nige, Melrose is a seething mass of tourists of every hue, aimlessly wandering around in the rain, moaning about prices, kids, weather and the surly locals who are fed up with their town being invaded by tourists wandering around in the rain etc, etc. The local plod is having trouble keeping up with reloading the Gatso's, August is their bumper crop. We have given instructions to yet another group of midge bitten, soaked, hard up and lost punters looking for the Eildons "you're on them mush" has become the default response, how can you lose Scotts view for goodness sake. We charge for responding in German, Italian, Spanish, Cockney, Brummie and Dutch.
    Susan, the best time to visit the alps is the first two week's in September, Weather still good, prices reasonable and even Chamonix is fairly quiet although I don't think it will match the Caribbean, Bob Marley pilgrimage?

  4. After a rain-soaked couple of weeks near Bordeaux last July, I booked us a 2-week holiday in Pembrokeshire this year, on the basis that a) it would be much, much cheaper and b)we couldn't possibly have that much rain two years running. We depart for Wales on Thursday....

  5. We own a time-share in St. Martin/Maarten, Malty. Direct flights there from Philly, which is extra nice. Place is gorgeous and we will do a lot of snorkeling, and I will windsurf (grew up in Florida and was on the sailing team at UF -- this was my sport), and we will eat and read and play Scrabble and stare into the middle distance.

    It will be divine except for one thing: The 14 year old boy will be back here and in school. He is supposed to spend every night with his best friend, but I can see mutiny there already. He feels quite able to be man of this house, thank you very much. An epic battle is coming and I'm not looking forward to it...On the other hand, I am also not looking forward to him burning down the house, which he could conceivably do.