May has seem no fewer than three Bank Holidays in the UK. In the next blog, we’ll feature the French alternatives but for now, and as I am in a nostalgic mood, here are ten reasons why life at the Chateau is better than a typical British Bank Holiday outing of the 1970s and 1980s –

  1. No journeys in a Hillman Avenger or Vauxhall Viva as the sun beats down on the vinyl upholstery.
  2. No dulcet sounds of a bottle of Corona cherryade exploding in the boot.
  3. No Greek Chorus of ‘are we nearly there yet’ from the rear seat.
  4. No cassette player eating Now That’s What I Call Music 3,  eating its way through most the works of Madness, The JoBoxers and Spandau Ballet with equal elan.
  5. No radio permanently jammed to Croydon FM, a station apparently devoted to the works of Dollar and Bucks Fizz.
  6. No traffic jams, sitting for two hours on the A276, fixedly staring at the taillights of a Morris Marina 1.8 Super.
  7. No  Great British Transport Cafes. Let us not be overly nostalgic. When they were good, they were very very good but when they were bad, they blended Hell Drivers and the biker gang scene in the George and Mildred film.
  8. No visits to local shops for local people en route. Their stock tended to consist of  bottles of warm Panda Pops, and copies of the  local newspaper with the headline ‘Colour Television – Is It A Form of Witchcraft?’  Meanwhile, regular customers would start  muttering that  ‘strangers’ had entered the premises.
  9. No motorway services with all of the welcome of a disused bus shelter.
  10. No overheating radiators, often accompanied by motorists uttering phrases not generally found in The Highway Code.

And would I swap an afternoon in the Chateau grounds for a return to those halcyon days? Clue – the answer is the English for ‘non!’.