In Cornwall, on each and every Saturday throughout the holiday season, at 10 am precisely, the CLOSED sign rules with the effectiveness of a military curfew and remains operative for the next four or five hours.
Recalcitrant occupants of hotel rooms or self-catering apartments are likely to find themselves ambushed by gangs of mop-waving, bucket-rattling, rubber-gloved cleaners.
Having been simultaneously dislodged from their temporary homes these hundreds (thousands?) of holidaymakers all make their way to the solitary major road leading to Central England and beyond – the A30. Oh, what joy lies ahead!
The highway designers have created a road that alternates dual carriageway (it would not be inappropriate to describe it as duel carriageway) and single lane stretches. With so many vehicles using the road at the same time the inevitable consequence is bottlenecking in the dual carriageway sections as drivers jostle for position as they near the single lane sections.
These problems are compounded by two other factors: the queues of caravans that seem to herd together for their own safety and everyone else’s irritation, and Bodmin Moor. The long, steep undulations of the Moor can be very demanding on ageing vehicles and the chances of getting assistance from the motoring organisations in such congested circumstances are remote.
After three hours, and a mere forty five miles travelled, the need for a break is urgent. But this is not a motorway and service station amenities are limited. Finding a parking space is not easy. But eventually a space is found. The car comes to a halt, the doors burst open and, typically, out pour fractious children, excitable pets (peeing repeatedly), a bedraggled mother swearing ‘never again’, and a red-faced father, just swearing!
While Dad goes in search of burgers and cokes and the children play with the pets, Mother joins a long queue that snakes across the carpark, in the hope that it will eventually lead to the Ladies.
Never mind, only another 278 miles and they’ll be home.
Oh, the joys of holiday travel!