Some of you may be just back from an Easter holiday – relaxed, refreshed and - even if you went no further afield than a B & B in North Wales - skint. Slightly more panicky poor than you were after the Christmas blow out. And, naturally, you’ll be shellshocked and confused.
After one week of doing not much in the cloudy-with-sporadic- showers British Isles, you do not expect to be cleaned out. Yet cleaned out you will be, because of the temporary suspension of normal standards and budgeting instincts commonly known as Holiday Goggles.
Here’s how it happens:
1) You can’t stop shopping for stuff you would never normally buy and will certainly (I have scientifically tested this one) never use on re-entry. Not sure if you picked up on this, but the PM herself, on a recent working and walking holiday in Wales, was observed buying a silver ring in the Celf Aran Arts Shop. There it is! Textbook Holiday Goggles. The ring cost £32. She won’t wear it once the holiday is over, because back in Downing Street it will look out of place and…glaringly Holiday Goggles.
We’ve all been there. It’s no reflection on the ring, which may well be excellent. It’s just that it has no post holiday life. Same with the bellows you buy in the souk in Marrakech. The Port Isaac sweatshirt. The moonstone pendant. The moses basket. The strip of leather bracelet with a charm.
2) You have convinced yourself that it would be ‘getting ahead’ to buy a whole load of ‘Christmas’ presents – usually olive wood chopping boards, novelty pottery, jewellery that will have oxidised by November, baskets. Baskets? Come wrapping season this stuff is not going to look quite as irresistible as it did when you were buying it in the charmant shop on the seafront (when it comes to it it’s hard to give someone a six inch by four inch chopping board on Christmas Day, even if it cost £25, which it probably did).
3) Pre Holiday preparation. This is mainly peculiar to females. Men can go on holiday with a toothbrush and a Patrick O’ Brian; women like to go on holiday as if starting a new life, from scratch, in Monterey California with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for neighbours.
We have to buy quality eyelash curlers (never used thus far, but that’s no obstacle), the right shade of red lipstick (same), laxatives and bunger uppers, useful and not useful footwear. Something yellow. Scarves. Better sunglasses. Books. Eye drops. Hair ties. Flossing sticks. Plasters. Biros. Exfoliating gloves. Cough sweets. Antihistamine. Omega 3 (we’ll remember to take them on holiday and we will come back renewed). That’s £50 in Boots, minimum.
Then we have to have a pedicure, a wax, a fake tan, a haircut and hairdye. If an airport is involved, with a twenty minute window, we are buying BB creams with SPF, eyebrow pencils, white watches, maybe some scent. Something fresh and lemony for our new life.
4) Cooking like Stein. You’re on holiday so you are eating way above your paygrade, and going native. Holiday Goggles means you’re thinking, or trying really hard to think, like Rick Stein. You’re strictly local, authentic and fresh and buying the proper 12-year-aged with a seal balsamic vinegar.
Whereas, back in your real life you would never dream of shelling out for swordfish now you are eating it raw with a pomegranate jus and shaved fresh almonds. Similarly you have upped your maximum wine price limit by £4. You think you’re in The Night Manager.
5) Replacing things you forgot to bring. Trainers. Cool bags. Toothbrushes. Shaving cream. Beach towels (beach towels sold near beaches are roughly the price of gold leaf). Then there’s the equipment you have to get in situ. Wet suit hire. Bikes. Water pistols. Footballs. Those shoes for walking on pebbles.
Honestly, it doesn’t bear thinking about.