holidays in the sun are not a human right, people

Funny old game, really. One of the really big issues in the UK causing much bellyaching is the recently imposed quarantine requirements for returning from Spain, along with the usual gormless whinging about will I get paid. Err – no. Like when volcanic ash stopped flights a while back, you don’t get paid for the extra time you took to get back home, nor the extra hotel and transport bills. Unless you had decent travel insurance, and even then it was the insurer’s job, not your employer’s.

Earth to Great British Public – your holiday is not a human right. There’s no fairness fairy. There’s a global pandemic on. If you decide to take the risk of going for your two weeks in the sun, you also get to suck up the added risk of getting stuck out there and the concomitant costs (if they lockdown) and/or the risk of ending up with a domestic holiday bolted on (if we quaratine your destination).

Your right to two weeks in the sun doesn’t trump the public health. In the same way as we have other limitations on yer yuman rights to do what the bloody hell you like and have others eat the consequences. You can’t drive your Maserati at 100mph down an urban street, though I’m sure as hell it’d be great fun.

Greetings, sky unscarred by Ryanair, BA and Easyjet Remember them not so long ago? The risk of a quarantined destination is not your greatest tail risk, sunseekers

The Ermine is not overflowing with the milk of human kindness on the subject, because it is pretty obvious to anybody with a brain cell rattling about in their cranium that unexpected delays are a much higher risk this year. Earlier we have had the evidence of a country-wide shutdown and serious impairment to international travel, enough to clear our skies of contrails and shut down the endless rumble of jet noise so you get to hear the birdsong better.

It’s clear that humanity hasn’t really got ahead of coronavirus and hasn’t really solved the issue of the highly communicable nature of the disease plus its long incubation period making the whole thing really tough to manage from a public health standpoint.

So you’re taking several elevated risks on going on a cheap flight to somewhere sunny. I don’t know if you can insure against the potential loss of earnings, though to be honest why not self-insure? Save two weeks of earnings before you go on holiday, then if they do quarantine your destination you get a couple extra weeks to catch up with some DIY on unpaid leave.

If they don’t, well, stick the money towards next year’s holiday and celebrate your good fortune. Not only were you able to afford a holiday, but you saved the money, and if you think your employer should have paid for the risk then you actually still have a job, which is a stroke of great luck compared to an awful lot of Britons come August; one in ten will lose their job by the end of the year. Faced with this level of hazard, ending up with the loss of two weeks earnings pales into insignificance – if you would find that devastating then you can’t afford to go on holiday even if you currently do have a job. You’re not meant to say it, but if I were an employer struggling to keep afloat then if somebody had the brass neck to ask me to fund the tail risks of their ten days in the sun then they will go higher up in the queue when push comes to shove.

A holiday is for your benefit and enjoyment. Why the hell should your employer pay you if you aren’t back at work as originally planned. particularly as business conditions are tough this year?

Damn well prepare for foreseeable risks yourself, insure against them yourself, or just don’t take the risk in the first place. What the heck is so hard about that?

Back home, staycations seems to be making us into chavs all round

The Hawk Stone, Oxfordshire
The Hawk Stone, Oxfordshire

Last month I took a gander at this standing stone in Oxfordshire, and I was surprised at the amount of trash in laybys. Since there’s a theme of whining whingeing here, I will join in; this seems to be a wider problem that we’ve all become a lot more slobtastic.

The Ermine has a campervan, but I can honestly say that I am not the problem these guys are talking about. I have never shat in the great British outdoors in my entire life. I don’t dump camping gear in the outdoors, for two reasons – one is I don’t buy rubbish in the first place, and try and service it properly. But if it does break up, then I throw it away in … a bin? One of the great things about the supermarket plastic bag was you could use it to collect your sundry trash if rough camping and then ditch it in a litter bin. These days you have to buy a roll of swing bin liners, but I haven’t got through my first roll yet. Don’t be a slob. Fair enough, I don’t do tent camping and don’t hike to campsites so maybe this is easier for me, but what the hell is up with us now?

Way back in the 1970s we used to have something called Keep Britain Tidy. It always struck me as a misnomer, because Britain wasn’t particularly tidy then – widespread smoking mean there were fag butts everywhere, and the footpaths were spotted with dog shit that would go white in the rain. I have a nasty feeling that a lot more people have dogs now than they used to 1

Dog shit just doesn’t go white these days

A bit like King Arthur, it looks like Keep Britain Tidy has returned when the land is in need. And it’s in pretty desperate need. I wouldn’t actually say that this part of Somerset is that bad compared to what I’ve seen in Cornwall and Oxfordshire, but on a three mile walk in the countryside I was treated to

Anyone for fish and chips?
plastic kiddie crap. These poor devils are going to have to live in the world with all that plastic trash you’re getting for them, guys
odd how it never seems to be the athletic sporty types who are mainlining energy drinks
the obligatory can of wife beater
Finally some good, honest-to-God fly tipping rather than just litter

Must be tough being a farmer round these parts. The Somerset Levels are quite flat, so the flow of the rhynes and drains can easily get blocked up by trash. Every so often the Somerset Rivers Authority come along and dredge some of the trash and general silt from the waterways.They’re going to be up against a lot of it this year.

And generally, Britain, pack your trash and don’t be a tosser!


  1. OMG 5 million mutts in 1965 has gone up to 10 million in 2019

19 thoughts on “holidays in the sun are not a human right, people”

  1. Same story in Canada. My niece is off to the UK to see her main squeeze. She’ll self isolate for 2 weeks in England, and then 2 more weeks when she gets back here. She can afford the time since she’s furloughed from her job as a cruise director with Princess. Hope the trip is worth the hassle.
    As far as most COVIDiots go, the morons who would normally be off to Florida or the Caribbean can’t go there, so they are crowding into provincial parks and campgrounds, scaring the hell out of rural folks, eschewing social distancing and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Lots of candidates for the Darwin Award out there.

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  2. Perhaps I get it from my parents but I never litter.
    Living as we do in beautiful scotland, we’ve seen a concurrence of drive thru restaurants opening and litter appearing in beauty spots.
    I hate it and those people are disgusting.

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  3. I not only inherited not littering from my parents, but also de-littering. One of my main memories of country walks in childhood is my Mum putting a plastic bag in each pocket – one to pick up any litter she saw in passing so she could bin it when we got home, and one to pick up horse manure for the garden if we passed any. Living in the big smoke, I do draw the line at horse shit – but I have been finding it really hard not to pick up rubbish in these pandemic times. I had to ask my daughter not to pick up rubbish the other day, which made me sad (but we’re going on our own holiday with my parents soon, so although we will distance and are staying in neighbouring properties, rather than the same one as originally planned, we can’t afford to take any risks!)

    Maybe that’s what’s really changed in the pandemic? It’s not more people littering, but fewer people like my Mum and me picking it up…. Maybe I should invest in one of those litter-picker-uppers, so I can delitter without touching other people’s virus? Or maybe that would just contribute further to the world’s endless supply of junk….

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    1. My biggest gripe is dog shit hanging in bags in tress. I mean, wtf is that all about? You go to the trouble of picking it up in a bag and then go and tie it in a tree, presumably in a lovely area where you fully intent to walk your dog sometime again. Baffling. Frankly, I’d rather people simply take a dog shit flicking device of some description and just launch it into the undergrowth where nature can take its course. I get that letting dogs do their thing in parks and well trodden path ways is decidedly unsocial but in wilder areas is it really such a problem? Deers, badgers and foxes (which produce particularly nasty specimens)…..birds do it, bees do it, even educated flees do it… bears are well known for doing it in the woods….. But only dog shit seems to end up as revolting non-biodegradable baubles in the trees.

      It’s probably a very good thing that I am not in charge. There would be some pretty draconian punishments dished out for littering. However, if I was I would enforce the simple ruling that my local fishing club uses. If you are there and there is litter then it belongs to you regardless of wether you produced it or not. It’s why I ended up coming home with two full bags of litter and a strong urge to break a few noses when I walked around my local wild flower meadow with y camera last week.

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      1. This was explained to me by a mutt owner as that it’s unpleasant to cart your dog’s shit around in a bag for your walk, so if it shits at the start you hang it up in a tree and retrieve it later.

        The retrieve it later seems to be an issue 😦 I’d agree that having it on the footpaths is the issue, offing it into the undergrowth is sort of tolerable in theory. I’m not absolutely sure that we should be encouraging flying toilets, after all the wildlife lives there, whereas people take their hounds into the Great British outdoors precisely because they don’t want dogshit in their gardens. So clearing the dogshit from the outdoors really should be the owners’ problem IMO.

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      2. I was trying to come up with options for what those dogsh*t decorations were, was it a rural equivalent to the pair of laced-together running shoes advertising your local drug dealer, a keep out sign, or a dogging site for the local cognoscenti?, so thanks to our host for clearing that one up.

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  4. It is my ambition that if I should ever find myself widowed and terminally ill I’d seize the chance to be a Social Avenger. I suppose that means I’d whack lawyers and litterers, but other candidates may suggest themselves. How about trade union leaders, starting with the teachers and train drivers?

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    1. I’ve had it in for Arthur Scargill ever since I was a child and the bugger turned the lights off. I still haven’t managed to outlive him, though the odds are probably in my favour.

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  5. We are soon to be one of those 1/10 households as my wife has been put on notice of redundancy and my employer has just begin the ever-enjoyable performance metric tasks which will no doubt be used in scoring for a forthcoming round of redundancies. I think in such a climate, both economic and healthwise, it would be insane to be taking expensive foreign holidays. Hell; we’ve even had to make the incredibly tough decision not to visit my recently widowed father living in France because we cannot justify the risks right now.

    Littering in this country drives me insane. Fly tipping has massively increased here, not helped by our local council having a fallout with the neighbouring one which stopped our access to the local tip and required a 30 minute motorway journey to get to the next one. Also a £50 annual charge on top of a very above-average council tax just so they stop to collect your green waste bin while driving passed anyway. Madness.

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    1. I’m really sorry to hear that! I know how you feel, though – I eschewed foreign holidays, indeed pretty much all holidays in my three year run out of the workplace, pretty much for those reasons 😦 This will pass, eventually.

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  6. Maybe it is an age thing – but I find myself agreeing with pretty much everything said here.
    Precisely the same “youngsters” seem to be forever whinging about inter-generational fairness; well these behaviours all seems pretty selfish to me – just saying!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was perhaps unfair with picking out the cans of wifebeater, there are a few bottles artfully balanced halfway in the rhynes, which are probably my generation, and I think the dogshit’s a middle-age thing. But yes, the energy drinks and cheap booze are probably a young person’s game, as are the impromptu raves in nature reserves, which thankfully so far doesn’t seem to have been a problem round here.

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    2. Not sure it’s an age thing, it’s bothering me, too, and I’m only 26. I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve had to listen to friends and acquaintances talk about their ‘lovely weekend trip to Portugal/ Spain/ Italy …’ in recent weeks. Surely, there’s a time for this kind of thing, but 2020 just doesn’t seem like the right moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Actually saw this the other day. We went for a walk to an impressive waterfall (400m from car park) and on the way back noticed a dog shit bag near the path at the base of a tree. Mmm… that wasn’t there before and that bad looking family with a dog just walked passed.
    10 minutes later we were having a picnic and they return to their car with a black bag in tow – I couldn’t believe it.
    They even tidied up after their picnic and didn’t litter.
    Must be an isolated incident.

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  8. Working for an aerospace supplier is interesting in these times. The forecast is the market wont recover for 18 months, more likely 24. I’ve survived the first wave of redundancies, we’ll see what happens over the next 6 months. However, don’t interpret this as wanting a return to ‘normal’ flying. I’m willing to trade being a bit poorer in exchange for removing the madness of weekends away in some European city, or multiple holidays in the sun every year. Or maybe, my personal target – short car journeys. How has driving half a mile to fetch a loaf become normalised?

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  9. Thanks for the post Ermine. I myself had booked a holiday in Early January for Amsterdam in July, we have had to move that to October or lose our money so I am hopeful I can still go then but who knows… I however would be taking all other holidays somewhere in the UK until we are in a much better place, I personally wouldn’t want to take the risk but each to their own.

    Chris

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