It’s been a few months now since I started my UK road trip and I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer care how greasy my hair is.
The shower in the caravan packed in a few weeks ago and my misguided attempts at fixing it only led to the startling discover that I have absolutely no DIY skills whatsoever. After coming to terms with my lack of masculine skills, I decided to put my hygiene concerns to one side and focus instead on enjoying a life free of such pedestrian concerns as ‘showers’ and ‘cleanliness’.
After an enjoyable month or so in Wales, I set my GPS for England and left the land of mountains and fantastic fry ups for genteel countryside and…more fantastic fry ups. Never before had I felt so in tune with my inner Englishman. Gifted with what felt like all the time in the world, I would spend my mornings sipping tea and reading the news, for one week I adopted a pipe smoking habit, but quit when I found that the combined pungency of my body odour and tobacco was conjuring up torrid memories of my grandfather.
England had never been as accessible and enjoyable as this summer, here are a few highlights of those times:
A Night Out In Brighton
During my stay in Wales I’d despaired at the state of the Victorian seaside towns, left there to ruin over decades of dwindling tourism. Brighton was a reminder that such places are not confined to Wales, but given the right encouragement, they can become more than the sum of their parts. Unlike so many of those drab, borderline derelict towns that I’d passed through in Wales, Brighton has managed to establish an identity all of its own. Supported by the affluent professionals of London, it has become a fun, if rather exorbitant, exaggeration of what it once was. I spent my night there flitting between pubs and bars, meeting up with old friends and spending too much money.
Seaside Tranquillity in St. Ives
As pleasant as Brighton was, it left me a little rattled and dark under the eyes. I’d not spent that much time in an urban setting for some time and found it a little too hectic for my liking. I longed for the peace and isolation that I tasted in Wales, and set my sights on Cornwall for my next destination. I’d come to savour the long summer days that I spent on the road, waking in the early hours to get on the way to my next destination and leaving whatever caravan site I was staying before the sun had risen.
I arrived in St. Ives happy to have reached my destination and eager to get a taste for Cornish culture, which I soon found in a nearby pub. My evening was spent discussing politics with a bunch of locals and was surprised to find myself in agreement with nearly every man there (there were not many women in attendance that evening). The next morning was a special one, as I wasn’t alone. I’d been joined by a stinking hangover and the dim recollection of being carried back to my caravan – thankfully the spray of the sea was not far away and I gratefully indulged in a cold dip to blow away the cobwebs after, before returning to the pub to find a hair of the dog.