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Summer Holidays in England


Vine Cottage,
Oxford Road,
Abingdon-on-Thames,
Nr Oxford.
13 May 20__

Dear Mario,
I was very glad to have a letter from you, and to know that you and your wife are keeping well and busy. Im glad, too, that you are both coming to England again this summer. My wife and I look forward to seeing you and Rosa.

You say you want a different kind of holiday this year. Perhaps, when you were here last year, I took you to see too many historic buildings and places. You saw most of the places that tourists usually see. So this year you want a rest from sightseeing. You dont want to come as tourists. You want the kind of holiday that middle-class English people usually have, not too expensive, of course. You want to meet English people who are on holiday and to have plenty of chances to make friends with them.

I dont like crowds when Im on holiday. I remember that when I was a small boy we my brothers and sisters and I always tried to get away from other people. We always had our holidays on the coast. Sea and sunshine, thats what we looked forward to every summer. We always went at a small fishing village in the Devon coast. And if, when we got to the place where we usually bathed, there were other people there, we stopped and said, oh, we cant bathe here today! Somebodys got here before us! Today people seem to like crowds. You say you wish to meet and make friends with as many people as possible, so I wont suggest a quiet fishing village.

Hotels at the large seaside towns on the south coast, such as Folkestone, Hastings, Brighton and Bournemouth, are expensive. It would cost you, probably for the two of you, at least 35 pound a week. I dont know whether thats more than you want to pay; you gave no figures in your letter. You say you want to come here in July or August. Those are the two months when hotel rates are the highest.

Youd soon make friends at a hotel, but if you want to meet lots of English people, you might like to go to a holiday camp. That doesnt mean sleeping, and eating in tents. The kind of holiday camp I mean is nothing like an army camp, or the kind of camp that Everest climbers live in. Holiday camps in England are permanent buildings with every modern convenience and comfort. There are wooden cabins with good beds, electric light, running hot and cold water. You and Rosa would have a cabin for two. There are large buildings a dining-hall, a large hall for dancing (and good dance bands), a cinema, a theatre, a bar, a cafe, rooms for games such as billiards. In fact there is, in the camp, everything you want. The camp usually has its own swimming-pool and tennis courts. Some camps are large enough for a thousand people; others take a much smaller number. A camp of medium size takes about five hundred guests.

I myself dislike the idea of spending a holiday with hundreds of other people. I told you we always wanted to get away from crowds when we were children. But you might find it interesting and amusing to meet the kind of people who go to holiday camps. There are lots of children. There are nurses to look after small children, so that the parents can be free to amuse themselves. Thats one reason why holiday camps are popular with married couples who have very young children. They not only get a holiday from work, but also a holiday from the children. Theres a lot to be said for that! So if you decided to stay at a holiday camp here, you could bring your two children with you instead of leaving them in Italy with grandmother.

Im not quite sure what the rates will be for holiday camps this summer. About two-thirds of the cost of a good hotel, perhaps less. Ill write to some of the camps and get their advertisements. Ill send these to you in case youre interested.

Heres another suggestion a caravan holiday. If you brought your car to England, you could
hirequite a comfortable caravan for a few pounds a week. Theres a caravan association that would give you information about places where you could stay. There are caravan camps all round the coast, and at these you can get water and other things you need. A caravan holiday wouldnt be lonely, as you might think at first. Every evening youd be in a camp with lots of other people. Theyre all very friendly, I believe. Of course youd have to cook. Perhaps Rosa wouldnt like that on a holiday! You could see a lot of places in a month, or, if you wished, stay in one place for several days and then move on to another place.

If I were as young as you are, Id have a walking holiday. Walking holidays are much cheaper than the kind of holidays Ive been telling you about. You know something about the Youth Hostels Association, Im sure. Its international. There are hostels all over England now and thousands of young people use them. Members of the Association get beds for 6 pounds a night and meals are very cheap indeed. Members can even take their own food to the hostels and cook it in the kitchen. They have to help by sweeping and cleaning the rooms, or washing up after meals. But thats not a hardship, is it? Youd meet young people of all classes-factory workers, office workers, shop girls, college students, and many young people from European countries. A walking holiday depends for enjoyment upon the weather, of course. I cant promise you good weather!

You neednt walk. Cyclists are allowed to stay at our youth hostels. But youre not allowed to stay in them if you arrive in a motor-car, or on a motor-cycle or moto-scooter (Vespas, I think you call the kind most often seen in Italy), or even on a bicycle with people with not much money to spend. Perhaps you want more comfort than you would have in youth hostels. You wouldnt have to worry about clothes if you decided to use youth hostels. Any old clothes would do. At a hotel youd need to be well dressed.

Thank you for your very kind invitation to visit you and stay with you. Im sorry I cant accept it this year; weve already made our plans. But next year, perhaps, if its convenient to you then.
Please write and let me know if theres anything else youd like to know. Im always glad to help you.
My wife joins me in best wishes to you both.

Yours sincerely,
John Grant

(from A.S. Hornby)



Summer Holidays in England


to look forward to seeing smb. -
to make friends with smb. -
to be popular with
to worry about smth. -
to accept an invitation

 



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