Cheers, Brexit. Living in Poundland means it has always been feasible to holiday happily in Euroland, because although everything in Euroland always seemed to cost double its Poundland equivalent, you could just laugh, shrug, and half the “real” price in your head by converting it into nice solid pounds sterling.
Not anymore. Oh boy. Thanks to the maniacs who proposed and voted for Brexit, you can now find yourself in a French motorway station screaming at your hungry dependents: “PUT THAT MAGNUM BACK, IT’S FOUR QUID!”
Because now, the euro and the pound are the same. Suddenly the comedy euro prices are no longer funny. A sandwich really is a tenner in the South of France. A pint really is eight quid in Dublin.
Cheap hotel rooms are no longer cheap, or even reasonable. And since when did a 330cl bottle of Perrier cost the same as a large gin?
Since Brexit, that’s when. So what to do, we hapless residents of Poundland? Embracing staycations sounds like two wet weeks in Wales — personally, I’d rather shoot myself in the face (no offence Wales, but I left Ireland because of the rain — paying to holiday in an even wetter place has all the appeal of a flooded caravan park on Craggy Island.)
It’s not that I have high expectations. Being a journalist in the digital age of citizen journalism is like being a thatcher, a fletcher, a jouster, a maker of finest snuff — our skills, while acknowledged, are no longer as valued. Soon robots will be writing this. Or, as emojis replace sentences, we will have forgotten how to read entirely because everything will be signified by an aubergine and a smiley face.
Meanwhile, I have arsey teens to take on holiday. So instead of booking into the Georges V in Paris, or the Four Seasons in New York, every year I book a tent in France.
A campsite to which I drive in an elderly car, punctuating the 1,400km journey with the occasional stopover in an Ibis. Or if I’m feeling recklessly profligate, an Ibis Styles.
Hardly Kardashian levels of extravagance, what with the flask of coffee and the tub of homemade hummus, but it’s worked well so far. A tour de France in an old Fiat, weeks spent lazing on a Mediterranean beach, communing with nature from a hammock.
All marvellous until Brexit. Now that the pound has been reduced in value to its Zimbabwean equivalent, the cost of a few weeks in France causes the same kind of shock you get at the end of a rave when the lights come on and you can see everything clearly, stark and terrifying.
Four quid for a Magnum — or a fortnight in Wales. Mature Busty Redhead — do people still put those cards in phone boxes?
Nice one, Brexit.