What to Take

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Always a problem, at least for me. Even if I’m only going away for a couple of days, even just for an afternoon I can never decide what things are essential. Will I really need an umbrella? I’m going by car or bus and when I get there I’ll be inside, so an umbrella is surely a pointless extra ? Can I go in a cardigan? It might turn chilly better take a coat, even if lugging the wretched thing around all day is s pain.

When i’m on a bike or a trike I always have pannier. I know cyclists who take a minute seatpack and stuff their sandwiches into their back pocket. That way of doing things isn’t for me. I take a pannier – I mean I might suddenly see something I want to buy. I don’t usually buy a new dress or a posh hat on impulse but there have been times when I’ve spotted something in a shop window and thought “that’s just what we need”. Usually it’s something very mundane, a scrubbing brush or a jar of jam. something that’s been on my shopping list for the last three weeks but never actually got purchased. The way I look at it having space carrying capacity is always useful.

Holiday packing now seems to include so much IT equipment. I can remember when all you took on holiday was yourself and some clothes – perhaps a bucket and spade if you were taking the kids to the seaside. Now it’s mobile phones + charger, a laptop if you use one or a smartphone (I prefer my dumb phone, thanks very much. I just want to make and receive phone calls and make and receive text messages.) a tablet or an i-pod or i-pad – and of course all these gadgets need their own chargers.

At one time places to stay offered a bed to sleep in, a kettle in your room to make tea or coffee and sometimes – nearly always now – “en-suite” facilities. Don’t get me wrong I prefer my own bathroom rather than sharing with other guests. The facilities now include internet access and WiFi. So you can go on holiday and spend most of you time sitting in your room surfing the internet, playing computer games or talking to your friends on your mobile phone. None of these are bad things – I indulge in most of them at one time or another, but they are things you can do from the comfort of your home, so why go on holiday?

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