It is the invariable practice of MPs when asked, during the month of August, if they are “enjoying their holiday” to respond that they are not on holiday, but on recess. Recess is a time when Parliament is not in session, but MPs remain at work in their constituencies.
Of course, MPs do take holidays – in normal years. But this year is far from normal. Covid has changed the usual pattern of everything. I had booked a week’s summer holiday back in December, but cancelled it a couple of months ago. It just didn’t seem right, and the thought of wandering around an Adriatic town under a face mask – thereby ensuring a two-tone tan – was less than appealing.
So this year I decided I’d take a staycation here in North Wales; or, at least, a semi-staycation. The work generated by the pandemic is still pouring in, so I concluded that the best plan would be to attend the constituency office in Colwyn Bay every morning and take the afternoons off to go exploring.
Happily, the arrangement coincided with some of the finest summer weather we have enjoyed for several years, enabling us to see North Wales to the best possible advantage. We did a circumambulation of the Great Orme on a broiling hot day; hiked through Parc Mawr up to Llangelynnin Old Church; visited the Eleri Mills exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre (highly recommended) and walked the coastal path from Pensarn to Rhos. And one day, I took the morning off and we visited that extraordinary product of Clough Williams-Ellis’s imagination, Portmeirion.
Seeing North Wales as holidaymakers see it was an instructive experience. We who inhabit this corner of the British Isles are truly blessed. We have some of the most impressive landscapes and seascapes to be found anywhere. Our towns and villages are the equal of anything in Tuscany. We have vast acreages of uncrowded countryside.
North Wales, in short, is a place we should be proud to show off to visitors from all parts of the world; and I, for one, am proud to call it home.