Why I'm happy to sit in queues behind caravans this summer
- Credit: Danielle Booden
In his latest column, Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew writes about why he has no problem sitting behind caravans in traffic as the region welcomes visitors this summer.
You don’t need me to tell you that the news over the last year has been overwhelmed by wall to wall coverage of the Covid pandemic.
While the last few weeks has continued to have covered the final stages of the vaccine rollout, something else has broken through into the headlines: Euro 2020 has finally got under way.
I make no bones about it: when it comes to football, I’m a World Cup and Euros England supporter. And by the time you read this, we may already have bombed out of the tournament, but I hope not.
The contest brings with it a sense of national unity behind a common goal and it lifts all of us at a time when we need it.
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While most Covid restrictions have already been removed I was desperate to get to “Freedom Day” when the last restraints were going to go.
The growth of the Delta variant has delayed this. While it was the right decision to make sure that our vaccinations keep ahead of this new variant, the frustration of the disappointment has been hard to take for many.
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Beyond the enjoyment of the competition itself, I have another reason to welcome the tournament.
It feels a long time since we have been able to look at our sporting heroes and see genuine role models, but there is something admirable about Gareth Southgate and his team.
He exudes straightforward common sense and dignity and it seems to be rubbing off on the team that he leads.
Whatever the eventual outcome I feel proud of them. They are a team worth supporting for more than just the shirts they wear.
Back to Covid. Despite the delay, there are reasons for optimism.
The economy has bounced back far quicker than anyone was expecting even a few months ago.
We were told to expect unemployment of 12%, and yet locally it now stands at just 3.8% and falling.
Talk to local businesses and the problem is not providing jobs, it’s finding enough people to take them! There is a real sense of dynamism in the air.
The arrival of summer helps Norfolk showcase the best it has to offer: beautiful countryside, amazing beaches, fantastic history to explore, and glorious (if temperamental) weather.
This year, with foreign holidays off-limits for most of us, tourists have been visiting us in record numbers.
High summer can be a time of frustration for us even in a normal year, with caravans blocking up the roads and queues for everything.
If you don’t earn your living from tourism it is hard to see the benefit of all these people.
But this year above all years I look at the queues and think of the hospitality businesses that have been hanging on by their fingernails over the last year and my mood changes.
Tourists keep our shops in business, our pubs and restaurants going and provide a huge boost to our economy.
So, this year I am (almost) happy to sit behind a line of caravans! Everyone is welcome.
My hope is that families who normally holiday abroad will have a great time locally this year and that some holiday habits will change. We have so much to offer.