Monday 5 August 2002

Our wonderful tourist industry

I drove 140 miles today to visit my mother who lives in the Lake District. The weather was perfect. We went out for a tour round Bassenthwaite Lake and came across The Wheatsheaf Inn. A sign outside proclaimed: Open All Day. Another said: Bar Meals. I helped my mother very slowly - she uses a walking stick - into the pub garden where several people were enjoying lunch. I went inside to order. "Sorry, guv, no more lunches. It's after 2." I explained that it had taken about ten minutes to get my mother from the car to the table and all we wanted was a sandwich. "If you come back at 6, we can serve dinner." Thanks, but no thanks.

This is an area totally dependent on tourism and which was devasted by foot-and-mouth disease last year. I recall seeing local representatives on television calling for government aid. I'm opposed to government bail-outs, but I wished the area well.

Now, I think that some of them deserve to go bust. What sort of businessperson is unable to make a sandwich for my mother at five minutes after two in the afternoon at the height of the tourist season?