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I'll be staying in the UK this summer and not going abroad – here's why

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WE had no spring. It just kept on raining. And it was cold. So it’s not surprising that travel companies are reporting a huge surge in demand for foreign holidays this summer.

But before you sign on the dotted line, might I suggest you have a think.

Airports are full of queues and inefficiency and I would rather stay at home

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Airports are full of queues and inefficiency and I would rather stay at homeCredit: Reuters

Last weekend, the rain meant I couldn’t do any farming, so Lisa and I decided to get a bit of sunshine in Madrid. Nice, yes?

There was a time when this sort of thing was easy. But now, thanks to government bureaucracy, Border Force paranoia and a general sense at airports that passengers are a damn nuisance, it isn’t any more.

So you check in and stand in a queue full of old ladies and toddlers who don’t realise that they can’t travel with liquids, that they need to take laptops out of their hand luggage and that they can’t go through the X-ray machine with six frying pans and an ingot in their backpack.

Then you walk through a shopping centre that sells perfume, and suitcases, for those who’ve arrived at the airport with all their holiday clothes in a carrier bag. And then you’re in a lift.

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And then you’re in a train and then you’re in another lift, and then they say your flight is boarding.

So you form another queue which doesn’t move because your flight actually isn’t boarding.

If you are a seasoned traveller you will know this, so you’ll stay in the coffee shop.

But this is usually a mistake because in the space of 1.3 seconds, the departure boards change from “go to gate” to “flight boarding” to “gate closed”.

At Madrid airport, you leave the plane, which has parked at the very end of the furthest terminal from baggage reclaim.

So you walk, uphill, in a superheated tunnel for about an hour and then you’re in the terminal, which is bigger than most deserts.

What NOT to wear on a plane

Elephant Man

You walk. And then you walk some more. And then you walk until every old injury starts to flare up.

And then you’re limping. And then your back starts to hurt. So now you’re bent double, like the Elephant Man.

And then after another hour you reach a lift which takes you to a train that takes you to another terminal which is located in Sweden.

And then you’re in another lift and on an escalator. And then there’s another walk, back to Madrid, where you stand in yet another queue.

This time it’s so that an electronic machine can read your passport. No one can ever work these.

So they stand there in a locked glass box like they’re in a magic show, endlessly putting their passport in the slot and taking it out again.

And eventually you are forced to shout from the back of the queue 20 miles away: “Take your effing sunglasses off!”

Britain is due some sunshine after heavy rainfall so there is no need to fly away

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Britain is due some sunshine after heavy rainfall so there is no need to fly awayCredit: Alamy

Then you get to the front and find that the machines are only for people who live in the EU.

So you go for another walk into another hall where you are presented with a snaking queue full of people who don’t speak Spanish. Or English, and have no paperwork.

After three hours, your back is really starting to hurt and you are scanning the queue for people who look like they might have voted for Brexit, because you want to peel them.

Eventually, though, after another bit of queuing, you get in a taxi and head into the city centre. Where it’s raining.

Which brings me on to my final point. Every year, in Britain, we get more or less the same amount of rainfall. And we’ve had our allocation for 2024.

So don’t have a coronary. Don’t spend half your holiday in a lift or a queue.

Stay home. It’s going to be a beautiful summer here. I can feel it.

I Vlad it with Segal

It is unpleasant to see Steven Seagal cosying up to Vladimir Putin in Russia

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It is unpleasant to see Steven Seagal cosying up to Vladimir Putin in RussiaCredit: EPA

ONE of my favourite scenes in any movie is the moment in Executive Decision where, quite early on, Steven Seagal is attempting to climb into the belly of an airliner so he can rush about hitting people and being a hero. And he falls to his death.

I’ve never liked the man. And that view wasn’t changed this week when he turned up in Russia, with the stupidest hair I’ve ever seen, to fawn at the feet of Vladimir Putin.

Seagal says they bonded over a shared love of martial arts but that’s no excuse.

I like watercolour paintings but that doesn’t mean I’d go to an exhibition of Hitler’s offerings.


I LEARNED this week that the great town of Rotherham in South Yorks has replaced eight miles of grass verges with strips of wild flowers.

This is great for the bees and saves the council north of £25,000 in mowing fees.

But best of all, it means that passing traffic can no longer see all the discarded Red Bull cans and Bounty bar wrappers.

No, not falling for it

MY old mate Richard Hammond has been on the internet to say that exercise helps the body heal faster after it has been injured.

He says that the broken wrist he sustained after falling off a horse in Burma healed more quickly than the broken rib James May got after falling off a horse in Argentina.

Because he runs a lot, and James doesn’t.

Hmmm. I think the best solution is to adopt my policy. Which is to not fall off a horse in the first place.


Nicholas Galitzine says he sometimes feels like a cut of beef at a market

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Nicholas Galitzine says he sometimes feels like a cut of beef at a marketCredit: Getty

THE impossibly good-looking actor Nicholas Galitzine, who stars in hit show The Idea Of You, says he sometimes feels like a cut of beef at a market and that he doesn’t want to be defined by his looks.

Relax mate. Paul Newman. Richard Burton. Robert Redford. Brad Pitt. George Clooney. They all did OK.

Whereas my spell as an actor, back in the early Seventies, was limited to a weekly show. On the radio.


A demand for oat milk from BBC staff is a political statement

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A demand for oat milk from BBC staff is a political statementCredit: Getty

BBC staff have demanded that expensive oat milk should be provided free of charge in the canteen because some people don’t like proper milk.

This makes my teeth itch. Oat milk isn’t milk. And neither is almond milk.

It’s just a political statement, like a Palestinian flag or a Just Stop Oil nose ring.

Of course, some people are allergic to milk. But there’s an easy and cheap way for them to solve the problem. Drink your coffee black.

Everest heroics are still summit to shout about

Climbing Mount Everest is an incredible feat even if you are not the first to do it

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Climbing Mount Everest is an incredible feat even if you are not the first to do itCredit: Getty

BACK in the 1920s a war hero called George Mallory decided to climb Mount Everest.

He reached an altitude of 27,000 feet before he was forced to turn back.

But he was back the following year, wearing stout leather shoes and a tweed suit.

He was spotted just below the summit but then he disappeared.

And his body wasn’t found until 1999. The man who found it, Graham Hoyland, is now saying it’s unlikely he made it to the summit, and I’m sorry but this saddens me.

Fans of Boy’s Own adventurers, like me, have always speculated that he made it to the top then died on the way down.

And being told that he didn’t is like being told that Columbus never got out of the harbour in Spain, Isaac Newton was a plumber and Chuck Yeager’s speedometer was broken.

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