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It’s that time of year again. If summer holidays haven’t already been booked we all seem to be poring over travel guides, questioning our friends on Facebook about “anywhere good for adults and kids not too far from the airport with a beautiful beach and swimming pool and wonderful food”.  Actually make that “literally anywhere with a kids’ club”. Let’s be realistic, then if anything we can be surprised and not disappointed! Here at Muck Towers, we do the reverse.  We head back to Yorkshire and soak up the rain, bask in the grey skies and marvel on sunny days about how wonderful it all is up north when the sun shines.  Our cagoules, umbrellas and wellies are our most treasured items of clothing.  We literally cannot wait to paddle in puddles, walk on the windy moors and “have” to stay inside with a nice cup of tea. After 9 months of sun, sand and sea, the local park with its creaky swings and graffiti-covered slide is all my children need.  They want to wear their wellies round the clock.  Every. Single. Day. With permanent access to Grandma and Grandad, cousins and the glorious BBC we are set for the time of our lives. As it’s St. George’s Day and our July holiday feels a long way off, I thought I’d cheer myself up with a few things that I literally LOVE about going back to England in the summer:

  • Family and friends – top of the list! And there they are…in person, and not just existing as grainy 2D images of themselves at the end of a Skype call.
  • Drinking water out of the tap, eating lettuce and strawberries that you’ve picked yourself, collecting eggs from your own chickens – it’s all there and it all tastes so good!
  • The countryside. It’s seriously nerve-wracking driving along a country lane after months of 6-lane 150MPH aggressive driving.  I have become that little old lady who can’t drive straight because I’m so distracted by fields of wheat and proper hedgerows.  “Look at the COWS, girls! And the TREES!”.
  • Watching the sun eventually set around 10pm.
  • Hearing everyone out in their gardens at night.
  • Perusing decent newspapers in hard print that you can buy and read every day.
  • And the weekend supplements! Fashion.  Music.  Politics.  British journalists are so gloriously opinionated and have so much to say.  They swear, stick their necks out and seem so intelligent – again after 9 months of seriously controlled media, it’s a wonder to behold.
  • Old, dark, stinky pubs.  Lovely, bright, warm “gastro” pubs.  Pubs with Michelin stars.  Pubs with amazing children’s playgrounds outside which literally beg you to sit down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Pubs which seem to have actually replaced nightclubs! They’ve got it all.
  • The rain. It is just fabulous to walk in the rain after not seeing it or feeling it for so long.  The sound of the rain. The smell of the rain.  We love the rain.
  • Toys? All you need is a few slices of old bread and you can get down to the local park and feed the ducks.

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  • All the things you can buy that really don’t cost as much as they do elsewhere. Clothes, school shoes, books, real Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, WINE.
  • There are so many music festivals in the UK in the summer it is staggering.  Music, theatre, farming, you name it. We stumbled across a Scarecrow Festival last year.  Granted, some of them were a bit scary for our little ones but how amazing that a whole village can come together and do that.

So come on, all you expats can add to the list.  And all of you lot in the UK, tell me how wrong I am.