Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Grockles are coming!

I live in a beautiful part of England, on the coast of North Devon. We have lovely countryside and fabulous beaches. Unfortunately the minute the weather turns warm and sunny we are invaded by Grockles. These are surfers and holidaymakers and they come in all shapes and sizes.
First there are the family groups who stay in holiday cottages, hotels or the holiday parks. We don't see much of them if the weather is good and they can toast themselves on the beaches. They only come into the village when they are so badly sunburnt that they need to see a doctor. They can be a bit of a nuisance when it rains, then they seek 'entertainment' because, coming from towns and cities, they don't realise that walking in the rain in the country can be fun! So, they create long traffic queues into the nearest town, hit the shops and get into another long traffic queue to return.
Less popular are the people who arrive towing their own caravans. These are not good on our narrow lanes and there is mayhem every Saturday when those leaving for home meet up with the new arrivals and the drivers' tempers are truly tested. I have never understood why anyone would want to tow a caravan; apart from being the most detested of roadusers, the caravans they bring are a fraction of the size of the static caravans in the holiday parks. Why cram your family into a box on wheels when you could have bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen?
Then we get the 'campervanners', the dreaded surfers with their sunbleached hair, bronzed bodies and Aussie accents. They arrive en masse in tatty old VW camper vans, belching out exhaust fumes and loud music. They arrive before the holiday season proper starts, taking all the jobs in the holiday parks while local youngsters are still at school or college. They live in their vans, taking every available free parking space near the beaches, so that locals and paying holidaymakers have to use the expensive official carparks.
We are told that all of this is good for 'the local economy' but I haven't noticed any benefits. Thanks to the demands of the holiday industry, our water bills are the highest in Britain. Our roads are choked with traffic from April to September. The local shopkeepers bump up all their prices as soon as the first grockles appear. We can't get into our favourite pubs and restaurants ... I could go on ...
Roll on September when they all go home and peace returns. Phew! I needed a bit of a grump after that serious post I finished yesterday!


  1. Dear monix, please don't take this personally, but you live in Arcadia and we're all slogging away in Middletown. Have you ever heard of schadenfreude? :-)

  2. But don't you live in the wonderful spacious land of lakes and mountains?

  3. Yes, but they are all in the neighbour's backyard.

  4. You can't say you weren't warned, having previously been perennial grockles yourselves, of course...

  5. Reformed grockles are like reformed smokers!

  6. I'd be interested in the etymology of the word grockle. Is is some sort of insect or vermin?

    When I lived in Arizona we experienced a similar phenomenon with what we called snowbirds. These were retirees from mostly the upper midwest and Canada who came to Phoenix during the winter months. They caused havoc by driving around town in large Detroit land yachts, with their little grey heads barely visible above the seat, doing 20 mph, running stopsigns and generally driving like slow motion maniacs. My neighbor in Phoenix was a grocery store manager nearby a retirement community called "Leisure World", which he referred to as "Seizure World". He complained that these retirees would wander his store in between activities at LW like shuffleboard and bridge, create long lines at the checkout buying a single piece of fruit, and then complain to him about the long lines.

    I decided it is better to visit tourist sites rather than live in them.

  7. There are conflicting views on the origin of 'grockle'. Some say it is an old Devon dialect word; some say it comes from the name of the famous clown, Grock, because the holiday makers wore baggy clothes and had red, sunburnt faces. One man in Torquay claims that he started the whole thing, naming a regular visitor 'Grockle' after a dragon in his comic which had a strip cartoon called 'Danny and his Grockle.' So take your pick!

  8. Your town can enact laws about parking on the beach, prohibiting *RV's on narrow country lanes, etc. You don't have to be at the mercy of the invaders.

    *Recreation vehicle

  9. Oh, erp, the people with those powers have a vested interest in having the visitors. It's we poor residents who are inconvenienced. However, as my son points out, we go on holiday and become someone else's grockles. I should live and let live and stop moaning, but I like to flex my grumpiness now and then!


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!