Monday, 18 April 2011

Be proud of where you live

Tourist season has started in the New Forest. Locally known as 'grockles' they arrive for weekends and holidays in streams of cars and caravans, queueing to get through Lyndhurst.

Naturally the whole point of having grockles is to give the locals something else to complain about:

They clog up the roads.
The slow down to look at the ponies.
They bring their children.
They wander around the market at a snail's pace.
They have picnics where you want to walk your dog.
The fill up the car parks.
They generally get in the way.
Everyone wants them to just sod off home and leave us in peace.

Up until this year I have probably felt the same (albeit slightly tongue in cheek).  But this year I feel different and I'm not sure what it is that has changed my outlook.  Maybe it is being a regular visitor to Scotland and not quite feeling whether I'm a tourist or a local; maybe all this studying has made me see the world in a different way; maybe I've just grown up.

When I went out last weekend on a beautiful sunny day, and there were caravans on the road, I didn't start thinking 'oh no, here we go again'.   Instead I felt proud to live here, in a beautiful place that an awful lot of people want to come and visit.  

When I met some people walking who had obviously come from the camp site, I didn't snarl at them, I smiled and said good morning and if I'd had the chance I probably would have wished them a lovely holiday, or chatted about what plans they had for their stay.

When I thought about the amount of money tourism brings into the local economy I wondered what the place would be like without that input?

While Mr H and I were on holiday in Derbyshire, we met a lovely couple on one of our walks.  They didn't snarl at us for being tourists, we chatted about where we were staying and things we were doing.  That is the sort of local I want to be.

Too many people whinge about tourists but think about this - how lucky are we?  When they have to go home and tell their friends about what a great place they visited, we get to live here and enjoy it all year round.


  1. Well done!
    And seriously, it was good for you to cross paths with some folks who 'get' that it's a joy to have people visiting your backyard--gosh--it's cool that they'd WANNA!

    We run into that here--'snowbirds' they call the folks who go south for the winter. Guess they could call 'em worse, but truth is, it's great for the economy and businesses are alive because of those 'snowbirds'.
    Now, I can't say that we get many folks flocking to where I'm graced to live. I love this little town.....I'm always curious about folks who stop in for something or other and I point them in the direction of good food, fun places to have a walk around and cool things to just see! Like the the garden spot and the little pond with all the frogs--OH....and the dam where you can see the eagles!!

    I know how I feel when I walk the beaches in LA and no one greets me. :-(
    I'm TOLD it's 'self protection' how sad is that? *sigh*
    We don't worry about that kinds stuff in this wee town--we meet and greet like crazy!

  2. I can sympathise a bit with the the mentality of people during visitor season as it seems every one goes somewhere in that small window that are school holidays, I find myself cursing the sudden influx of people around during these times. Too many people at once does suck the joy out of a place sometimes. You are right though some locals can get rather snooty though and think that a big open forest belongs to them and them alone.

  3. I love living in a touristy area. I love the striding along knowing where I'm going while they peer at the map. I love knowing that it will all be empty again soon. I love knowing the people in the shops know that I'm not a tourist even if I look like one. And I love living in such a beautiful, beautiful place.

  4. it's been a good few years since i've heard that word ;)

    and now...when we visit...i am they!

  5. Absolutely spot on! I love where we live (could use a bit LESS winter next year please) but I too enjoy stepping lightly into other people's world's and saok up all that I can.....the people you meet along the way (if and when they decide to let you in) is priceless really...although I don't like sticking out like a tourist (for safety reasons) !


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