Appendix 3- It takes all sorts

Appendix 3

It takes all sorts—– taxonomy of “types” encountered on the path

I’d be the last person to typecast or “label” anyone, but as the walk progressed it did seem evident to me that there were distinct “types” of characters inhabiting the coast path. Here’s an attempt at describing their salient characteristics.

All the young (surfer) dudes.

Habitat

VW Camper vans

Plumage

Wet suit, O’Neill shorts and tee shirt, thongs (on feet).  

Characteristics

Designer underpants-exposing, highlighted hair, Californian tanned (from a tanning booth in Wigan), sooooo cool.

Ageing surfer’s moll.

Habitat

Any surfers bar in close proximity to lads young enough to be their son.

Plumage

Mahogany tan (“done to a turn”- in all respects), cleavage-revealing, mini-skirted, heavy silver jewellery wearing, bottle blonded, haggard faced, beaded, and thong sporting ( not just on the feet in this case).

Characteristics

Drunk by 7pm and an embarrassment to younger family members.

Caravaners

Habitat

Middle lane of the motorway and hundreds of caravan sites around the SWCP.

Plumage

Dowdy beige.

Characteristics

Badge- displaying ( who gives a toss if you’ve been to Longleat?), lane-blocking.

The National Trust Couple

Habitat

Tea rooms, stately homes (behaving as if they own them), coast path viewpoints within no more than a hundred yards of the NT car park.

Plumage

Tweed jackets teamed with Viyela check shirts, brown brogue shoes and binoculars.

Characteristics

Cake-chomping, stick- wielding, tie- wearing (on sunny days), child-hating, Daily Mail reading, horticulturally–aware, down-the–nose gazing, tourist-hating ( because of course “we are not tourists”).

Second home owners

Habitat

Anywhere with a nice view, a harbour and a pint of “real ale”. Often found in villages that locals can’t afford to live in anymore.

Plumage

Salmon pink trousers, “Timberland” shoes, “White Stuff” shorts (or the even more ludicrous “cut-offs”), Kath Kidston accessories.

Characteristics

Reviled by locals, loud-mouthed, patronising, self-awareness-lacking, rich, unfriendly to locals and visitors alike, adept at pulling up ladders.

Village Youth

Habitat

Dozens of dead, or dying, villages in the West Country.

Plumage

Baseball caps, pale wasted faces, souped up cars (though they aren’t going far).

Characteristics

Neglected, hopeless, lost, forgotten, misunderstood, with all their dreams on hold.

Proprietors of rubbish B&Bs

Habitat

Poorly appointed, over-priced, under-heated, uncomfortable hovels.

Plumage

Middle England Chic.

Characteristics

Money- grabbing, false bonhomie dispensing, portion-controlling, greedy basta*ds.

The SWCP hiker.

Habitat

Village pubs selling local real ale, which they are guided to by their bible, the good pub guide.

Plumage

The hiker’s plumage is colourful, features plenty of pockets and zips and is acquired from Go Outdoors, Millets or, for the better-heeled, Rohan. There is a dowdier sub-species that tends to be disinterested in the garbage of garb and buys their kit on the basis of value for money and effectiveness, rather than colour coordination.

Characteristics

The SWCP walker is a sociable creature who often moves in groups of like-minded individuals, bantering loudly as they go, often to the dismay of those seeking quiet and solitude. They are overly fond of the paraphernalia of hiking, which means they are frequently seen with map cases festooned around their necks and GPS at the ready,

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