A staycation - in THIS country, in THIS weather? Personally, I'd prefer an infestation. But sometimes it does seem more trouble than it's worth to get up at five in the morning in order to cruise for verrucas in pursuit of Abroad. However, I've found the perfect compromise - a halfwaycation. Go to Jersey!
With an hour's check-in at a civilized time and a half hour flight from Gatwick, it's quicker to get to from where I am than it is to practically any mainland seaside town beyond the South-East coast. And you land in a place which is both foreign and familiar - French street names, French weather and, in my case, quite a number of French 75 cocktails (gin, champagne, lemon juice and a kick like a particularly sour-tempered mule.) But no French people!
Instead you have the Jersois, who have been written off for too long as a pack of lounge lizards evading tax in a sunny place for shady people, but who I find absolutely delightful. Despite the comparative lack of welfare provisions and the low taxation of the rich here, all the people we spent time with seemed extraordinarily sure of their good fortune in living on this small, gorgeous island. Loads of residents are from off the rock - my friend there is a Liverpuddlian who would never dream of leaving. 'I've tried to get away, I went all the way to Australia to get away - I was back within a year,' a taxi driver from Newcastle told me. 'This place is just too beautiful to leave for long.'
Scattered around the island are the concrete bunkers the Nazis left behind when they were routed in 1945, and the brutalism makes the lushness of the landscape even more heartbreakingly lovely. I always stay at the cool and cosy L'Horizon on the tranquil St Brelade's Bay but this time we took a ten-minute car-ride across the tiny island to the surfer's paradise of St Ouens (my husband laid a restraining hand on my arm as I caught sight of the gorgeously choppy sea - I do like it rough) and the wild beauty of La Corbiere, where you can walk along the sea-path to the lighthouse at low tide, passing incredible Carribean-style natural jacuzzis as you do. The brilliant marine biologist Andrew Syvret at www.seajersey.com gives dazzling tours of the coastline. Unusually, you can actually rent out rooms and apartments in many of the most awesomely historic castles, forts and towers along the waterfront - all part of Jersey's Living Heritage campaign.
After all this yomping about, you're going to thoroughly deserve the solace of Jersey's totally lush bars and restaurants. As if you needed an excuse to slum it in this reassuringly expensive offshore Shangri-La, from the beginning of October to mid-November, the island will be celebrating its annual Tennerfest Food Festival, when over 170 of its gorgeous watering holes - such as the world-class Salty Dog in St Aubins - serve up banquets for £10. For the lazy and greedy among us, of which I am more than happy to number myself, another channel (half) hop may well be in order.