It is late August and the weather is so dismal here in Hertfordshire that you need the lights on mid-afternoon in order to read your book without squinting. And tomorrow we hail the last of the official UK summer public holidays which brings with it the Notting Hill Carnival 2015, Europe’s biggest street festival. This year we already have warnings for thundery downpours, wind and lightning. Well, that’s the UK for you folks.
Weather is often the main theme of Bank Holidays, because the UK is second to bottom of the global list for the number of public holidays we are allocated. Each one is therefore heavy with anticipation, as workers unite in their need to make the most of a bonus day off which could bring with it a trip to the seaside, a long weekend away, an extra duvet day or simply a day pottering about in the garden.
Newspapers the day after invariably have pictures of drenched people being soaked on a pier by rogue waves, umbrellas turned inside out, although in fairness we do also occasionally get photos of sunburnt citizens lying prone on a pebbly beach eating chips and ice cream. Often just to spice things up there are massive queues on motorways, rail strikes and other jolly travel disruptions.
Until 1834, the Bank of England observed about 33 saints’ days and religious festivals as holidays, but in 1834 this was reduced to four: 1 May (May Day), 1 November (All Saints’ Day), Good Friday and Christmas Day. Nowadays we observe about 8 public holidays per annum, which is the second to lowest public holiday entitlement in the world. (India has the most with 18-21 depending on the province).
So let’s make each one count. Have a good one, whatever the weather.
And in case the sun fails to make an appearance, commit this to memory:
Annie Bee x