Don’t Bank on A Holiday
I’m strange, I admit it. I can almost feel a slight breeze emanating from all the heads that are nodding enthusiastically at that statement, so I’ll tell you why. I’m not that keen on Bank Holidays. There. I’ve said it, and now you’re all saying ‘I always knew that one was a weird one’ as well as nodding enthusiastically.
Well, I used to be the same as everybody else. Sweeping statement there, slightly unbelievable, I grant you considering that nowadays, I don’t give a fuck about everyone else and hell, yeah if I want to wear a neon pink wiggle dress with a pair of Doc Martens to my friend’s wedding (it won’t last anyway, sorry, ‘Chelle); have a little nap in the middle of the day (okay, perhaps I shouldn’t have dropped off on a potential client’s sofa!) or pour ketchup on cheese and tomato pizza (doesn’t everyone?) then, hell, yeah baby. Let’s do it.
To be honest, whilst I do partake of all of the above, and also not giving a flying fig about what the rest of you are doing, in relation to those awful weekends the nation seems to love, and by this, I’m referring to Bank Holiday Weekends, of course, I was a pretty bog standard kind of girl back in the day.
You see, that’s the problem with modern day society. Right from the first day we’re born and the midwife wraps you in either a blue blanket or a pink one; we’re taught practically from birth that we have to conform. Once we’re compartmentalised by our pink or blue blanket, throughout our lives from cradle to grave, we’re taught to be the same as everyone else. Go to school, Do your Homework, Pass Exams, Go To University; Get a Job; Have a Relationship; Become a Parent; Don’t Smoke; Drink in Moderation; Set an Example; Save For Your Retirement; oh, and if you wouldn’t mind dying by the age of 75 to save the economy having to fork out for your care home fees, that’d be very acceptable. And of course, there’s one thing I’ve missed off this list – and that’s Do As Much as You Possibly Can on Bank Holiday.
Up to now, I’ve done the being born bit, I’ve gone to school, I even managed to pass some exams and somehow end up with a couple of degrees. I’ve had jobs; relationships, kids, and I don’t smoke. I won’t go into the rest of the list because somehow, I’ve gone a bit off kilter and besides, I’m not dead yet. The other thing that I have been guilty of in the past is the Bank Holiday thing.
What on earth possessed me back in the days of my extreme youth to think that it was going to be fun getting into my little car – in those days I was poor, and I drove a nippy little Citroen AX that never seemed to need petrol more than one a year (thank God, because I couldn’t afford it) – so, yes, I used to get into my little car, packing reluctant and ever growing children into the back and I’d head off to Do Something On Bank Holiday. I’m afraid none of the children have grown out of their fear of enclosed spaces, or Bank Holidays. They’re not that keen on small French cars, either if the truth be known.
The problem of travelling with growing children in a small French car was that we always seemed to be going to the one place that everyone else in the northern hemisphere seemed to be heading for. This always proved to be a major source of disappointment because in my head I’d have idyllic visions of bright, sunny beaches with a tartan picnic rug spread out across golden sand and a wicker picnic basket spilling contents such as poached salmon, couscous salad with herbs and vegetables, potted stilton, raspberry fool, Pimms with lemon and mint jelly; well behaved children smiling happily throwing a Frisbee to each other in an orderly fashion. The reality was always a little bit of a let down because I’d be stuck inside an exceptionally small car on the A55 heading towards North Wales or the M6 heading for the Lake District in a somewhat desperate struggle to get to a destination – any destination would do by now – and escape the confines of the small car to pretend to enjoy a day out with growing children. Sadly the beach would usually not be bright and sunny with golden sand but the weather would turn distinctly Bank Holiday-ish and by that I mean a Weather Warning for Heavy Rain for Ever would have been issued and the beach would have a tardy look about it as if someone had spilt some diesel over it whilst spreading used condoms and leaving one flip – flop behind.
The contents of the picnic basket by the time we arrived would always look slightly dilapidated too. They’d also have some suspicious looking finger prints all over the sausage rolls because the youngest would have managed to somehow wriggle out of the very expensive car seat that the Government made young mothers in penury purchase before we could take our children out for a bank holiday treat, and somehow the picnic basket would have been raided and contents eaten and abandoned with a secrecy that MI5 would have admired, if only they had known about it.
Of course, as Bank Holidays became more sophisticated, we progressed on from the beach into the fascinating world of the Retail Park. You could happily leave your precious offspring in the hands of a complete stranger, usually younger than you, and let them cavort in a ball pool or monkey jungle whilst you engaged in a bit of retail therapy in Ikea purchasing furniture that you wouldn’t be able to assemble because you couldn’t understand the instructions and any bit of cheap tat that Ikea decided to get rid of by assembling it invitingly near the checkout and calling it a bargain.
Then you’d have to take them to the café because after all, ninety nine pence for four Swedish meatballs and a lump of mash that would repair the hole in the garden wall was quite a bargain AND the kids would get a free lollipop which would keep their gobs shut on the way home on the M62 as the small French car joined an endless queue of other families all trying to escape from the perils of Swedish furniture and useless tat. Plus, I wouldn’t have to cook Sunday dinner, either thanks to the meatballs.
So, fast forward to today, and thankfully the children have grown enough to not have to get into a small French car and accompany me on a bank holiday jaunt to the seaside or for a dip in a ball pool in a Swedish furniture warehouse. Nowadays, I’m much more choosy what I do on a bank holiday and I drive a Mercedes.