Bank Holiday – watching the world go by

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Why ‘Bank’ holidays? they don’t have them in most other countries including France and USA.

In the UK we owe our statutory bank holidays to John Lubbock, first Baron of Avebury, scientific writer (who studied ants and tried to teach his poodle to read), banker and politician and who, in 1871, drafted the Bank Holiday Bill which, when it became law, created the first bank holidays. The first meaning of holiday in the Oxford English Dictionary is: A consecrated day, a religious festival, (now usually written holy-day ).

We arose lazily and I had a good breakfast of Wheatabix now renamed ‘Bixies’. At least two  cups of coffee do I have in the morning accompanied by toast and marmalade. I’m not supposed to be on a regime that includes sugar and unfortunately there was too much sugar in the marmalade so I experienced an acid stomach. I never know when the balance is going to be tipped. I suffered accordingly but it soon passed.

We decided to visit the allotments over which I preside. About six tenants were working away industriously. In the recent winds, one of the sheds blew over and landed several yards from the original position. I got three other people to help me put it back again. There is not much of it left but at least it has a roof.

We decided to repair to Wetherspoons. I get an occasional desire to have a glass of Guinness accompanied by a double shot of whiskey. Francoise kindly bought the round. I was surprised at  the price which was a couple of pounds more than I had calculated. As it happened the bartender misheard  when Francoise ordered a cider thinking she wanted a whole pint when in fact she had ordered a half. I queried this in a friendly and joking way. I was given a refund and we all went on our way. Part of the problem was that the bartender was busy and during our transaction he was distracted by questions from other staffers.

We sat in the outdoors area in the sun and enjoyed the fact that we had nothing to do. Whilst at the bar, I spotted a sign ‘managers special’ offering a sirloin steak and chips for £4.99. I was very tempted to have some so after some prevarication I finally gave in. As it happened the steak was very good and well cooked. There were no frills just a steak and chips nothing else but I’m not complaining as it was a meal in itself. Francoise had a curry. We spent some more time doing nothing. The only trouble with eating outside is that the breeze cools down the food at a faster rate than I was able to eat it.

I reflected that a restful break from routine doesn’t have to involve anything fancy but simply giving oneself a pause from the feeling of obligation of having to do something.

We still have to take advantage of our ‘two for one’ rail pass which I bought in July last year.

During the afternoon I flicked through some TV channels on the European cultural channel ARTE and found a dissertation about Moliere, a playwright actor and philosopher’s who changed the course of the history of drama in France and had a very strong relationship with Louis the 14th. This year  being the 400th anniversary of his birth, is being celebrated throughout France and it is one of those occasions when I would like to go over and see a play. Most of them (37) are Comedy dramas.

The rules about lockdown and mask wearing and access to public places are much stricter in France so the chances of our going there while the present conditions prevail are almost zero apart from the fact that Francoise doesn’t have a French passport at the moment which she would need to travel.

Funny, a day which starts of with no plans ends up being full.