Monday, 30 May 2011
Yet another (curiously named) Bank Holiday today and it's more than living up to the reputation they have of producing wet and miserable weather. For historical / religious reasons (it's the elephant in the room again - the Reformation) we have very few national, public holidays in Britain; strangely, it seems that a high proportion of them have fallen in May this year, the next not occurring until the end of August.
This particular holiday, of course, is part of the old "Whitsun" long weekend, divorced from its real significance and renamed the "Spring Bank Holiday" - by what we laughingly call a 'Conservative' government - some decades ago.
I like to think that if we had real "holidays" (that is, related to an actual celebration of something - preferably religious) the weather wouldn't be so cruel to us.
And on the subject of the nomenclature of our statutory holidays, religion may not be exactly popular in aggressively secularised Britian, but it's surely more popular than ....the banks?
"That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet......"
From Philip Larkin's 'The Whitsun Weddings'