Over the last year, I’ve been sometimes puzzled by the things I’ve missed during lockdown. And August Bank Holiday Monday (on the 30th August) reminded me of one more thing.
Maybe it seems perverse to miss something that isn’t so very different from what we’ve all been experiencing of late. One of the traditional options for a Bank Holiday is to spend the time at home doing some of those outstanding DIY jobs, which is a lot like what many of us have been doing during lockdown. Taking the day off work? Well, I work at home anyway and can dictate my own timetable, but that’s not such a novelty these days either. True, the idea of jumping into the car and joining a traffic jam that leads most of the way to the nearest piece of busy coastline hasn’t been possible, but frankly it never was at the top of my list for Bank Holiday pleasures. So of all the things I could have missed, why Bank Holidays?
Thinking about it, the thing I’ve missed the most is that Bank Holidays have always been different – even from other holidays. Usually there are people back in the office when you take a holiday, so it’s tempting to wonder what’s happening while you’re away – but on a Bank Holiday most offices are closed so you can be pretty certain that nothing’s going on. One day isn’t really enough to do anything that requires extensive planning, so it tends to be a day when we’re free of the normal routine, and can just decide on the spur of the moment what to do. The thing about Bank Holidays is that they’re a change from the everyday – and that’s what I’ve really missed the most, because recently they’ve become just another day.
So today I’m writing in praise of the Bank Holiday, and in the hope that in future they’ll regain their ‘something special’ status. When I turned to the internet to find out when the idea of a Bank Holiday started, I was surprised to find that they haven’t been a feature of the calendar since the year dot. Sir John Lubbock drafted a Parliamentary bill to create Bank Holidays in 1871 – although the May Day Bank Holiday reflects May Day celebrations that go back to at least Roman Times in England, if not before. Unlike many of our much loved institutions, the name does give you some clue as to the original intention – they were named Bank Holidays because the banks closed 🙂 As time went on, other industries gradually followed suit and took the day off.
Since the Queen can add new Bank Holidays to the rota, I’m wondering what might be a good candidate. A Midsummer Bank Holiday, maybe, so that we don’t get a rash of them around April and May, and then have to wait until August for the next one. Maybe having too many Bank Holidays would destroy their charm – but I think that the current eight might be increased to ten, just for the sake of having a round number? Perhaps we could have a poll every year, where different dates are suggested for the following year and everyone votes on it? That way we can celebrate different Bank Holidays that are relevant to whatever’s going on in that particular year. Do you have any suggestions?
And – since one of my favourite pursuits for a day off is reading, this leads me on to my latest release. Which is sadly too late for the Bank Holiday 🙂 This book is one half of a duo with the lovely Louisa Heaton – both stories are set at St Barnabas’s Hospital in Richmond, Surrey. So don’t forget to check out Louisa’s story Twins for the Neurosurgeon as well!
The Doctor’s Reunion to Remember by Annie Claydon
Second chance at forever!
In this Reunited at St Barnabas’s Hospital story, Dr Gil Alexander has adapted to a slower-paced life and his partial memory loss, following his traumatic brain injury. But when Dr Clemmie Francis arrives at his rehabilitation centre, he can’t shake the feeling he’s met this captivating yet cautious doctor before…