The Bank Holiday Blues of a Brit

For those who don’t know what Bank Holidays are, they are those extra Mondays off that we get in the UK, often for no seeming reason. Basically they are a day where we need to find something to do, or not as the case may be.

We Must Do All the Things

Bank Holiday Brit Blues - are we having fun yet?There is an incredible amount of pressure as a UK resident to do something on a Bank Holiday. Suddenly we find ourselves arranging short stays to seaside resorts, doing all the DIY we have avoided for a decade, or taking the kids out for an incredibly expensive day trip that will mean eating beans on toast for the rest of the week.

We tell ourselves every time a Bank Holiday looms that this time we will spend it in a hangover fugue, smug that we managed to get pissed on a Sunday. However, unless we are 18, this usually does not happen. We are programmed to do something on this hallowed day.

We cannot possibly go back to work on Tuesday and say that we sat around on Monday, in our pants, watching a box set. Seeing as we usually do this at the weekend anyway, we are already well-versed in lying and will come up with some alternative version of our Bank Holiday.

It reminds me of when I was at primary school and every Monday we had to write what we did at the weekend. Even then I was a writer with an imagination. I was not content to write that Mum had dragged me around Woolworths again. Instead my weekend tales involved slaying dragons, riding a unicorn, becoming a millionaire, and the like.

Whilst a primary school teacher is willing to believe these kinds of lies I would not advise relating any of these tales to your work mates on Tuesday. They will either get you sectioned or wonder why the hell you’re at work when you are now rolling in dough.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Bank Holiday Brit Blues - rainy bank holidayYep, you guessed it. They always get me down, well sometimes. Sundays a little too. Since I was a child I have had a propensity to get a little blue on a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday. I have never been good with endings.

Unlike some perpetual Pollyannas I am not always adept at embracing the final moments as ones to be seized with good cheer. I am more a miserable Morrissey, awaiting doom and THE END, with good tunes to accompany me though.

As a 1980s kid, Sundays sucked. They were great in the day time as it meant you got to play longer. Once the tea time sandwiches had been snarfled and the jelly slurped, bath time and the threat of school next day loomed. Bank Holiday Mondays felt like Sunday delayed.

Sure, I loved that Sunday became a second Saturday but that extra holiday Monday became a Sunday dressed up as a holiday I was not even having.

Being in a family of seven, with a limited income and parents who did not drive always equalled zero trips to the beach for us. It was bad enough trying to get us all on the local bus without killing each other. It also did not help that we lived pretty much the furthest point away from a beach you could get in England. We had it hard in my day, I tell thee…

The World Loses it on a Bank Holiday Monday

Bank Holiday Brit Blues - stuck in trafficMy husband finds me amusing (read as ‘sometimes frustrating, possibly a reason to suffocate me in my sleep’) in how I will not do certain things if I think it’s going to be too busy. It’s my family’s trait. I am my mother’s daughter in that if I am going somewhere I would rather get there early before the hordes descend. I get on my own nerves, believe me.

I am lucky that I now live by the beach. I say ‘lucky’, however I will still say to the ever-suffering husband that I’ll give going out towards the main beach a wide berth on a Bank Holiday Monday, or a weekend, or the entire summer.

When you become a local you begin to despise the grockles who descend upon your home and take it over. Grockles are holiday makers, or translated by those who live in seaside towns ‘annoying gits’.

I was once a grockle. I have sat in traffic for six hours with what should have been a two hour journey. I have sweated in what is effectively a tin can with no air and hated every driver on the planet. I have been part of the world losing it on a Bank Holiday Monday. Never again.

The world loses it on this holiday. We are prepared to make mammoth car journeys for day trips where we spend more time in the car than at the destination. We choose to visit relatives we usually spend most of the year avoiding. We pay exorbitant entrance fees to theme parks or places of interest that aren’t interesting at all. We smile and say we’re having fun when really we’re already wishing we had stayed at home and we’re trying our best not to kill our relatives.

I know this isn’t always the case. Many of you will tell me how much you love Bank Holidays and had the best time this weekend. Lovely. Each to their own. I’m grumpy, can’t you tell?

When Bank Holidays are the Best

Bank Holiday Brit Blues - venn diagramMy kind of Bank Holiday is pretending it’s not happening at all. I go about my day as if it’s the weekend. It is not a day I must place in a shrine and worship. My day is not ruined if I didn’t do something extra big and extra fun with it.

At the risk of enhancing my clear grumpy git status, I hate organised fun. I detest being made to do something that ‘will be fun’. I’ll be the judge of that.

As a child I hated being made to take part in games and events under the guise of ‘it will be fun’. How the hell did anyone know if it would be? Only the participant would know. I wasn’t a loner. I choose to play games and take part in events because I was willing to see if it would be fun, not because I was told it would.

So you won’t find me as an adult making a list on 1st January for every Bank Holiday of the year, selecting everything that ‘will be fun’. I will go with the flow and enjoy that extra day with The Husband to be together.

I may go for a walk, a run, write, watch crap TV, do some shopping, or catch up on that never-ending list of ‘All the Stuff to Do’. I cannot tell you what I am doing today, apart from sharing this blog post, because I do not know yet. I like the thought of that.

Bank Holidays, for me, are best taking it easy and seeing where life takes me. I may land up at the same place of interest as those of you who planned it three years ago. I may even trek to the beach and then turn back when I see every square inch of sand is coated in bikini-clad and budgie smuggler-wearing grockles.

Rest assured, I’ll do something, let the day pass, and carry on as normal. Grumpy gitdom service will not be affected by Bank Holidays.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

7 comments on “The Bank Holiday Blues of a Brit

  1. I tend to treat Bank Holidays like an extra Saturday: catch up on my chores and to do list and chill in the evening. Because the alternative is sitting on the M5 Carpal and then spending the day in a place that’s twice as packed as normal. If I want a day to go somewhere, I’d rather book a random day off work when everyone and his dog won’t be off work too!

    1. I always feel a little bit smug going to places that others usually would on days when they would be working. It feels like I’m being naughty!

  2. I will join the Grumpy Gits club happily. I basically avoid the beach for the whole of August unless someone else insists I go, because I always end up getting sand kicked over me or a ball in the face, plus you have to dodge people just to go swimming. This is not fun. I will wait until September, thank you.

    1. Kim, I now love you just a little bit more! I am exactly the same about the beach in summer. I hate having to clamber for a tiny little spot on the beach only to have all the things you’ve mentioned occur. Roll on September eh?

  3. The clue is in the question. If I could cheer you up I would, but I’m currently watching Pulp Fiction.

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