Sunday, 9 October 2011

Quick Quintet: High Days and Holidays

I used to love the summer holidays during my student years. I have heard that some people didn't - apparently they got bored. Where was their imagination? True, the holidays seemed to stretch on forever, but that was the joy of them. You could always postpone that essay on Marxist interpretations of linguistic theory while you went to pubs in the afternoon and drank real ale in the sunshine.

When I was little there were games to play, when I got older there were boys to see, and there were always books to read and, if you were lucky, countries to visit. Inter-railing around Europe was a teenage rite of passage. And then there were the summer jobs. We went hop-picking or worked in factories and shops to save up for the holiday, or the records, or the clothes or the fags. And we thought how lucky we were that we would never have to do this full-time. Clearly we were wrong, but we were young and life was fun.

Now life is still fun, but holidays are shorter and every day off is precious. When we can mark it with a celebration it is even better. Here are my favourite:

The Best 5 Holidays*:
  1. Christmas: Family; friends; food; bubbles; lights; tinsel; glittery stuff; good cheer and, if you're lucky, snow - who could ask for anything more?
  2. Easter: Now that I no longer have to run around the forest in my pyjamas, I love Easter. It's a time of rebirth and new beginnings; a chance to catch up with friends and family; lambs and daffodils; green grass and the promise of Spring.
  3. St George's Day: A chance to celebrate all things English, recite Shakespeare, listen to Britpop, drink real ale, eat cheese and pickle sandwiches and even indulge in a spot of Morris Dancing.
  4. Harvest Festival: The cornucopia of colours; the abundance of wine; the church  floral arrangements and window displays with sheaves of wheat; the bigs hats and village fetes; the collections of canned food for the aged; the chance to use words like bounty, abundance, and cornucopia.
  5. Guy Fawkes night: The smell of cordite and mischief in the air; bonfires, baked potatoes and toffee apples; fireworks exploding in showers of colour in the night sky; a brisk chill and the thought of witches; and, if I remember rightly, a damn fine rave or two.
* You will notice, these are all Northern Hemisphere-based holidays - as I've pointed out before; they just don't make sense down here.

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