I’m not built for summer. We’ll, that’s not true, I’m absolutely perfect for a traditional British summer. I have a finely tuned sense of disappointment, and I once trapped four wasps under pint glass. The problem I find is that me at the weekend and me during the week are two very different animals in the summer.
These last few weekends of good weather have left me with an outstanding tan (head, neck, below the elbow, below the knee) and a mid-morning craving for flame-grilled meat and a cold beer. In fact, with Ben Stokes single-handedly completing cricket on hard mode, I’m practically an Australian. I even ran inside like a pampered Persian cat the other day when there were a few spots of rain.
This devil-may-care, Hawaiian shirt clad, outdoorsman is not equipped for the train on a Monday morning. Feet too long accustomed to flip flops scream in agony at the work brogue, the starched collar of a shirt is a hangman’s noose and legs encased in material cry out for the liberation of the cargo short.
Every week in the summer you can see the vestiges of the weekend on the Monday morning platform, the freedom and sunlight fading from their eyes as the train pulls in.
This Monday was particularly hard for some, as it was the Faversham Hop Festival this weekend. For many this annual bacchanal is an opportunity to discard the last vestiges of modern civilization and fully devote themselves dancing and sampling an array of Kent’s finest produce. A wonderful event to be sure, but how can one switch from this to the Monday drag in just a few short hours?
The pain is compounded as this is “back to school” week for most kids, which I suppose prepares them for the little death they will die every Monday once they become adults. Somebody recently suggested that schools should run all year round, with kids given holiday entitlement to be arranged when needed. It would have the effect of removing the “school holiday tax” as levied by certain popular holiday destinations, and make it slightly easier to plan for childcare. Teachers aren’t keen, obviously, and who can blame them, but it’s worth considering.
On the other hand, perhaps we could all move on to a scholastic timetable, allowing us to go fully feral during the summer months, and hibernate over Christmas. Imagine the boost in the national mood as everyone went on holiday at the same time. It would be like one giant works outing from the olden days. Although hopefully without the the poverty, prejudices and polio that our 1950s nostalgists often forget.
Maybe the economy would suffer a bit over the holidays, all the shops would be shut and the pubs of course, but maybe some people would want holiday jobs. I don’t know, I’ve not really thought out the details…I just don’t want to go back to school.