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Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Laterally SpeakingLaterally Speaking

Laterally Speaking

I love having special days—days to plan, celebrate and to look forward to. We’ve got religious special days like Easter and Christmas and this month we’ve got two Bank Holidays when everything closes including banks (which may make no difference to you if your local bank has been closed for the last 3 years). Bank holidays are also an occasion to join the traffic jams along the A35 while awaiting your turn to sit on the one available square metre of sand on Bournemouth beach. Then there’s a mixed bag of uncategorized special days—some of them well known like Guy Fawkes or Valentine’s Day and even the American import of Halloween, although quite why we all go mad for orange witches and black spiders is still a mystery to me! In addition to Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day (both of which are exclusively owned by the Greeting Card industry), we also have lesser-known celebrations such as World Elephant Day (August 12th), Be Nice To Nettles Day (May 24th) and Europe Day (May 9th) although this last one may not be so popular after Brexit!
In the UK, we don’t have that many proper holidays. We’ve only got 8 while the USA has 11, Spain has 14, Japan has 16 and India has a whopping 18 holidays a year. So, we definitely deserve some more. Here is my lateral selection of new holidays for a post-lockdown UK. Take your pick. I already have. All of them!
Dumping Day: After all the romance and kisses of Valentine’s Day in February, we need an antidote to loving soppiness. I suggest Dumping Day (only for singles) in the middle of March, when partners can separate without any shame or unpleasantness and try to be romantic again with somebody else. Please note… if you’re married, this day does NOT apply to you! If you’re too shy to tell your partner to his/her face that your relationship is doomed, you can buy them a Dumping Card containing words like “So sorry, but this isn’t going to work between us” or “Dear (your name), it’s been fun but I’m afraid you and I cannot be an item anymore” or even more brutally “It’s over!”. Let a well-chosen Greetings (or in this case Goodbye) Card save you embarrassment and do the dirty work for you at a distance.
Family Dinner Day: I enjoy watching celebrity TV chef programmes if only to serve as a reminder of what is technically possible, compared to what has actually been served up under lockdown. Indeed, this magazine is full of highly talented cooks and their intricate recipes. But I think it may have all gone too far and is now overly rich and fussy. I have to confess that over recent isolationist months I’ve become addicted to crinkly oven chips and even factory made fresh sliced bread. It’s the trouble-free convenience that I find appealing. Family Dinner Day is therefore a rebellion against overly fancy posh food and will encourage a return to good old fashioned English nosh for one day in the year. It’s like pushing the reset button on my tummy. I’m removing my upmarket Beurre blanc and chucking my over-priced Ragu of wild boar (with freshly snouted truffles) into the recycling bin for one day, where it will be perfectly at home. Instead, let me have a good old-fashioned dinner of Toad-in-the-Hole followed by super solid jam roly-poly or bread and butter pudding smothered in lashings of custard. Plus chips!
David Attenborough’s Wildlife Wednesday: Held in late Spring, this day celebrates the glory of nature. Viewers will watch Attenborough animal programmes on an endless loop through the day. Every year Sir David is keen to publicise our very tiniest animals and insects who may be small in size, but are huge in evolutionary importance. Last year he was seen climbing up windows and walls as he celebrated the humble house fly. This year, his guest will be Greta Thunberg who will arrive dressed as an ant.
Austerity Day: Now that we’re coming out of lockdown and things are starting to return to normal, don’t you really miss those long periods of blessed home isolation and loneliness? Remember how you never had to ‘tidy up’ just because Auntie Pat was perhaps coming round for coffee. Naturally she never came round and nor did anyone else. I wore the same shirt for several months and nobody noticed! (Except my wife who has an excellent sense of smell). Austerity Day is the day when you stay at home and can wear and do exactly as you like. Just like last year! You can’t go out because everywhere will be closed in memoriam of lockdown. No visitors, no guests—just the two of you at home by yourselves! Sit in quiet contemplation and remembrance of the pandemic. Start to read one of those many books you said you would read during lockdown, but never even opened, let alone actually read.
St Netflix Day: Once the pandemic has truly passed, various international bodies will bestow awards to organisations who did the most to help us all during lockdown. Netflix is one such example and is even up for canonization by the Vatican. During this day, all streaming services will be free and St Netflix will bless the airwaves and waft dogmatic incense over every roof in the UK (subscribe now—special St Netflix offer is only £199 per home).
Forgetful Friday: Celebrated in mid-December, everyone has to write down all the things they were supposed to have done over the last year but haven’t been able to complete. The finished list is also useful a fortnight later as it becomes your list of New Year’s Resolutions—things that you really HAVE to do before next New Year. This list has to be compiled before Christmas, otherwise you’ll eat so much and have such fun over the holiday, you’ll forget everything on it.

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