The ping backs on email tell their own story. ‘I’m out of the office till God knows when…see you some time in..er…early Summer..’
Whose idea was it to have the Easter holidays before Easter?
It used to be a long weekend – Good Friday to Easter Monday, back at work on Tuesday. Then it became a week either before or after Easter. Then two weeks overlapping Easter. Now it runs two weeks before Easter, and two weeks during and after.
It’s turned into an Easter Season like Christmas, beginning in March and running the entire month of April, largely because no one can agree when the Holy holiday should take place.
No one, it seems, knows on what day Jesus died, so the dates shift about, even though it must surely be easier to fix a date each year – like Christmas. After all, there are disagreements about when he was born.
This messing about with the calendar plays havoc in the homes of working parents who’d prefer school closures coincided with their own weekend shutdown. Others, of course, lap up the opportunity to top up their tan and can’t get to the Costas quick enough.
And just when everyone is back at their desks they are off again for the May Bank Holiday weekend. No wonder productivity in this country is so low.
- Easter Weekend is 14-17 April
Summer time, and the living is not so easy
Speaking of holidays, there has been a lot in the news this week about parents taking their children out of school during term time.
Was it really necessary to take this matter through the courts?
My father was a railway worker in Doncaster and we had to take our holidays (one week) in June when the rail works closed completely and every employee and their family was forced to spend seven days in Scarborough, Cleethorpes or some other rain-swept resort, whether they liked it or not.
It was presumably easier to administer, and for scheduling work, than having to deal with several thousand employees trying to book time off to fit in with the Moroccan sunset, cheaper offers, or whatever it is that forces people nowadays to irritate their stressed out colleagues by booking a holiday in February.
Despite the fact that a third of the town’s adults worked on the railways (the other two-thirds were miners or council staff) they still had to fill in a holiday form for permission to take their kids out of school. I do not recall any requests being rejected.
In any case, it was the last week of June and we were spending school time playing with bits of string, or whatever it was kids did in those days, as the disinterested teachers were already preparing for their own dash out of the school gates.
The only other scheduled holiday was ‘Race Week’ when the town was visited by the St Leger hordes and there was a presumption that our parents also spent their September earnings betting on the nags on Town Moor.
The most sensible thing about this was that the council delayed the start of the new school year until the races finished in the second week of September. It meant no one had to fill in a holiday form. And no one ever went to court.
A touch of survey-itis
Every aspect of the economy gets measured these days and it has created a whole new industry: compiling surveys. Newsdesks must receive at least a dozen every week.
Every property agent punts out quarterly reviews of the commercial sector, all saying much the same thing: that demand exceeds supply. That’s about all that needs to be said.
The retail sector is probably the keenest with monthly updates on spending, footfall, closures etc… and they come twice over, from the Scottish Retail Consortium and its London head office. Quite often they contradict each other so the papers one day have screeching headlines fearing a slump and the next they’re predicting a boom. It’s crackers.
Is a monthly survey of any real value? Does that much change over four weeks? The figures can be distorted by factors such as the weather, changes in holiday dates (see above), or an extraordinary event.
For any survey to be meaningful they ought to be conducted over at least six months. Maybe I should conduct a survey to find out what others think…
Getting in a froth over a cafe
There are times when my fellow professionals get a touch over-excited. Given the countless number of lurid headlines you’ll have seen I don’t suppose this comes as a surprise.
But I had to chuckle when I read one online news reporter’s “analysis” of an announcement last week that a 6,400 sq ft unit for a cafe in Dundee had come on to the market. Yes, you read that correctly. Analysis of a cafe to let.
Now, I have to admit that this is no ordinary cafe. No greasy spoons here. It sits within the city’s new station, now under construction. And it will offer its clientele some nice views across the Tay.
But the “analysis” could not have been better written by the property agent, let alone the PR man, who must have been delighted with the gushing commentary.
“What an opportunity we report on here today…”… “this one is a corker”…”one of the most remarkable regeneration projects in the UK”…”a cafe that could not be better placed”…”an amazing opportunity”….and so it went on.
It would not have been so bad if the writer was describing the launch of a multi-billion dollar investment.
It’s a cafe. Double espresso and a scone, please. That’s all.