Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bank Holiday whether

Honestly, it's not a typo. Let me explain...

Occasionally, very occasionally, within the walls of Tense Towers, everything is not sweetness and light. Probably not a shock, eh? Well, the cause of one of these infrequent bones of contention is the fact that Our Lass and I do not have synchronised public holidays. You can be a bit shocked at that, possibly even for the fact that Our Lass would want to share 24 hours of unfettered access to curmudgeonly old me.

The reason for the 'days off' disparity is... actually, I've no idea, but let me try to navigate you through the evidence as presented.

Orkney is part of Scotland (just don't remind it too often).

Scotland is part of the UK (defo don't remind it too often).

England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also part of the UK (there's a whole continuum of remind, or not, going on there).

So, Our Lass and I live in the UK, governed from Westminster in London. We also live in Scotland, governed by a Scottish Parliament with some devolved powers. And, just for added spice, we live in Orkney as well, with the Orkney Islands Council (OIC) having local powers. 

Our Lass works for a nominally UK-wide, umbrella organisation, the National Health Service (NHS). No, they don't make umbrellas [sigh]. In reality, she is employed by NHS Scotland through NHS Orkney. With me so far?

I work for an Orcadian charity with links to a larger umbrella Scottish charity. No, they don't make umbrellas either. Actually, with all this talk of handy gadgets to keep the rain off, it's turning into the perfect Bank Holiday weather blogpost! But I digress.

Apologies if, following the General Election, you've had it up to here [signals above head height] with charts and graphs, but here's my explanation as an Excel document...

Apart from January and December, there's not a great deal of correlation. Add in the fact that the Orkney work ethic, as a principally rural environment where farmers have to put in a shift every day, doesn't necessarily follow officialdom, and you can probably see that there's going to be trouble at Tense Towers.

So far, this year, if I've been in doubt, I've turned up for work and discovered all the businesses around our site are all open and busy. Admittedly, this does precious little for Our Lass's humour, but as I say, "When in Rome..." 

No, let's not look to see which national holidays they take in Italy!

The latest instance of 'Bank Holiday whether' occurred on the 4th of May. I went off to work as normal and was able to book the firm's van into a local garage for a small repair. The morning's weather was typically Orcadian, a few sunny periods interspersed with heavy showers of hail. By the time I left work and headed home, it was fine and dry, so Our Lass and I decided to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and wandered down the hill to the coast. En route, passing between rough pasture and lush fields, we expected to be bombarded by irate waders, busy setting up and defending territories, but all was strangely quiet. Perhaps this oddness made me pay more particular attention, I don't know, but we were surprised to see several broods of tiny Lapwing chicks being ushered into hiding between tussocks of grass. Wowser, I didn't know that they hatched this early in the year!

We sat on a stone bridge parapet, where a stream flowed onto the beach, watching Oystercatchers bathing in rock pools and listening to Swallows as they skimmed low over the fields and verges around us. It turned into a balmy evening, with Snipe drumming overhead, a male Hen Harrier incurring the wrath of every breeding wader in the area and a male Sandwich Tern catching fish to tempt Mrs Tern with a bit of courtship feeding.

Coldplay's 'Yellow' kept popping into my head, as every field, garden, churchyard and roadside verge was covered in the colour of Spring. Coltsfoot were still in flower, accompanied by Dandelions, Lesser Celandines, Primroses, Marsh Marigolds, Daffodils and Cowslips. Yeah, they were all yellow.

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