I’ve just made my third cup of tea of the day.
The kitchen is in a state of organised disarray.
There’s dishes to be washed and put away and there’s not a lot of surface space left to actually make tea in the first place, but I managed.
It’s sunny outside.
Lots of cloud but no sign of snow; just a wind as brisk as the Arctic (especially at the top of rather tall Peaks) that makes you all the more grateful for the totally-seasonally-appropriate weather today.
The shadows are lengthening across the laminate floor and the light brushing our living room ceiling is golden and warm.
It makes the tea, the sofa and my mood in general as soft and sweet as maple syrup (which incidentally I had on my breakfast this morning).
It’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in England and for the first time in a long time I’m not working during it.
A long time ago Bank Holidays and weekends would not be spent at work; they were enforced periods of time spent with family and friends, in the house or out and about, depending on your circumstance. The idea of going to work on these public holidays was (mostly) unheard of.
When I was younger, Bank Holidays were starting to be used by shops and pubs and public services as extra working days; which suited the people not working as it meant more leisure services were available for use. For the employees they were something of a bonus because working a Bank Holiday meant ‘Double time’; so, yes, you’d spend the day at work, away from family and friends (which lets be honest is sometimes preferable!) but your wage packet would be that much heavier. Okay then. Tit for tat.
Nowadays that incentive has been mostly taken away. Most places (even offices and businesses) are open all day, every day and employers no longer have the funds or the desire to reward their staff for missing out on valuable rest time. ‘Double time’ became ‘Time and a half’ became ‘a day in lieu’. Today, most people are lucky to receive even that for working a Bank Holiday weekend.
For my entire working life (until now) I have worked for companies who have expected me to work weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays as par for the course. No incentives (financial or otherwise) and no chance to decline them. No chance to put your family and leisure time first. I didn’t realise how much I missed having free weekends and Bank Hols until today, until right now even; sitting here, drinking tea on the sunny sofa and practically purring under my breath with peace and satisfaction.
It’s like Christmas come early.*
I spent yesterday evening in front of a blazing fire, eating good food, drinking the health of those I love and gazing at the beauty of the stars.
Today I went walking up two of the three Peaks (Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones if you’e wondering) and caught my breath at the beauty and majesty of this Land that is my home.
I came home and cooked another meal for my Husband and friends, which we ate with gusto and polished off with thickly buttered bread and wedges of intriguing and exciting cheese (beer cheese, people, beer cheese!).
And now (as I’ve said) I am on the sofa; sated, softened and full.
The boys are playing a board game and we women are reclining in mutual silence.
The air is warm and easy, we are comfortably bubbled in joy.
And the kitchen is clean enough and the kettle is full and the cheeses have been gathered and wrapped in cling film in a way that only my mother could have done, surely.
And work and wages and time and incentives are all a million miles away.
I am more blessed than I know.
Bank Holiday Greetings everyone!
* And there is likely some irony there, what with Christmas being the other big Christian holiday alongside Easter (which is also this weekend)… but I’m too blissed out to find it.