High days and Holy days

grumpyowl.jpgThis is going to be a very selfish, mean-spirited, churlish, curmudgeonly, whingeing and Grumpy Old Woman sort of post.  There.  You’ve been warned.  For more enlightened, friendly, positive, cheerful reading you could try some of the links on my blogroll instead.  Iota’s started posting again about life in the States and she’s always entertaining and currently much more enthusiastic than me.  Or there’s Reluctant Memsahib who writes about homeschooling, schooling of the boarding variety but mainly day to day living in the Tanzanian outback.  And you could try Potty Mummy, Mother at Large and Pig in the Kitchen for general entertainment and cooking tips.  Oh, and I nearly forgot Fidra books who are offering to give away books to schools.  I hope you’ve all gone now so I can complain in peace.

Well, brother-in-law got engaged at Christmas. Good news! Exciting news, even, as his fiancee only appeared on the scene in September; Mother-in-law had, I think, secretly started to give up hope of any more grandchildren and suddenly hope came galloping into our Christmas celebrations.  Sister-in-law to be, who keeps bats and rats (yes, really! And legally), seems to be very nice and will, I’m sure, fit in well the rest of the family once everyone gets to know her. So that’s not why I’m whingeing.

By New Year they’d decided there was no point hanging around, bats or otherwise, and they would get married as soon as humanly possible.  Date No. 1, a weekday in mid-February coincided with my last chemo treatment and would have meant three days off school for the boys so we said we wouldn’t be there.  You can always tell when there are no school age children yet, can’t you?  So Date No 2 was settled upon.  Good Friday.  March 21st.  1330 in the wilds of Somerset.  Great.

View from our Crete apartment windowHaving already vetoed one date, it was a little difficult to veto a second although brother-in-law No 2 had a very good try.  For starters, Easter is so early this year that every school on the planet will be breaking up on the Thursday – well, every school that doesn’t charge fees, that is – so the whole of Britain will be travelling on Good Friday.  We’ll have to leave on the Thursday to defy the M6 parking lot and have any chance of getting there on time.  Brother-in-law No2 and his partner already had other arrangements which they’ll no doubt change.

But that’s not my real gripe.  Oh no!  We’re going on holiday at Easter.  Yes, we are going on holiday at Easter.  Our last family holiday was in October 2006, quite recent by most standards, Gnossus1.JPGI appreciate,  when we went to Crete, we experienced the 100 year storm and the Greek government declared a state of emergency.  It did stop raining long enough for us to visit Gnossus (wonderful) and go snorkelling off the beach, so all was not lost.  We promised the boys we’d go somewhere in  2007 where it wouldn’t rain but events intervened.  Grandad died and Standard Grades loomed large, so Easter was spent in Somerset and at home.  “We’ll go in the summer.”  I spent the summer in plaster.  “October’s a good time for a holiday.”  The Gnossus2surgeon’s knife did for that one.  Christmas, mid-chemo, was for family in Somerset and London.  Meanwhile, my brother in Abu Dhabi was demanding that we visit the desert and, with the OK from the oncologist, we settled on Easter.  We all feel in need of a proper holiday.

It was going to be so simple.  There are flights from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi that don’t break the bank and don’t involve getting to London first.  A week in the desert, we thought, and then perhaps a few days or a week somewhere else in sunshine.  According to yesterday’s papers, Vitamin D is good for cancer prevention.  We could coincide with my nieces’ visit as well.  We bragged about it at Christmas but were clearly ignored.  That’ll teach me.

Oh well.  I’m over it now and I’ve stopped growling at any talk of weddings although I can’t help sighing at the thought of something so simple suddenly becoming hugely complicated and expensive.  We will still go but a few days later than planned.  We’ll still overlap with the nieces. We’ll either have to curtail the extra jaunt or take a day or two from the start of term.  (Did I say that? The mean, cruel mother who makes her eldest turn up on the last day of term to watch videos?  “I don’t care if you don’t do anything and your friends aren’t there.  If the teachers turn up, you’ll turn up.”) We’ll somehow factor in getting to the wedding and back with happy smiles on our faces. 

But just a final thought.  Who on earth gets married on Good Friday?  A day of mourning and the most holy day in the Christian calendar?  My hypocritical, non-church going, adult self knows that we would probably have flown on holiday on Good Friday, but not without a twinge of childhood Catholic guilt creeping in, particularly as 3pm loomed.  “Should be in Church” I still think every year.   Perhaps it shows how secular society has become, that we can plan a wedding without any thought as to what Good Friday really means.  

OK, grumbling over.  I’ve written it down – that’s it done, dusted, forgiven.  I’ll make my next post a happy, enthusiastic post I promise.  From now on I’ll be enthusiastic about weddings and holidays.  Good Friday is, after all, about forgiveness is it not? 

13 thoughts on “High days and Holy days

  1. Wow, hope you now feel better…a fantastic grumble..enjoyable to read all the same! Glad to read your earlier post to regarding remission and the guardian article on vitamin D is v.interesting.

  2. Perhaps you could insist on there being a fish option at the wedding lunch, GPM, to salve your latent Catholic conscience. And then ignore it, of course – just to serve them right for messing up your holiday dates.

    If it’s any help, though, I know that most of the state schools in London are actually not taking their Easter holiday at Easter. They have the long weekend, of course, but then everyone goes back to school on Tuesday for a couple of weeks before the proper Easter break of a fortnight – so the roads might not be as bad as you expect on the Thursday. I’m reliably informed by my teacher friends that this is to avoid a ridiculously long summer term. The private schools of course, are sticking with the norm and will simply tack yet more onto their summer holidays to prevent that problem (the more you pay, the less they teach…).

    Thanks for the name-check, btw – but anyone who does visit me, be warned; expect no cooking tips. Other than the odd mention of good restaurants of course (no, actually, that would be Dulwich Mum…).

  3. Hello Bill – Yes, I feel much better for that, thank you, and quite happy about life, holidays and weddings. The Guardian article set me wondering how we get Vit D during the winter, when we go out with only the tiniest bit of our face exposed to daylight. In fact, I pulled my ungloved hands out of my pockets and crossed the road to the sunny patch yesterday in the hopes of a vitamin supplement! Not much chance of that today, though – even my solar powered watch has gone on strike.

    Fish, PM, why didn’t I think of that! And gluten-free fish, even better. Hadn’t twigged about the london schools. Tha Scottish schools probably welcome an early Easter to avoid a ridiculously short summer term. The cooking tips was a bit of literary licence, wasn’t it – but I’m sure we all pick up lots of tips from Pig’s blog.

  4. Jings GPM – what a guddle. And the wedding and holidays should both be joyful occasions ( though you know something – arrangements for either rarely run smoothly!)

    I am keenly awaiting your posts after both events!

    Hope you are keeping well and doing the resting bit between chemo that is required whilst enjoying the times when you feel “at your best” ( it’s all relative of course).


  5. You are so kind to give me a namecheck.

    Ranting about family is good for the soul, and will counteract any negative effects of the wedding being on Good Friday (although that does feel a bit odd to me too…)

    You make a marvellous GOW (grumpy old woman, of course). You could start a group for GOWs NHW.

  6. Hi Jackie – I see you’re still American. Both events will be joyful and enjoyed by all, including me. If I can get travel insurance that doesn’t bankrupt us, that is.

    Iota & Jen – Rant is over, done, system is cleansed, no more drama, and I’m just hoping brother-in-law, SHW, doesn’t chance upon this site! There might well be updates if that happens! Reluctant Memsahib has described it as “spiritual exfoliation” on her site; rather a grand term for a GOW post but I do feel suitably exfoliated.

  7. Thanks for the namecheck, very kind of you, and I enjoyed the rant. Does Good Friday count as Lent? Or is it over by then? What’s that saying – Marry in Lent, hasten to repent, or something.

  8. It was indeed a well thought out, reasoned and reasonable rant. I very much enjoyed reading it, and I think you would have been within your rights to point out that you had a holiday booked.
    Doesn’t the bible say, ‘it’s better to marry than to burn’…but presumably their passion has already been assuaged and they could hang on a bit longer?! Until everyone has finished holidaying?!

  9. Glad your spirits are back to normal. As the writer above says the schools in London get good Friday and Easter Monday off, then we return for another two weeks. It probably means you get the worst of both worlds! Can’t you get a flight from Heathrow or Bristol on friday evening? I’m very interested in Batlady.

  10. Flights are now booked, insurance waiting for another day. We’ll dash down the motorway & back – it’s too complicated/expensive to fly from Bristol or Heathrow when there are cheap flights from Edinburgh, which is where we’d like to be at the end of the holiday.

    Pig – they only met in September and are in the throes of high passion where there is no world outside oneself. I think I distantly remember that feeling (21 years this summer).

    Hi Pat – I gather Batlady & partner have been in touch. Batproofing the cottage may be a fair exchange for a week’s rent.

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