Sunday, 18 September 2011

It's the end of the holidays....

Bath, and I am sure Britain as a whole, felt a bit like the passenger pick-up point outside Bristol Airport this week.

I was there on Tuesday night picking up my daughter and three of her friends who had just come back from ‘Costa Del Nightclub’ after a week-long break which I prayed was nothing like The Inbetweeners Movie.

All four of them were in very good spirits on the night – but many other people I saw clearly weren’t. For while I was waiting for the dancing queens to return, I looked at the faces of other people who had arrived back in the UK, saw them staring out bleakly at the driving rain and high winds and felt their pain. They looked brown – but browned-off.

That sense of disappointment is, I suspect, how a lot of other people felt this week as we all collectively realised that the holiday summer season was now well and truly over. And if we did need reminding, what better, crueller symbol could there have been than the clouds opening and pouring down on those poor youngsters trundling back to school for the new term earlier in the week.

Wimbledon? A lifetime ago.

The best thing about having a holiday is not only the event itself but the anticipation of it so, conversely, the worst is actually coming back and waiting at that pick-up point knowing that the party is over for a while at least.In the office this week, for example, it was the first time for more weeks that I can remember that most of the team were back at their desks. But it was also noticeable that as and when people returned from their breaks, one of the first things many started to do was to think about the next one.

Holiday forms were filled in, calendars stared at and people started counting how many days they had left from their allocation. And that is amongst a bunch of people who by and large love their work – I can’t help wondering how much tougher PHB (my newly-invented Post Holiday Blues) is for those for whom every work day is a virtual trial.

Of course people will always say that they don’t get enough time off but the reality is Britain is actually not bad in terms of its annual holiday allowance. Most people in the UK are allowed a total of around 33 days off including Bank Holidays which is, on the downside, somewhat less than countries such as Brazil, France and Russia which all pip the 40 mark. However, spare a thought for countries such as China and Singapore, which only get in the 20s and even more so, perhaps surprisingly, for the USA where 15 days is the average holiday with a few Bank Holidays thrown in. And worse still, pity our poor old Canadian friends who get only ten statutory days off plus nine public holidays. Imagine those bleak Canadian faces at the pick-up point in airports in Toronto and Vancouver . . .

Ah well holidays over – what’s next? Why, we have Christmas to look forward to now of course. Pass the travel brochures. Quick.

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