Friday, 27 August 2010

Just What IS a "Bank Holiday"?

What do you think of when you think of the last two weeks of August? The last “dog days” of summer? Enduring heat that still hangs on and makes you run from air conditioned place to air conditioned place? The last hot gasps of summer? That’s what I’m used to thinking. August is a month of, usually, the hottest weather as summer comes to an end. Magazines, newspapers and television usually show ways to “beat the heat” or warn to be careful and stay cool. August was usually a very “sweaty” time and for kids, the last chance for summer fun before school starts in September. You  usually got dragged out shopping for school clothes in August and it was agony to put on itchy sweaters and warm clothes or have to try on winter coats when it was so hot out!

Allright, I might be showing my age (or regional differences) because I know that now a lot of people go back to school in August but still, August is usually thought of as a very hot month. Even all the way to Labor Day it's ice cream and iced tea and cold watermelon.

Not here. August is considered the beginning of fall. The children go back to school here the second week of August I believe (although the schooling system and school years and what they’re called is still confusing to me). Two weeks ago coming back from my clinic appointment, I could swear I saw a tree with the leaves starting to turn. Driving by it last week and this week confirms it--definitely changing color. Last night on the radio I caught a forecast of below freezing in the Highlands. Below freezing! In August!

Groan! Fall used to be my favorite season but after last year's winter I'm really not looking forward to another one. As usual, the hot days of summer that we've had can be counted on one hand. I know that there has been a horrible heat wave back in the US and I have read a lot of Facebook posts from nearly every friend complaining about it. I keep replying that I'd change places in a heartbeat! I am craving some heat and really not liking the cold anymore. 

OK, cranky old lady rant is over for now. I just have to figure a way to get Robbie out of here (probably something involving dynamite!) and back to the US so he can, in turn, complain about the heat. 

This is the beginning of the "Bank Holiday Weekend". As my title suggests, I'm not really sure what that actually means. I did a Google search about the origins of the name and I think I'm still a bit confused. I think at one time back in the 1800's it did actually have something to do with banks but now it's just your typical, garden-variety three day weekend. Sort of like Labor Day long ago having to do with labor unions but anymore has lost its connection and it's just a long weekend before school starts. I'm not really sure how many Bank Holidays there are in a year but it seems to me that they're placed rather randomly throughout the year. What also makes it more confusing is that Scotland doesn't take the same days as England or Ireland and vice versa. 

No, as far as I know, we don't really have any plans for the weekend. One thing we need to do is go to a plumbing supply place Robbie's brother told him about so we can look at bathroom fittings. The insurance payment for the water leak damage from the home owner's insurance has come through so we need to get work done in our bathroom The plumber and Robbie's brother both suggested taking the tub out altogether and just having a shower enclosure but I know Robbie likes to take his baths. I also have reservations because, although with my knees I'm not able to get in and out of a tub (well I could get in but a crane would then have to pull me out!) I don't want just a drain in the floor sort of think like a locker room. So we're going to have to consider that. Another thing I want is a nice big "rainfall" shower head like I used to have back in the US. Jimmy, Robbie's brother, is back from Thailand for a while and he said if we mentioned his name we could get a builder's discount.

I'm sorry I missed "Shrek 4" in the cinemas but I still want to see "Toy Story" before it goes off too. One of my district nurses said that the 3D version wasn't really worth the money. It was a good movie and she liked it but wasn't really impressed. Has anyone seen them either in regular or 3D? We went to see "Christmas Carol" and that's the only 3D movie I've seen but it sure seems to have become a trend! Everything, it seems, is coming out with a 3D version--even movies that don't need to be. 

Speaking of that, I finally watched "Avatar". That was another one of the movies I had wanted to see in the theater but never got out there in time. It sure is hard living so far away from a cinema! I see now it's back in 3D in limited showings here but we just rented it and watched it a few weeks ago. I don't know if the 3D version makes a difference but I wasn't all that enthralled by it. Oh yes, it's a very exciting, entertaining and enjoyable movie but certainly not one of my favorites. It's not one that I'm going to HAVE to have in my DVD collection or really want to see over and over again. I liked it but, to me, the story seemed a little familiar and reminded me of something until at the end I realized, it's "Dances With Wolves" on another planet. 

One of the movies I did also finally see that I really enjoyed and WILL be going into my DVD collection is "Up". That was such a sweet movie that made me laugh and cry and cry some more and then laugh. That I loved.

Now, we've had the weather segment and the movie reviews now time for the news... There's not been a lot happening around here, in fact it's been so much "same old, same old" that Ben and I have been running out of things to say to each other on the telephone our last couple of calls. My biggest outing once a week is still to the clinic. We're still trying to get things back on track with my leg from the setback I had in July. Last night the nurse suggested I might have to see a specialist and have my circulation checked and possibly have to wear pressure bandages. They changed my medication again and hopefully this will kick-start it back to where it was. The only problem is that it's an iodine based medicine so as you can imagine it stings!

Those of you on Facebook with me can easily see my latest obsessions. I can try to blame it all on Ben and Kailee and all the folks who have "enticed" me to "Be a Neighbor" but the fact is that I have no one to blame but myself. Yes, it's online games. A long time ago I had tried and failed to understand "Cafe World" and "Farmville" but Ben and Kailee introduced me to "My Vineyard" and I really enjoyed playing that. It doesn't have anything to do with wine or even drinking wine (although you do have "tastings" of your wines) but more about planting, tending and growing the grapes. Harvesting and then smashing them (it actually has you jump up and down on the grapes and makes a squashing sound, very funny) and then barreling the juice and eventually selling it. What I found most enjoyable was decorating my vineyard; building a house, planting flowers, buying benches and fountains, etc.  I now have graduated to a chateau-type house along with my first little cottage. I like the way I have it fixed up now and told Robbie I'd like to go and live there!

Because of my enjoyment and success with that I went back and re-visited my other games and got into them as well. Another thing I like about the games is that you help out others and they help you out to advance. Anyway, I do know I probably spend more time than I ought to playing games but not really as much as it might seem. It's good for dieting (if I were) because time does pass before you know it and you've forgotten to eat (or dust or get the laundry out--yikes!)

So, because of that, and just because I sometimes feel guilty for "taking time out" writing when I, again, should be doing other things, this has ended up being a bit later than I had wanted it to be but here it is! 

Enjoy the end of summer no matter what you're doing this weekend!