As everyone knows, today is Poets Day.
No, this is not like World Awareness Day, Meditation Day, Ingrowing Toenail Day, Wear a Blue Ribbon in your hair to show solidarity with Oppressed Bankers in America Day, or any of those other days.
Because this, and every other Friday of the year is Poets Day.
I was sitting happily in our revamped civil service office in Notting Hill. It was Friday afternoon and not much was happening (fortunately). We’d dealt with the pesky anti-government reporters from the Observer and Saturday’s edition of the Guardian, and no-one else was giving us any grief.
‘Right then, I’m off,’ said one of my colleagues. ‘It’s Poets Day.’
I looked up, interested. Colin was rather arty, into amateur dramatics, and had a nice posh plummy southern voice. Well spoken, is the phrase that comes to mind. Not something that us lasses from Yorkshire usually get labelled.
I wondered which particular poet he was talking about. Or was it a group of them? I started on the interrogation, which Colin – and everyone else – enjoyed immensely. He finally put me out of my misery.
Here in Gib, the mass exodus starts around noon. You can tell it’s Friday because the car horns start tooting as people absolutely MUST leave the Rock as quickly as possible. I have no idea why there is this burning urge to get out of Gib (apart from people who live in Spain of course and want to go home) but the few roads we have are clogged.
The money exchange around the corner has a queue down the street – and if you get there too late they have invariably run out of euros. We never see anyone in there during the week, they seem to exist solely on the currency exchanges they make between noon and 3pm on Fridays.
Building sites close at 2 or 2.30pm. Construction workers can be seen falling into the pub for a quick one, at the exchange as most of them live in Spain, or just walking/cycling home across the frontier. A few even live in Gib.
After that peace descends on Gib. To me the weekend is the best time to be here just because it is so quiet. Half the shops close on Saturday because the proprietors are Jewish. No offices, banks or building societies open, and on Sunday, the only shops open on Main Street are the ones catering for tourists – selling perfume, tobacco, spirits, jewellery and electronics.
But when you don’t work – Friday can be a stressful day. No really, I’m not joking.
You see, when it gets to Sunday evening, there is no gloomy ‘It’s Monday tomorrow’ feeling. In fact, Monday is rather to be looked forward to, as everyone else has to go to work, but you do not. You remember having to drag yourself into that ghastly office – and revel in your freedom. So you don’t do anything on Monday. Your reward for being chained to that desk for so many years. Tuesday is pretty similar, after all the week isn’t even half way over yet.
But by Friday, you realise that you have done stuff all this week, and if you want to achieve anything more than sewing a button on, or ironing a few T-shirts, you need to get a move on. Especially as government offices close at lunchtime. The only thing that opens late on a Friday is the library which keeps going until 7.30pm. About the only place in Gib still open at that hour.
So when it gets to Friday, I have to do everything in a few hours that I have failed to do all week. And Friday should be a day for winding down and doing very little. After all, it is Poets Day.
Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday – in case you didn’t know.