Thursday 25 August 2011

Not just any weekend... Bank Holiday weekend!

For those of you outside the UK, a Bank Holiday is similar to a Federal Holiday in America - you know the kinds where all the post offices, banks and government buildings are closed.  In America, we always pretended there was a reason for a Federal holiday and gave them a name like Labor Day or Memorial Day. In the UK, they've just assigned them randomly because as L'oreal says "we're worth it".

We've got a Bank Holiday on Monday* which means ... its Bank Holiday weeeekeeeennnnddd!!   Many people will stock up on BBQ supplies and pray for sun, others will brave the traffic and go down to the coast and pray for sun, loads of people will go to the Notting Hill Carnival* and hope its riot-free, but if none of those activities inspire you, may I suggest a few unusual events?

England's Medieval Festival
Held at Herstmonceux Castle (which is cool because it has a moat), I imagine it's like a Renaisance Festival you may have attended in America minus all the very bad fake British accents.  Oh, and there's also England's largest medieval battle, The Siege of the Castle, with over 1000 reinactment participants. Cool or nerdy?  You decide.

Portsmouth Kite Festival 
I love Portsmouth and Southsea, but sadly, have never made it to the Kite FestivalThis year is the 20th anniversary and according to organisers 'Flyers from as far as Singapore, India, New Zealand and America will be coming together to put on this annual spectacular. On Monday, 29 August (bank holiday) there is free-flying and a free dog show.  The festival, which is held on Southsea Common, has been recognised as one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and is even playing host to a UK record attempt this year.'

World Bog Snorkelling Championships
Who knew there even was such a thing!?  The World Bog Snorkelling Championships are being held in what claims to be the UK's smallest Town, Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales (that reminds me of when we talked about the smallest, longest, etc villages...Read this post if you missed it) and promises to be bigger and better than ever. Apparently, competitors wearing goggles, snorkel and flippers have to snorkel two lengths of a 60 yard trench in a peat bog. The rules state that 'conventional swimming strokes (e.g. breast stroke, crawl) are not allowed, so flipper power is the key.'  It would appear that fancy dress is encouraged, which basically ensures that this will be an awesome, albiet very strange, Bank Holiday event! 

Did you know:
  • Under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 (the current act that regulates bank holidays), bank holidays are proclaimed each year by royal proclamation. Royal proclamation is swap the day a holiday is observed in the case that the actual day falls on a weekend.  Thanks, Liz, for taking our bank holidays seriously!  
  • The Department of Culture Media and Sport seem to be interested in adding a bit of patriotism to the bank holiday schedule as they have suggested moving the May Day bank holiday to a date in October, and calling it "UK Day" or to "Trafalgar Day" (21st October) or move the holiday to St David's Day (for Wales)  and St George's Day (for England) 
  • We will get an extra bank holiday in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee! The 2012 late May bank holiday will be moved to Monday 4 June 2012 and an additional Jubilee bank holiday will be on Tuesday 5 June 2012 giving us a four day weekend. Yippee!

*Pedantic note: There are different bank and public holidays in different parts of the UK - this Monday is not a holiday in Scotland. 
*the one year we went to the Carnival, I had to look at photos on my camera to remember what happened and how I ended up where I awoke in the morning... and still didnt remember... so you will not find me at the Carnival again any time soon.

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