WELL, what a bank holiday. After a summer and spring of rain, frost, snow, rain, high winds and yet more rain, how lovely to see the sun.
Personally, if I had the choice, the perfect venue on a day when the sun is shining and there’s just the whisper of a sea breeze would have been the nearest golf course.
But I’m married. So I didn’t have a choice.
Which is why I could be found traipsing around coastal towns of Hampshire, chauffeuring, carrying the bags... and moaning quite a lot.
And not, you’d be surprised to learn, moaning about not being on a fairway instead of a shopping centre.
As lunchtime approached, we fancied a pasty and a cup of tea.
I didn’t want to pop into a pub – that’s not the done thing for a chauffeur, after all.
And we weren’t after a big meal. We were meeting up with my daughter in the evening – she’s in her last year at university and job hunting has started for real. (And how stressful for parents is that? Don’t get me started – that’s another whole column in itself...)
We wanted something to keep us going, but not fill us up. A home-made pasty and a cuppa would go down a treat.
So we looked for a coffee shop and a local bakery store. And, guess what... they were all closed.
The few tearooms and coffee shops that were open were heaving. But the doors of most of them were firmly shut.
And we couldn’t find a single bakery open.
It was a bank holiday, the sun was shining, there were crowds of people – and if you didn’t want fish and chips or a pub dinner before a seafront ice cream, you didn’t have a hope.
What’s that all about? Shouldn’t shops open when the public are out and about, with hordes of potential customers streaming past their windows?
I know shop workers would like a bank holiday off, too, but you don’t take a job in retail if you don’t want to work when others are off. Do you?
In the same way, you don’t become a journalist if all you want is a nine-to-five job and every bank holiday and Christmas off. You know what you’re signing up to when you choose that as a career.
And that’s why I don’t understand the Novium, either.
For one thing, I don’t understand the name. What visitor to the city will equate the name ‘Novium’ with a museum?
And I also don’t understand that on a bank holiday, it closes an hour earlier than on a normal day.
So on a day when the kids are off and families are looking for something to do, the museum closes early. Why?