Lazy, hazy and quiet as it should be

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18 August 2017 | 0

Billy MacInnesEverybody loves summer don’t they? I know that in Ireland we don’t often have a summer as such. Not a proper summer with two or three months of long, bright, sun-drenched days. We tend to get a few mini-summers, maybe lasting a week here, a couple of days there, interspersed with rain. But it’s still technically summer, if only because it’s hot and sunny in a lot of other countries that aren’t that far away from us.

One of the things I like about summer is that it’s a time when a lot of us go on holiday, if only to visit the sunshine that seems so reluctant to visit us. We all get a chance to unwind and refresh. Which means that, for the most part, it’s pretty quiet for those left behind. Admittedly, that can be an inconvenience when you’re trying to find news or something to write about but I can live with that.

What I really like about that quietness compared to most of the rest of the year is it demonstrates very clearly that for all the talk of us living in a 24/7/365 world, there is a sizeable chunk of the year when we’re not really. You can have a business that’s geared to a 24/7/365 world but the chances are you’re going to be twiddling your thumbs on some of those days during the summer. Your systems might be running all the time but they’re not going to have to perform as hard as they will at other times of the year. The demand just isn’t there.

And let’s not forget that the bulk of school holidays is in the summer months. There are some killjoys who believe they should be distributed more evenly across the calendar year but I can’t help feeling they must be people who’ve forgotten what it was like to be a kid breaking up from school for the summer holidays.

Summer shutdowns weren’t just confined to schools. It’s not that long ago, for example, that a lot of businesses in Glasgow would close for the last two weeks in July and everyone would go on holiday. They still do it in France, where Parisians take three weeks off in July or August for “les grandes vacancies”.

Of course, this means most people go on holiday at the same time, rather than staggered all over July and August. But unless they’re anxious not to increase the likelihood of meeting fellow Parisians when they go on holiday, that’s not really a terrible hardship. Luckily for them, most of them can go to other parts of France for their holidays because they have sunshine there.

People have predicted the demise of the summer slowdown for a number of years, but it hasn’t happened yet. Some have argued it makes sense to spread the load more equally over the 12 months, but it’s hard to see how that can become reality when the sunshine is spread so unequally over the year.

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