Boarding @ Home: Day 40/84: It's May Day ... .where's the May Pole?
May Day Postponed here in UK … to coincide with 75th VE Day May 8th. That almost catches up with the USSR and many of the now disassembled Socialist Republics after the end of the Cold War which still convene on May 9th. Talking of medals yesterday, I thought my Cold War Commemorative Medal would look good at the outset here alongside the USSR May Day Parade's determination to ostentate. But on second thoughts I resolved to start with May Pole festivities. The simplest explanation of the occasion suggests a spring ritual long known to Western Europeans. The folk custom is done around a pole garnished with flowers and ribbon to symbolize a tree. In countries such as Germany and England the maypole tradition dates back to the dances ancient people used to do around actual trees in hopes of harvesting a large crop. Certainly when we first arrived in Milton in 1979 it was celebrated led by Susan Bell but it's faded in recent years. [Click to enlarge.]
May 1st is also International Labour/ Workers Day. It's thought to have started in the USA with remembrance of the Haymarket Square Martyrs in Chicago on March 4th 1886 and those subsequently hanged. They were gathered at a protest meeting seeking an 8 hour day. It has become an international festival for working people and frequently the honouring of trades unions established to protect and advance their interests - as opposed to those representing the capital invested in any enterprise. Never to be outdone, Dorsetshire's fame derives from its 1834 Tolpuddle Martyrs who, unknown to most, finally emigrated to London Ontario after pardon in 1836 and their initial repatriation to England from Tasmania. Jeremy Corbyn was there to commemorate the affair in July last year; that's the same month as the Durham Miners Gala. The picture below is from May 1st in Vienna - the international flavour required!
Talking of work during lockdown is surely a paradox. HM's Government in the UK expresses surprise that so many employers/ staff/ workers took them up on the offer to pay 80% of furloughed workers wages up to £2,500 per month until end June. Approaching 90% of the workforce downed tools and Tescos and the likes reported nearly 30% of their staff self-isolating. A great many folk, but excluding the self employed, were not much worse off financially and we were all spending somewhat less per month stranded at home. But almost all of us have quickly recognised that work gives us a vital sense of purpose and worth and we miss it and its social contacts. Those who think we'll all now sign up for digital homeworking are way off beam; we've been there and seen why it sucks! My son and daughter in law in The Manor House have more than once asked me: "do we live to work or work to live?" It's a false dichotomy; we do both. They go together like a horse and carriage. So my blogger's thought for Labour/ Workers' Day is Bring it On. And if we and our children can work at something we take pride in and enjoy with people we respect then life's well worth living. The only corollary is that we all do need vacations whatever that expression means. This morning's musing en famille at The Lodge concluded we had been and still are very happy with our itinerant lifestyle whether going from Milton to Bradford or Buckingham, Main Beach, Toronto or Prestonpans, and now presently with our outings to Scotland, Yorkshire and Weymouth + the annual visit via Wimereux to St Marc in Brittany then on to Saumur and Feuillade. So my slogan for Dominic Cummins remains: Work Again - Save the Economy - Plan a Vacation - and no less an authority than Judith Woods in today's Daily Telegraph picks up the point about those vacations, even wishing to be there in Brittany.
Never forget that Friday is Coffee Morning. There we were again, rice biscuits and coffees on the front porch, chatting to passers by about the fine blooms on the lilac tree and Avril sending, proudly, her selfie to 80 year old Jill in Colllingtree who only yesterday made the most of a lockdown Birthday even settling for Avril's handcrafted card. I was attired in those stitched green strides!
Ending with my Cold War 'Commemorative' Medal then … It's one of quite a few to which my National Service and subsequent years on the RAF Reserve entitle me [and Bryan too] but alas/ fortunately I never merited a 'Campaign' Medal beyond my peripheral tax free ILO contribution to the UN in Cyprus. Got the passport to prove it and pictures of the Ledra Palace Hotel!
Published Date: May 1st 2020