This morning on the news they asked young people if they knew why they’ll have this coming Monday off. Most didn’t have a clue. Some knew that it was Pfingsten, or Pentecost, but most of those who knew didn’t know what ‘Pfingsten’ was all about. Germany keeps its christian holidays – nobody would dream of introducing ‘bank’ holidays, or moving christian feasts like ascension or corpus christi from Thursdays to Sundays (as Ireland did some years ago). Nobody would dream about going shopping or demanding that stores should be open on Sundays. There are large companies whose policy is not to send emails no weekends – doing so would be considered harassment.
10-12 years ago an auctioneer we were friendly with told us about his Irish estate agency’s problems with the German auctioneering business they had just bought out. These Germans, he said, will never get anywhere with their ultra-conservative, never-changing, antiquated approach to business. For him, the proof was that Ireland was booming, while Germany’s economy was growing in low single-digit figures – completely unexciting.
It only took a year and he had lost his job. And the German banks were bailing out Ireland, charging punishing interests rates.
What all of this tells me is that we all need time off from work, at the same time and with businesses and shops closed – and who cares whether the reason for this at some stage was Christian (and for some people still is). And: business has to be done in a socially responsible, controlled, and regulated way – otherwise it’s reckless and will lead to disaster. Cashing in the quick buck, betting on short-term gains, an I-don’t-care-what-happens-after-I’ve-cashed-in-my-fortune attitude creates havoc.
Thinking and planning from just one election to the next, in four year-cycles (if you’re lucky) doesn’t work. Blaming predecessors for chaos shouldn’t be allowed. Solving individual problems on-the-spot through the intervention of Ministers or, more likely, Primetime, will remove ‘trouble-makers’ from the public airwaves for a while, but will not help to solve the underlying structural problem and will not address the systemic failures of the systems.
Patrick started a slightly different routine during his physio around the middle of the week. And for all of these exercises, he is standing, supported, if needed, by therapists and myself. The amazing aspect of this is that we all feel that while he still requires support, he is doing more and more himself. He is back walking and it just took two people (myself at his back and another person in the front) to help him walk the full length of the room.
We’ll have three days off after today – three days we will, I am sure, readily enjoy; three days that will help us rest and prepare ourselves for another week of a really intensive, really demanding, pushing to the limits, exciting exercise regime.