It’s November 1st, and until very recently much of Britain believed it would be waking up to a new dawn, a new and scary dawn perhaps, but one which saw us on the other side of this whole Brexit mess. Boris Johnson had declared, after all, that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than extend our departure beyond Halloween so it was absolutely, definitely, positively happening…until it wasn’t. Ding, ding. And there goes the bell after yet another pointless round.
If We’re Not Arguing About Brexit…
But, before we could even get up to put the kettle on, the great British public found it had ringside seats yet again. This time it was for the less than thrilling and equally deadlocked brawl over the date for a general election. Boris wanted the 12th of December. The Lib Dems and SNP favoured the 9th and nobody was exactly sure what Labour wanted.
Three days. My God, these people will argue over anything! Given that it has so far taken us three years to not leave Europe, I was really struggling to see what difference those three days could actually make to anything or anyone in real terms. But argue and bluster they did.
A Long Weekend
Which got me thinking…just what could you achieve in three days? It’s a long weekend. 72 hours. That’s about as long as it takes a steak to pass through your body from mouth to…well you know. 72 hours is also the maximum time it will take to get your ESTA application through for a visit to the US under their new ‘visa waiver programme’ (that is assuming you hail from a non-bearded, non-thobe wearing country which is not on Donald Trump’s hit list). Talking of travel, you can also cover the 240,000 miles to the Moon in about three days if the mood takes you, and just so long as you also have the appropriate liquid hydrogen propelled vehicle to make that a real possibility.
Too far? Well, you could walk from London to Liverpool in about three days and still have a couple of hours in hand for loo breaks and tea breaks. Better yet, you could take the train up there and have time to actually enjoy the city once you arrive: visit the Beatles museum at the Royal Albert Dock perhaps, catch a band at the Cavern Club or take a ferry across the Mersey and pretend to be Gerry and The Pacemakers. Or with three days to play with you could head in the opposite direction and find yourself in the mystical town of Glastonbury. I’ve been researching this spiritual hideaway for a writing project just recently and this is definitely on my to-do-soon list. You can climb the tor, the tiered, conical hill which looks dreamily out over the Somerset Levels, whispering of the legend of King Arthur. Or, while you’re in the town you could get your recently deceased pet ethically stuffed or buy a cauldron at one of their wonderfully bonkers magical stores. And if you happen to be there on the 16th of this month, then you can even watch their spectacular illuminated carnival as a bonus.
Prefer staying in to going out? Three days is not enough to watch the entire boxset of Friends (with 236 episodes in total) but you could certainly do the whole of Game of Thrones. You might struggle to finish War and Peace (ten days is apparently the average length it takes to finish that tome) but you could definitely devour Lord of the Rings as well as The Hobbit and still have time to tweet about it as you did so.
A Short Book
In fact, you only need about 45 hours to read the complete works of Jane Austen so you could also have a look at the Sparknotes while you’re at it to see if there are any salient points you might have missed. Interestingly (or not), I bought myself the complete novels of Jane Austen back in 2007 at Singapore Airport (because obviously there is nothing better to buy at an airport, right???) and when I opened the book in 2019 to research this piece, I found my bookmark wedged a mere 79 pages into Sense and Sensibility…the first novel to be collected. Ah, well, obviously having the time is one thing; doing something with that time is another thing altogether.
So, Until the 12th of Never…
Time is precious. We have to make it count. I suspect debating a withdrawal agreement bill for an extra three days will not count in the end and ultimately nothing is going to change after the general election. Sure, it would be nice to believe that on December 13th the country will wake up to the new dawn we were supposed to get today but I have a strong suspicion that you will open your eyes as the bell rings yet again for another pointless round in the political ring.
Pride and Prejudice anyone?