When making a round of tea in our office it’s only polite to offer a brew to other people in one’s department. This I do two or three times a day because I drink a fair amount of tea. If I don’t get enough I get a bit edgy and a fresh cuppa is the perfect excuse to step away from work and spreadsheets and instant messenger for a few precious minutes. The offer of tea is frequent from other people so asking if anyone wants a cup is a quick and not very arduous task.
Today was slightly different. The Easter weekend stretches out before us like my mental image of an American style tarmac road, smooth and straight and with no traffic. Everyone in the office has plans and standing with my empty cup in hand, tea bag in my pocket (Twining’s Lady Grey is my normal brew, though I do like the odd Earl Grey on occasion – mostly because they have proper boiling water in the office canteen and the fanciest bags they have are Earl Grey) I make more of an effort to talk to my colleagues than I normally would. It’s easier to chat when you have a shared interest. The prospect of four continuous free of charge days off in a row seemed to make everyone just a little bit giddy.
The Accounts Payable girls smilingly shared their plans with me and we laughed and joked. Sana was having a late Mother’s Day celebration arranged by one of her aunties for her mum. Being Kuwaiti she’d never celebrated it before so was intrigued as to how it would go. Laura was off to Portugal to a place she couldn’t pronounce but that Nicola could as her Nan lives very near there. Nicola was lucky enough to spend every summer in her Nan’s swimming pool when she was little (I was literally a mermaid when I was about seven she said to me. You don’t mean literally do you? I asked and she agreed that this was not entirely true). Her Easter weekend, though, was going to be spent on a beach somewhere which seemed very appropriate considering*. Becky was planning an Easter egg hunt for her nieces and nephews. The oldest is only four so she was going to make picture clues to help them track down the chocolate treasure. Even Keith, who is strictly speaking part of Accounts Payable but who sits on the very periphery, quiet and lightly bearded, had plans, mainly revolving around him and a crate of beer. You have to respect a plan like that – properly indulgent and relaxing.
And me? Well it’s very much a weekend of two halves. One hectic half filled with days and nights out followed by a currently calm an unplanned half with nothing scheduled except some time with Mr Manbag and perhaps a bit of washing. This I like. A yin-yang weekend with a bit of everything and all the hectic stuff up front so I can kick back and recover afterwards.
Interestingly no one I spoke to had any plans to visit a church. At least they didn’t tell me if they did (which wouldn’t be very evangelical, would it?). Easter now feels like it fits more with its original pagan celebration of the spring equinox, the planting and sprouting of crops and the eating of vast amounts of pagan chocolate.
For my Easter celebration I have a Lindt chocolate bunny chilling, as it were, in my fridge – a gift from Lady Sarah – and I will dutifully save it until Sunday. That’s when Easter chocolate is officially allowed to be opened (unless you’re Christina Warwick, my childhood friend who used to receive a dozen massive Easter eggs and would still have them left weeks later when I would have scoffed the lot in a day. Not that I bear grudges). I may not be religious but I do have some restraint. Though I will bite its little ears off before breakfast.
Happy Easter everyone.
*On second thoughts I think she might have been going to Manchester. Which is not at all fitting for a mermaid. Unless you count swimming up the Manchester Ship Canal.