Bank Holidays and Giving Blood

PUBLISHED: 13:42 27 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

BANK holidays…they should be great fun, shouldn t they? A nice long weekend, a day off work (not local newspapers editors, I might add) to do whatever you like and you get paid. But everyone I happen to speak to on Monday was having a bit of a moan and fe

BANK holidays...they should be great fun, shouldn't they? A nice long weekend, a day off work (not local newspapers editors, I might add) to do whatever you like and you get paid. But everyone I happen to speak to on Monday was having a bit of a moan and felt fed up. I think bank holidays are a bit like Christmas, in that we probably expect a bit too much. There is a lot of pressure to organise our time, see friends or get jobs done in the house and garden and the miserable weather meant barbecues didn't happen, lawns didn't get mowed and days out just didn't go ahead. Sometimes I think we have all lost the ability to relax and see an extra day as time to chill out rather than get jobs done or achieve something.

I sat in the office people-watching for about 15 minutes on Monday and was surprised to see a large number of people dressed in shorts and T-shirts, running down the street and getting soaking wet. They must be the same people who turn the heating off in April and refuse to put it back on till October, however cold it gets. May arrives; summer clothes come out of the wardrobe and, despite severe weather warnings, there is no going back to waterproof, warm clothes. Me, I had my winter cardi on, went and got some DVDs, turned the heating up full blast and snuggled up on the sofa with a blanket.

You may be interested to know that we have eight public holidays throughout the year in England, Scotland and Wales, but Northern Ireland has 10.

The Bank Holidays Act was introduced in 1871 by Sir John Lubbock who was a banker (see what they did there!).

Since 1967, only 12 of these end of May bank holidays have been warm and sunny, so there does seem to be a clue as to what we should expect in terms of the weather.

If your bank holiday was a bit of a wash-out and you want to do something really rewarding and useful, then why not give some of your blood. Now, I have to say right here and now, that I have never given blood. I hate needles. I feel queasy when I have a blood test and I fainted when I had my ears pierced at the tender age of 45! But it really is no excuse. What's a few minutes discomfort when you can do something so worthwhile? I received a press release in the office the other day and I realised that me, along with most of the population just don't do this very simple but important thing on a regular basis.

Only four per cent of the eligible population actually give blood, which is pretty disgraceful as we would happily take someone else's if we needed it in a hurry.

Apparently, the whole thing only takes an hour and you are only on the donation bed for six to eight minutes. Not sure if they have built fainting time into that equation, but I guess I will find out. The next session in the area is at the Walter Gidney Pavilion on June 4. The sessions are 1pm-3pm and 4.30pm till 7pm so there really is no excuse as most people could probably get there after work.

I am nervous, as I really hate the idea of the needle and the blood draining from my body, but I am going to focus on the thought that I am doing something really rewarding and important...and the tea and biscuit, and hope it won't be too bad.

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