Today is a Bank Holiday here in the god-fearing fatherland - Himmelfahrt (or Ascension to us Anglicans). Nothing wrong with that I hear you shout - and indeed there isn't. We love our bank holidays here -especially if, like today, they fall on a Thursday - as we tend to get the Friday as a Brucketag - or bridge day (think lovely long four day weekend!). In a 'good' year the German economy actually does worse due to so many lost work days - however, in a bad year when holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday, you're stuffed as they don't get bumped to the next working day. 2012 is a Good Year.
So a Bank Holiday - what does it mean for us, well you'd best make sure you stock up on everything you might need well in advance - there will be no shops open (bar the odd airport kiosk / petrol station) so no family trip to the DIY store (shame....). The good German Hausfrau will have made sure she is well prepared - the supermarkets are ridiculously busy on the day before a bank holiday - how will we all survive when the shops are shut for a whole day...... Rest assured you can buy beer and wine at the petrol station - but only I think if you've driven there......
So if we can't shop on a bank holiday - what other fun can we get up to. Well traditional English pursuits of DIY, Gardening etc are very definitely not allowed (unless you live in a big detached house and are very quiet). You see Bank Holidays, and Sundays for that matter for all this applies to Sundays too, are sacred beasts - and woe betide you if you disturb the peace and quiet of the day. No mowing your lawn, no quick putting up of shelves, heck even hoovering is playing with fire.
So we are left with 'enforced family/leisure time' - in the regimented world that is Germany even this is factored in! You'll probably see great swathes of appropriately clad cyclists out (all in very flash Lycra get-ups), family meet ups in the park - with a barbecue if the weather is good enough, family outings to Church too, oh and from where we are a great run to the Dutch border - for you can shop to your heart's content there on forbidden days.
All in all the quietness and family time of a Bank Holiday suits us well - especially with the Bridge day when we can get all manner of jobs done as it's technically a working day - not that we generally get up to much as the children are happy to play out and chill out and enjoy a day off with the whole family together. Perhaps the UK has a thing or two to learn from the German model here - after all, do we really need 24/7 shopping and the whole shebang?