The English calendar is filled with de facto events that hold varying levels of legitimacy. Christmas, Bank Holidays, April Fools Day; there are days of the year when there is some level of expectation on the way we will act and what we will do. As time goes on I think there is less pageantry, less tradition. For some people that is, not for me. I love tradition. I love pageantry and getting in the swing of a seasonal holiday or celebratory day.
I’m the one who, when planning girly weekends away will schedule them for particular times of the year so we can have themed games. Easter: Egg hunt. Halloween: Pumpkin carving competition: Christmas: gingerbread decorating race. You get the idea. There’s something about a Hallmark holiday that I find appealing. I like ‘getting into the spirit of things’ and so don’t be surprised to see me celebrating St Patrick’s despite no Irish ancestry; St Valentine’s Day when I’m single; St Georges Day, living in Spain. Life can get so full sometimes, and we settle into meaningless routines that suck the life out of people. My view is what’s the harm. Why does it matter why you’re having fun as long as you’re having fun.
If someone suggests a certain time to do a certain thing then I’m on board. No questions asked. Little surprise then that two weeks ago I coerced my fella into ‘doing earth hour’.He was, somewhat unenthusiastic to say the least. So, in attempt to persuade him, I showed him Durex’s efforts at encouraging us to turn off the lights…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6VPUTtuKuk and he was somewhat appeased.
Until I told him we wouldn’t be turning off the lights to go to bed, oh no, I’d seen an article in paper on my commute that suggested we do something that didn’t involve getting naked. The Metro suggested stargazing; a night-time wildlife walk; a candlelit bath; a game of sardines. Inspired by these, rather more child friendly ideas I told my fella that during Earth Hour we would be Painting By Candlelight.
“NO” he point blank refused.
“Cause its shit and I hate painting”
I guess I deserved this. I’d picked an activity suitable for a seven year old and got a seven year old’s response.
“I hated art at school, I’m not doing it now”. (an F at GCSE)
“But look” I said, “I’ve got the paints and the paper” (£1 a piece from the cheapshop but he didn’t need to know that) “It’ll be fun. Please”
I’d like to imagine that at this point my fella related and simply said, “sure go on then, it’s only an hour and it’s for a good cause”. But he didn’t Stubborn bastard that he is. Nonetheless I persevered and somehow my feminine wiles and well practised manipulation techniques saw me beat him down and convince him to paint in the dark.
I’m under no illusions that Earth Hour is an actual event or global celebration. It’s more of a hashtag than a holiday. However, like all good scheduled events, it is a time for people to spend time with each other, doing things they wouldn’t normally do. And me and my fella, in the dark, sat on the floor at half past eight on a Saturday night painting by the light of a couple on candles from Ikea is the perfect example of this. No phones, no technology, no distractions. Just a little bit of time spent being a little bit creative.
He loved it. My fella got properly into it, and was remarkable proud of the end result. Our pictures are now displayed proudly on our fridge, so all visitors can comment on our absolute lack of artistic talent. We didn’t do it to show off. We did it to have fun, and to help in someway to saving the planet by joining in the global attempt to turn off our lights. And if that isn’t enough of a celebration, well then I don’t know what is. He insists on a vote for a winner, I suppose its the least I can do, since I made him take part in this ‘liberal, faux ‘Go green’ PR stunt’ (his words, not mine).