occurred in Downunder yesterday. The official reason was that it was the "Queen's Birthday". Her Majesty's birthday is, of course, on an entirely different date.
"Republicans" in Australia mutter that the holiday should be scrapped - and then take a day off. The rest of the population gleefully decides on a weekend away in the country or along the coast or entertaining friends. They have plans to get the lawn mowed or to go out to "brunch". There is that "whole day" to "do things" in. Right.
And then there are the grandparents who work that day. I had occasion to be out for a bit. Along my regular route I know the grandparents who do the "babysitting" and the "childminding" and the "before school" and the "after school" care of their children's children. They seemed unusually busy yesterday.
Children were being delivered like parcels to be minded for the day - if they were not already there for the entire weekend. Parents were going "out" and taking "time off".
Some of the grandparents are still working themselves. It isn't always full time and it isn't always both of them but some of them are in paid employment. Apparently though that doesn't count.
One harassed looking grandmother told me,
"Their parents have gone off to some sort of do at that winery..."
I know which one she meant. It has a restaurant attached and it is very expensive to eat there.
"If it fines up we'll take the kids around to the playground and get them to let off steam around there."
Another set of grandparents were loading two grizzling children into their car. They were going to the garden centre (which was open) and the children didn't want to go because it would be "boring".
I don't know what the other three sets of grandparents were doing apart from the fact they were looking after the children while the parents were out doing other things.
One of them however complained to me in a resigned sort of way, "I don't like being used like this. I don't know what the answer is but wouldn't you think their parents would want to look after them when they can?"
It is an interesting question. I am not sure what the answer is either.