Virginia Barton

2 August 2015: The Silly Season

 

2 August 2015

 

Is it The Silly Season the world over? Presumably not in those places where it’s spring, autumn, or winter. No less a publication than The Saturday Review first used the phrase in the nineteenth century. Trollope was one of many distinguished writers to contribute to the Review and, indeed, the phrase has a Trollope-ian ring to it.

don-t-keep-calm-the-silly-season-is-hereOne of the Palliser novels should refer to the “silly season”. It’s that time of year when Parliament and the Law Courts rise for the long recess during the summer months. In those days, everyone but everyone left London to enjoy their, or other people’s, country estates. When I say “everyone” I mean anyone who was anyone: not chimney sweeps, washer women, clerks, maids, crossing-sweepers, or pot-boys, of course. In other words, the vast majority of the population.

Those Downton-style days are long gone. But the Press persist in using the term, and certainly fill the newspapers with the silliest stories.

 

A flip through today’s once-august Times has stories about a dog chasing a rabbit over a cliff, falling one hundred feet and surviving (oh good); a dentist denying anyone weighing more than 20 stone access to his reclining chair (cost £7,500) in case he (the dentist) injures himself helping them out; Belgian restaurants banning meals that “crawl” (hurray); and a four-year old angler catching a record-breaking 12-gram stickleback. (Well done Anya! Love to see a cartoon of that!)

There are, of course, several pages of celebrity news viz no less than all four new images of Ms Mirren at Madame Tussaud’s. There are also column inches devoted to the do’s and don’ts of diet apart from those crawlers, and a few more animal sob stories; including the other dentist and the hapless Cecil…

 

Actually, these sorts of story are not unusual for the once-august Times. It is not what it once was. BH tells me he only gets it for the obits.

To do it justice it does cover the awful plight of the thousands of migrants, waiting on the other side of the Channel to get into Britain – a sort of back-handed compliment. I am desperate to include my own silly season story.

Have started Christmas shopping. Is that silly or just plain sensible at my age?

 

 

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