About the Author
Jeremy Clarkson made his name presenting a poky motoring programme on BBC2 called Top Gear. He left to forge a career in other directions but made a complete hash of everything and ended up back on Top Gear again. He lives with his wife, Francie, and three children in Oxfordshire. Despite this he has a clean driving licence.
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Another Day’s Holiday? Please, Give Me a Break
According to a poll, the vast majority of people questioned as they struggled back to work last week thought that England should have followed Scotland’s lead and made Tuesday a bank holiday. Two things strike me as odd here. First, that anyone could be bothered to undertake such research and, second, that anyone in their right mind could think that the Christmas break was in some way too short. I took ten days off and by 11 o’clock on the first morning I had drunk fourteen cups of coffee, read all the newspapers and the Guardian and then . . . and then what? By lunchtime I was so bored that I decided to hang a few pictures. So I found a hammer, and later a man came to replaster the bits of wall I had demolished. Then I tried to fix the electric gates, which work only when there’s an omega in the month. So I went down the drive with a spanner, and later another man came to put them back together again. I was just about to start on the Aga, which had broken down on Christmas Eve, as they do, when my wife took me on one side by my earlobe and explained that builders do not, on the whole, spend their spare time writing, so writers should not build on their days off. It’s expensive and it can be dangerous, she said. She’s right. We have these lights in the dining room which are supposed to project stars onto the table below. It has never really bothered me that the light seeps out of the sides so the stars are invisible; but when you are bored, this is exactly the sort of thing that gets on your nerves. So I bought some gaffer tape and suddenly my life had a purpose. There was something to do. Mercifully, Christmas intervened before I could do any more damage, but then it went away again and once more I found myself staring at the day through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. Each morning, bed and the blessed relief of unconsciousness seemed so far away. I wore a groove in the kitchen floor with endless trips to the fridge, hoping against hope that I had somehow missed a plateful of cold sausages on the previous 4,000 excursions. Then, for no obvious reason, I decided to buy a footstool. I took the entire family to the sort of gifty-wifty shop where the smell of pot-pourri is so pungent that it makes you go cross-eyed. Even though the children were lying on the floor gagging, I still spent hours deliberately choosing a footstool that was too small and the wrong colour so that I could waste some more time taking it back. The next day, still gently redolent of Delia Smith’s knicker drawer, I decided to buy the wrong sort of antique filing cabinet. But after the footstool debacle my wife said no. So it seemed appropriate that I should develop some kind of illness. This is a good idea when you are at a loose end because everything, up to and including herpes, is better than being bored.