christchurch-show-day-04Like a lot of people in Christchurch (actually the greater Canterbury area to be precise) I had last Friday off and, miraculous as it was, the weather was absolutely stunning. It’s restored my faith in Canterbury Show Day (or Canterbury Anniversary) as being the harbinger of hot dry weather. But there’s a catch. Now the pressure’s on me to do something with this day off. I’ve got no excuses. I can’t blame the weather. Work isn’t ringing in with an emergency. It’s just me and a day off, and if you can feel the subtle pressure that puts on the average human being then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

With every minute ticking by, the pressure worsens. You haven’t done anything. You sit there, your mind scrambling for an ingenuous plot that will take this gift of a day off and turn it into something amazing. Something that will give me the satisfaction of a day off well spent. The pressure intensifies as the day gets hotter, neighbours are leaving to go places, Facebook friends are posting grand plans and I’m desperately searching Google for the answer. It’s not helping.

Part of the problem is that I’d left this day to the last minute – no trips away, no camping. In fact, we were meant to go to the A&P Show but a wisdom tooth extraction the previous day put a dampener on that. I haven’t been to the show for years, and to be honest it doesn’t appeal. Paying $25 to get herded (pun intended) around with the crowds to watch log chopping demonstrations and eat overpriced hot dogs doesn’t float my boat, but I’m interested to hear from anyone who did go – what did you think? Was it worth it? Would you go again? And what’s worth going for?

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Feeling cornered I resorted to an old faithful plan for stinking hot days off – walk down to the beach for a surf. Jumped into my ripped wettie and went down for a quick session. The swell is pumping at the moment and wind slightly offshore so it was the right time. Phew. I’ve done something. Sure it’s nothing much but it’s something.

Next up was a drive with the dogs. No specific destination in mind but with the roof down who cares? The dogs were happy. We ended up with icecreams and driving up to the top of Sumner hill where I dominated the playground and we chatted to some lovely old ladies settling down to have a cup of tea. Ah the serenity. Headed over to Taylor’s Mistake, which is called that because everyone makes the mistake of going there on a hot day, only to be trapped in a labyrinthine car park and fighting for a patch of sand. Maybe they need a ticket system like they have for car park buildings and they can show the beach as having five spaces left, posted at the bottom of the hill. It could work.

By the time the day had ended I was feeling a lot better about it than when it had started – as odd as that sounds. But I’d tackled the day off dilemma and successfully used Canterbury Show Day in a most satisfying way. But it’s only a matter of time before the next day off arrives with a fresh challenge for me.

Perhaps this unwanted pressure to use free time ‘wisely’ has driven us to signing up for L&P’s lately marketing meme, doing nothing much, which is not to be confused with doing nothing. It’s nothing much. Suits me. It’s not that I specifically want to do something constructive – I just don’t want the guilt that goes with wasting a day off. From now you’ll find me on my day off, feeling smug as I do nothing much. Thanks L&P.

Day off dilemmas

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