On Sunday, George W Bush was in Abu Dhabi for part of his Middle East tour. His next day was to be spent in Dubai, which I thought was quite exciting - to my knowledge, I have not been in such close proximity (5 miles or so) to a US president. Perhaps we would see him - or more likely his motorcade - from the dizzy heights of our skyscraper?
Anyway, we returned from our house-hunting mission to a telephone message to say that as George was in town, the following day had been announced as a Public Holiday (it was due to be Tim's first day at work too)! A lot of the main roads were to be closed for the day, which would make it difficult for the city to get about, so the easiest option was to decree an extra day off!
I am fascinated by the mere fact that word of mouth (plus of course the media) reached everyone in Dubai in the space of a short few hours. I wonder how many people didn't actually find out in time and pitched up for work as normal . . . . judging by the roads, which were empty, I suspect the number was few.
It got me thinking though . . . . . would that ever happen in the UK? I'm not expecting that the UK would come to a halt because a president was in town - our country is a lot bigger for a start and has many more hundreds of roads, but how long have campaigners been requesting an additional Bank Holiday in the UK? Certainly, I can remember it being talked about for the last few years.
There's no way it would ever happen overnight . . . . . even if Gordon Brown did make an announcement, how many of us would really think it were real and not some sort of April fool . . . . . . !