Memo to editor, Boston: Britain closing for holidays, and this reporter with it
Alerting you to difficulties in filing breaking news stories over the British festive period. Only thing happening here is people going on ``holiday.'' Need to warn you that London at this time is like Paris in August. Most people depart the city for extended break and switch on telephone recorded messages.
Should explain something in reference to your message requesting end-of-year filing requirements: Christmas over here unlike Christmas USA. More food consumption for one thing. Also, USA Christmas as one-day wonder wouldn't go down well here. Brits feel they deserve extra day to recover, so I'm reminding you of Dec. 26, Boxing Day: official public holiday over here. Marked red on British calendar. Office block locked up 12:30 p.m. Dec. 24 and stays shut until Dec. 30.
Regret this correspondent noticeably uninformed over this period, since Fleet Street papers -- like Times of London -- have advised they will not be publishing Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
Also, travel arrangements to secure possible breaking stories, if any, are hazardous. Surburban rail stations announcing ``no service'' on Christmas and Boxing Days and cutbacks on Friday, Dec. 27. The rail logic is that not many people are likely to come in Friday. Local station master reasons that ``if you don't have to go in Wednesday or Thursday, why go in on Friday?''
This correspondent contemplating hoarding food before journalistic forays. Sandwichmaker just around corner from office informs that even if British Rail can deliver me to Waterloo Station Friday, he unable to provide me with usual midday sustenance.
``We'll be closed on Friday, sir. We're not opening up again, sir, until Jan. 2.''
I'm starting to suspect such long breaks over Christmas are regular practice. Remember dashing to accountant Thursday, Dec. 21, and being told office was closing down the next day. ``Won't open up again until after the New Year,'' says receptionist with pre-Christmas cheer.
Now I discover factories and many offices will also be closed until 1986. Am calling the Confederation of British Industry to make inquiries on what all this does for British efficiency.
Please advise whether you want me to develop latter idea for story or whether you want me to attempt piece on how Londoners spend free time away from office.
Come to think of it, as in London why not do as Londoners do? I'll just take break and instead send you and all the staff in Boston my kindest regards.