Letter from the editor: Welcome to Absent April

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The Independent Online

I write this letter at the same computer terminal at roughly the same time every day. I have a view looking up Kensington Church Street, one of the best-appointed thoroughfares in west London.

I mention this merely because the view is generally of a long queue of traffic inching its way to the traffic lights. As I write these words, I can see no congestion, in fact hardly any traffic. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear it was a Sunday.

Instead, welcome to Absent April, the month when it seems everyone has, metaphorically, taken a Ryanair flight to Malaga. Are we having more holidays than ever before? I’m not that old (honest!) but even I remember the time when you’d only notice mass absenteeism for a couple of weeks in August, and Bank Holidays meant one day and not a whole week. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining.

Actually, I am. Newspaper sales used to suffer in the height of the season, but now every half-term break seems to last a fortnight, and summer seems to go on forever - with, of course, an adverse effect on circulation. So, if you insist on going on holiday all the time, head for a destination where they sell i! I hear that Weston-super-Mare is very nice at this time of year.

Btw, it seems I wasn’t alone in re-evaluating the Grand National in the wake of the deaths of two horses and the life-threatening injury sustained by a jockey on Saturday. Opposition is growing to the staging of the race, as you will see from today’s front page, and you wrote to me in great numbers in response to my letter of yesterday. It’s a subject I will return to tomorrow. In the meantime, forget the sunblock. Met men say there’s less to come!