I am an Easter Bunny.. Not THE Easter Bunny, although it was one of the few unsuitable employment suggestions not made by Job-centre Plus. No, I was born a few minutes into Easter Saturday, a shrieking red egg in a wet black wig. Perhaps as a result of delightful birthday associations, I have always liked Easter. It has changed, like all festivals and fetes, immensely. When I was a little girl; we had a new outfit to go to Church in on Easter Sunday. I did in fact possess an Easter Bonnet, made from straw and decked with flowers. Good Friday was taken very seriously and deep gloom pervaded the atmosphere. We were left in no doubt as to the meaning and symbolism of Easter.
Now, of course, it’s a riot of chocolate and amusing fluffy animals. As I like to keep an eye on the greetings card business as a useful indicator of social mores, I was interested to see a card depicting a Jessica Rabbit-style sexy bunny leaping out of a chocolate egg. Had she also been waving a WKD bottle and a scratch card, the four main British preoccupations could have been united in one tasteful artwork.
Interesting things happen at Eastertide. We usually have volatile weather; which means that dear little snowdrops valiantly poke their heads out of the earth at the first rays of spring sunlight, only to be savagely laid low by a vicious frost or blizzard. Things are born. My son was an Easter Thing, too. His expected birthdates was my birthday. I wasn’t having that. Imagine shared birthdays with an unfeasibly cute baby or toddler? It would be years before anyone remembered mine again. So I sat on him firmly for two days instead. This plan was nearly scuppered by the decision of some well-wishers to disrupt the Grand National at Aintree with a bomb scare. Now I was born within trotting distance of Becher’s Brook, and it is the one sporting event of which I occasionally take a bit of notice. For this one, I was having my birthday chez Mum, watching the race thing revving up, and taking up an entire small sofa, junior due along any minute. When the evacuation of punters started, suddenly there were elaborately dressed folk outside our house, and helicopters a-go-go. I expected a few horses to pitch up any minute and ask if they could sleep on the couch. The entire locality was offering overnight stays to stranded racegoers, apparently. They would have taken one glance at me, ticking away like an unexploded baby-bomb, and fled.
I am not sentimental by nature; however, there is something rather marvellous about this time of year. Renewal, optimism, and resurgence is all around, from daft lambs wobbling about all over verdant fields, to the cheerful Liverpool girls believing that this year they will totter to the races in five-inch heels and no-one will sneer at them in the press.
I enjoy seeing nursery school-age children making terrible Easter cards, trailing lumps of glue and cotton wool. I thrill to the appearance of spring clothes in the shops, even though I look foul in pastels and all clothes these days are made to fit thermometers with breasts. I am even forgiving towards sofa sales advertisements on the television. Although the advertisers seem to believe that every single man woman and child in the UK can and will buy three sofas a year, if only they can hit on the right mixture on wholesome family and annoying pop music to flog the blasted things. I much prefer Eastertide to summer. British summers are usually all talk and no action, with that air of disappointment born of watching grey rain stream down a grimy windowpane, day after day. Then it suddenly get wildly hot in September, when everyone has stomped crossly back to work and school, and everything feels grubby and sticky rather than balmy and sunbaked.
In the Easter holidays, a warm sunny day feels fresh and like an unexpected present. Here in the Northwest at least, it will naturally result in pallid freckly souls rushing out covered in cooking oil and severely damaging their skins. It won’t last long enough for them to do the full “Vampire Exposed To Daylight” shrivel, and when they get out of A&E it will have clouded over nicely.
So here are my top ten lovely things about Easter-time
And, for those of you on the darker side, ten loathsome things for the sake of balance
And a joyful Easter full of buns and optimism to you all.