I know there is a view held by some people – Baroness Murphy has variously expressed it, for example, on Lords of the Blog – that I don’t take holidays. Well, it is sort of true. I don’t see the point of sitting wasting time on a beach and I have never seen the point of partying. Because of the number of speaking invitations I receive, I regularly travel to different countries (sometimes for quite a period of time) and as a result have seen a good deal of the world. I regard this as far more worthwhile than swanning around not doing anything.
I do, though, occasionally take weekends off – sometimes long weekends – and disappear, usually to the continent, either on my own or with a friend. The two things (weekends off, going somewhere) are inextricably linked: if I don’t discipline myself to book somewhere, I will get on with work. I rather like working at weekends – Saturdays especially are great for research – but it’s nice once in a while to have a change. And by travelling by train to, say, Paris or Amsterdam I can get lots done on the train.
What’s more, in 2009 I did take a week off to go on holiday (to Belgium and the Netherlands) with a friend. I won’t say it was a traditional holiday – my friend’s interest in churches is on a par with my interest in legislatures – but it did qualify nonetheless as a holiday. And to prove it, here’s a jolly picture, taken in Bruges. Admittedly, it was the first week-long holiday I have taken since, I think, 1973 (unless one counts a US coast-to-coast car trip of several days in 1975). No point in overdoing things.