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Just manic about Monday.

Byline: By Tony Pogson

Terrible day, Monday. For a start you have to drag yourself back from the leisure of the weekend to the necessity of earning a living - and doesn't the body resent it at times?

Of course it doesn't help that you may be nursing a brute of a hangover or when your sports team has lost. And now there's research to back up the feeling that things are more likely to go wrong on a Monday.

Insurance company Direct Line, pushing its Home Response 24, reports that more than 40% of its emergency call-outs to homes are received on Manic Monday, more than any other day of the week.

For proof they turned to Prof Heinz Wolff, professor of bioengineering at Brunel University and head of the European Space Agency.

(Sounds, and is, impressive, but I prefer to think of him as the inventor of TV's The Great Egg Race and a man who is beautifully described on the Speakers for Business website as a "notorious scientist and inventor". Clearly a man with a sense of humour.)

He explains: "At weekends many people go into their TREL (tolerant, relaxed, easy going and lazy) mode when urgency is muted and leisure is precious, and if by mischance the cooker does not work and the bathwater is cold, you go out for lunch and stay marginally dirtier.

"As the weekend comes to an end TREL produces its antibody called MAF (Monday Activity Fever).

"The weekend's failures are added to those which would occur on Monday anyway, thus producing about three-sevenths of the weekly load on one day."

Now you may or may not buy that explanation but at least the maths are a good fit with the Direct Line 40% of call-outs very nearly equal to the prof's three-sevenths.

We all know that people have a tendency to sleep in later on a Monday morning , to be playing catch-up all day and so prone to stress and to be less careful as we work at a faster pace.

But you can't accuse a machine of any of that. Again Heinz has the answer: "Some facilities will be more intensively used on Saturday and Sunday, which if slightly faulty already could bring about a breakdown."

Direct Line's Simon Ziviani extends this to holidays too: "Homeowners tend to experience emergencies such as broken heating or no hot water when there is a sudden increase in activity in the home. For example, at Christmas when family and friends come to visit, increased use of lighting, gas and plumbing places strain on utilities. At such times any weakness in the system greatly increases the chance of breakdowns."

Glad to hear that, chaps. I just thought I was jinxed.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 10, 2004
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