Saturday, 12 September 2015

All the SUNDAYS of my life...


'Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon' ~ Susan Ertz

A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

I got the idea for this post after reading one by Tom Angel: Every Day is like a Sunday...
.....and it got me thinking about the changing face of the day of rest; these are my experiences but I am sure many will share similar :)

My 1960s childhood Sundays meant a church service I thought would never end, forcing down Sunday lunch (I hated it!), a walk in the woods, David Copperfield on telly at about five-thirty (with tea on the coffee table in the sitting room, such a treat!), and that feeling of doom about school on Monday.  Brussel sprouts, long sermons and the dread of Monday aside, very nice ~ but it all went downhill when I mooched (in a particularly gauche fashion) out of childhood.  I don't think today's teenagers, with their short attention spans and need to be constantly entertained by iThis and iThat, would be able to deal with the long dark tea-time of the soul that was four o'clock on a winter Sunday afternoon in the 1970s :)

Photo by Max Dupain

The 'long dark tea time' phrase was nicked from Douglas Adams, of course.  It's perfect, isn't it?  I remember it so well, sitting upstairs in my bedroom, cold and dark outside, wondering what on earth to do with all those hours until bed time; I can't recall what my parents did on Sunday afternoons; not that they do any of these things now, but they certainly didn't go shopping, watch DVDs or go for a drink ~ televisual entertainment was a three channel affair and pubs/shops weren't open!  I think Dad did stuff in the garden and Mum in the kitchen.  As an older teenager, when I was at the stage of being in the house as little as possible, I can remember wandering around dark, wet streets with my friends (doubtless with our flared jeans dragging in the damp - I'm talking the mid 1970s!), stretching out a coffee in the only place that was open, whilst we waited for the pub to welcome us back at seven o'clock.

I like to think we were more subtle about it....
..
  ... which brings me onto the 1980s, which wasn't much different.  I loved going out for a drink or six in those days, but if you didn't get to the pub by one o'clock on a Sunday you couldn't get as pissed as you want to when you're in your twenties, because opening hours were a meagre noon until two pm.  During most of that decade I had a shop in Northampton town centre with Husband #1, and we lived above it; our 'local', The King Billy, was only twenty seconds walk away.


Something we used to do with a group of friends was the shared all day lunch with a theme - French Day, or American Day.  We'd each bring a course, and dress up appropriately.  Average calorie intake each ~ 4000 for the day.  Such days always resulted in increased sales of Andrews Liver Salts.  Great way to spend a Sunday, though, especially in the winter!

Sundays weren't always about self-indulgence, I hasten to add!  We used to do those indoor crafty/arty type fairs in which we sold the wares from our shop, or went for long saunters in places like Salcey Forest, which is in Northamptonshire. 


In the early 1990s I used to spend Sundays at the casino - I was living with a compulsive gambler!  Oh, those six hour long games of kalooki, the sessions round the blackjack table during which our holiday fund was lost to the turn of the card....  and it was some time during the 1990s that shops began to open on Sundays between 10 and 4, wasn't it?  Like many people, I was against it.  Not from the religious aspect (though I understand and respect that, of course!), but because it stopped Sunday being something special, a bit different.  

In the late 1990s I was an alternate weekend step-parent, which I loved; Saturday nights was spent under the duvets with Jonathan Creek and scary films, but Sundays meant the park, and gamesUm, and sometimes it would be a drink or two in a pub garden, many pubs being more family orientated by then.  The Crown and Cushion, on the way back from Abington Park, even had a children's play area, and my 11 year old stepsons were allowed into the pub to play pool with their father.

Delightful stepson David, now doing Sunday things with his own daughter!

In 2000 I moved to Cromer in Norfolk - and what would Sunday be without a walk on the beach, whatever the weather, calling into The Kings Head on the way back? I worked full time then, so Sunday was a wonderful day - always is if you live by the sea, regardless of the time of year!

Photos by Jackie Rivett

 Me and Kings Head chums Ema, Gail (landlady) and Fee, on a return visit in 2013!

Nowadays, of course, people go shopping, stay in the pub all day, go to work ~ Sunday is a lot like any other day, though it still has its own atmosphere, doesn't it?  There's something about the papers, the smell of the beef cooking ~ which often means opening the first bottle of red; not that I've done that for a few years now, as I'm married to someone who doesn't eat meat, I hardly drink, no longer get the paper and am usually writing!  Oh, and when I go to stay with my father I even accompany him to church... and enjoy it, too.  Mostly because I am fascinated by the history of the church (some parts of which were built in the 10th century), it has to be said!

 Daddy outside church

It's still a bit special, Sunday, isn't it?  Always will be....


38 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Terry...nostalgic.
    I remember the never ending Church service and the Sunday lunch from the 60's-70's (I loved the Sunday lunch, still do. These days in contrast to the eye-rolling-child that I was I love the Church service too when I can get there. :)

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    1. Yes, it all looks so different when you're your parents' age, doesn't it??!!

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  2. I love this nostalgic article, makes me remember my Sundays at different stages of my life. I also had that feeling of doom on Sunday evening.

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    1. Oh yes! Was worse when in a job you disliked, too - the doom would start at about 2pm!

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  3. Ah Terry, you almost make me like Sundays! I've found them depressing my whole life, and have always liked Mondays better...strange beast that I am! Your post, though, makes it feel good. Love it, and of course, I love a bit of nostalgia too, hence my predeliction for writing memoirs xx

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    1. Nostalge, Nostalge, Val! Yeah, I've never been that keen, always preferred Thursday, dunno why! Was born on that day, tho :)

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  4. Ha! As I was brought up Jewish...subst Saturday for Sunday...and that was me! (And the services were in Hebrew)

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    1. Really? Wow! The church we went to was, I believe, 'high church', and did all the incense swinging stuff once a month, when the service went on FOREVER.... I like going to the communion service with Dad, tho, esp at 8.30 on winter mornings. Little quiet Saxon church, lovely :)

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  5. Hi Terry - a lot of this brings back memories ... I've always loved Sunday lunches, long walks afterwards ... either with friends or families. Our house was too far away from the town to start drinking early in youth ... though can't say that continued ... as long as I played squash ... I could sweat the liquid off!

    But I agree - Sundays should be different and we can make them so ... keeping the weekends as special times and incorporate family time into the gardening, chores, etc but having a wonderful healthy time too ...

    A good roast - where's mine now?! I also don't drink much either ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Oh yes, Sunday lunch is lovely, isn't it? When I go to stay with Dad we usually go out for it, which I enjoy v much. 20 years ago, he and Mum, too, used to open bottle after bottle and it would last until half way through the afternoon, but no more... :)

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  6. Great post - looking at how we spend one day a week reflects all apsects of our lives!

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  7. Your wonderful, nostalgic post somehow made me think of the old Kris Kristofferson "Sunday Morning Coming Down". Very American, and a snapshot of my own youth.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=men-059FGL0

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  8. Thanks for that, I just watched it! Very American indeed - and was that Tim Robbins introducing it??!! :)

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  9. I agree, Sundays are always better by the sea! We had our sunniest Spring day so far today, so I spent part of my afternoon reading in the sun and feel like a million dollars :-)

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    1. Ah, you know how I envy your lifestyle, Jade!

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    2. I remember my Sundays in the 1980s/ early 1990s which were written in stone! I was very glad when Sunday trading came in, I don't believe that 'special' time with your family on a Sunday can only be spent away from shops, which is often the only time we can go into town as a family anyway, it's about what you do together rather than where you are. When I was younger I remember sitting listening to the Radio 1 chart show in my grandparents with a tape in and hurriedly recording songs I liked for my 'mix tape', church most Sundays, Sunday lunch (which I got sooo fed up with I do different dinners on a Sunday in our house these days!) and Antiques Roadshow. Oh, and All Creatures Great and Small! Wasn't Dallas and Howards Way on on a Sunday too? I'm sure I'm creating all kinds of Sunday memories for my kids but I hope they're good ones!

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    3. Ha ha, lovely to read what other people remember, too! I think Dallas was on Wednesdays, can't remember about Howards Way - loved it, tho!

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    4. I'll have to take some more photos to torment you with soon, Terry! ;)

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  10. Great post, Terry and a lot like my own Sunday experiences

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  11. As Terry's sister, I understand exactly what she's talking about. I too hated Sunday lunch and would sit for hours trying to make the food disappear without actually eating it. I remember our dad (pictured about outside church) saying 'if you don't eat your dinner you can't have any dessert,' so I said 'fine, I won't have any dessert then,' but apparently that wasn't an option. Of course, now I'm a 58-year-old mature person so when he says to me, 'aren't you going to finish up what's on your plate,' I say, 'I don't have to, you ain't the boss of me!' Er ........

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    1. I still remember you crying because you weren't allowed any tinned peaches and ice cream because you hadn't eaten your first course. I used to look at the meat and sprouts and think it was physically impossible for me to eat it, because I hated it so much.

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  12. Sunday Sunday, so good to me...Thanks for bringing back those days, Terry. We always had toast covered with beef dripping and marmite for Sunday tea (made on a toasting fork round my grandmother's coal fire.....) Aaaaaaah ��

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    1. Ah, lovely! Do send me a DM with your email if you still want to be featured on The Zodiac Files, won't you? I've got spaces in December... I know, it's a bit booked up, the response has been better than I anticipated! But Dec will come round soon enough :)

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  13. As teens I remember on a Sunday walking through the gardens to the beach and there would hardly be a soul around (out of season) but it's busy every day now whether in season or out ... and it was the day for a KFC lunch too.

    Loved this post Terry.

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    1. Ahhhh - yes, such a shame that everything changes.. I don't think KFC was around when I was a teenager, there was just Wimpy bars!!! Thanks, glad you liked the post :)

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  14. Loved this post, Terry - the first I've read in a long time (today is my 'coming back into the world' day ;) ), and perfect to set the tone for my state of mind at the moment. Sometimes life itself feels like a Sunday afternoon, do you know what I mean? But today is definitely 'Monday morning' and I'm kind of ambivalent about being back at school. xxx PS You write so beautifully, even when it's only a blog post.

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    1. Thanks, Jo, and welcome back! Yes, and I know that Sunday afternoon feeling...
      ps, thanks! - but it's never 'only' a blog post.. :)

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  15. I was born in 1962 in Sweden and had a good childhood and teenage years but I recall hating Sundays in general and Sunday meals so much from when I was a little girl (4 or so) all the up to my late teens! Not because of the food, that was OK, but because I always was required by my mother and father to dress nice for Sunday meals and I've always hated it! We always ate Sunday meals in the living room and I was required to put on a white, long-sleeved, blouse and a black, knee-length, skirt with belt (wearing a black waistcoat with the blouse was also required sometimes but not often). A few times I was required to wear black "better" trousers with belt but still with a white blouse.

    When I'd corrected the blouse collar and did the blouse button as told it was time to jump up onto the chair before the Sunday meal could began. Everything became strict and tight-fitting and I just had to sit there on the chair, smile and behave well and try to socialize while trying to avoid spilling down the blouse while eating. Hours felt like years.

    After the Sunday meal I could take off, unless we'd guests coming to visit which meant I wasn't allowed to take these clothes off until the final guest had left our single-family house. I was also required to wear these clothes for other more special events with my parents like Christmas and other holidays, birthdays, visiting nicer restaurants visiting relatives or getting visited by relatives, no matter if it was Sunday or not (we rarely went to church, just a few times around Advent-Christmas). There aren't school uniforms in Sweden so coming back to school on Monday mornings I felt relaxed (even if I always liked school in general).

    These days there are still children required to dress nice for Sunday meals and other special events but regular every single Sunday is becoming less common.

    Anna

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    1. Thanks, Anna, I read this with great interest. Today's children and teenagers don't know how easy they have it, do they?!

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    2. First of all I don't mind much for "children and teenagers these days" (which had always been around). Many of today's children are required to go weekend shopping with their parents instead since shops now are open on Sundays (which you may hate as a child even if there's a children's corner in the departement store).

      Even if there were less TV and radio or no video, no home computer, no computer- and videogames and no Internet as we know it I was rarely bored on weekday afternoons. I could play as a child or read a book or listen to music as a teenager if I was alone. It was being required to dress in a blouse and skirt for Sundays and special events I hated since the strict environment felt like a major restriction. Especially for Christmas I was required to war these clothes (blouse and skirt) often (still liked Christmas).

      In general my parents weren't very strict. But they were superstrict when it came to requiring me to "be a polite and well-mannered girl and show a good behaviour and dress well for special events" and "respect also the event" as they told me.

      Anna

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    3. Well, thank goodness you're grown up now and can make your own choices - I remember how much I hated school uniform!

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    4. But were you also required to regular dress nice for Sundays and Sunday meals? If so, what were you required to wear, and did you hate it?

      Anna

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  16. What a great way to remember so many phases in your life! I don't know that Sundays ever felt that different to me in America as they do here. I didn't go to church as a kid, Americans don't really do Sundays the way Brits do, I guess it is more of a veg out day. I remember being dragged fishing with my Dad most likely! I vaguely remmeber shops not being open, but then I do remember loving working on a Sunday once I was a teen because at that point we stil got paid extra! I love the idea of your themed lunches, that sounds fun! :-)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Steff :)

      I think Sundays in the UK is more of a veg out day today, but growing up in a 1970s middle class and very traditional family was a whole different ball game!

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