'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 games. Um, 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!
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....