Yesterday was Sunday.
Depending on your perception, Sunday is the first or seventh day, a religious high day, or just part of the weekend, a day off from work, or school; for many it is a day to work at or from home, doing the jobs for which there isn't time during the week. When I was still gainfully employed, Saturdays were a slog but Sunday morning was for lying in, a leisurely perusal of the paper, a home cooked meal for lunch, and quality time with the family in the afternoon.
By Sunday evening the joys of quality time had palled, and all three of us were bored to distraction, the kids were looking forward to seeing their friends at school and I was usually ready to go back to work next morning.
Neither Beloved nor I work for money now, our time is our own, all week, Sundays included. However, my catholic training from long ago still makes me feel that Sundays are special, that I must do something to lift Sunday out of the pleasant but mundane routine and make each one memorable, whatever the effort involved. No gain without pain.
It's a feeling I fight very hard to overcome.
Sadly, we lack all the usual Sunday diversions: we have no grannies to entertain, children to bore with family games, or the endurance test of family visits; we are not given to going on strenuous nature rambles - nature is strictly for weekdays. Sunday pub lunches are a definite no-no: all you can eat of the set meal, the Sunday Roast, two kinds of potato and various vegetables, all swimming in gravy, with a steam pudding and custard to follow, until you need the help of a crane to lift you off your chair at the end of it. The pub is crammed full with robust and hearty eaters tucking in, granny and widowed uncle Bertie included; the younger couples have brought their children and small kids are racing each other between the tables. Strong-armed waitresses, red-faced and glowing with perspiration, heaving laden plates and heavy dishes, keep the throng supplied.
Carl Spitzweg - Der Spaziergang
Childhood Sundays were equally nightmarish. On Summer Sundays one went for a walk.
In those far off days there was still a difference in clothing between work-a-day clothing and Sunday Best. Dad and custom decreed that for Sunday walks in the park only Sunday Best was good enough. Dad set the tone by wearing a light weight, light coloured suit, topped with a hat and a walking stick over his arm. Mother wore her best floral silk, a fetching hat, gloves, and high heels, which were killing her halfway through the walk.
But the tortured child suffered the most. Picture the poor innocent in her pretty, smocked or ruched frock, often white but certainly no darker than pastel-hued, white cotton ankle socks and tight fitting, black patent leather shoes. Every scuffed step would leave a black mark on the sock, there was no skipping off or kicking stones, no touching anything that could cause a smudge on the dress. "Pick up your feet,", "Don't dawdle", "Don't touch". All the other families were out too, this was an occasion to see and be seen, to meet and greet. Dad's hat was lifted and replaced every few steps, women stepped aside for a moment to exchange a pleasant word, while keeping an eagle eye on the young, who were required to curtsey or bow, depending on gender, every time this happened. Adults shook hands formally.
These walks were interminable, from one end of the park to the other, around the lake, and back again.
The highlight was getting too close to the swans on the lake and squealing in terror when these made to
follow the culprit, who was then roundly admonished to "behave yourself", or "stop being silly".
Once safely back home, suits and dresses were taking off, brushed and hung up again, to await the next outing. Mothers said "just look at your socks and shoes, whatever have you been doing?"
Sunday lunch in the garden
Sundays chez nous are simplicity itself. Lunch is important to us, but we eat the food suitable for the occasion, considering the weather, the effort involved and our appetites. Nobody is obliged to do anything they don't feel like doing and we never play games. We might whistle for the dog, grab a stick and take a gentle walk by the river; we might pick up a book and spend the afternoon reading. We might linger over a bottle, sit in the shade of the old plum tree, talk, and even fall asleep. Whether we are joined by friends or we are on our own, the procedure is the same. Relaxation is the order of the day.
Sunday Best never gets a look-in.