Sunday, 12 June 2016


Sunday wears a crown, and has a golden beard and a ring.
Sunday sings his psalms, and laughs and jokes,
and teaches his lessons in a booming voice.
And all creatures sleep in the peace of the earth,
and the earth in Sunday’s hand. *

I like this poem, particularly the last two lines; true, the mystical aspect of it is of less importance to me than to the poet, but the image and feelings he conjures up go right to the heart of my own Sunday self.

For as long as Beloved and I have been together I have made our Sundays stand out. The only exceptions have been the Sundays when he had a Sunday engagement, an afternoon concert, say, in some spa town, or at summer festivals. Moonlighting at weekends. If I went along we’d usually have a quick pizza between rehearsal and concert, which was all that was on offer in places like Tunbridge Wells or Brighton. Things might have changed a bit since then.

Until we met and moved in together, Sundays were nothing special to Beloved. Many English people use Sunday for d-i-y jobs, shopping trips, household chores. During my years of single-parenting and a full-time job I did as much as I could on Saturdays and always attempted to keep Sundays free; admittedly, mainly to recover from the past week and recharge batteries for the week following. There was a lot of solitary putting up of feet, involving listening to music and reading. The kids were old enough to amuse themselves and happy doing it. All three of us enjoyed solitude. except at Sunday dinner, which was a far more elaborate meal than weekday ones.

In my years with Beloved I have kept up the custom of making our Sunday meal special. Three courses with wine are the minimum requirements. Not that I do all the cooking, I might buy something at the delicatessen’s, certainly the starter, and sometimes the pudding too. But we sit and eat at leisure, savouring the food, sipping a glass of something pleasant, and talking. Talking is the main ingredient. it’s almost as if sitting at table fires up neurons and loosens the tongue. We are never at a loss for topics, even now. We might start by remarking on the weather: “Isn’t it still today, not a leaf stirring”/ or: "Heavens, just listen to that rain pounding the glass roof (of the conservatory)”. Then there are compliments about the food and, after careful sipping of the wine, a remark about how pleasant it all is. We'll mention what we did during the week, recall people we met, a play we saw, maybe a lecture we attended. Because it’s Sunday and Sundays are for being kind, I keep criticism to a minimum. Beloved is always kind, even on weekdays. Until we reach politics, current affairs and the deplorable state of beastly humanity, as evidenced by scores of examples daily. We never have to look far. We might not always agree on the causes or the strategies of amelioration; the debate could even get quite heated. It’s amazing how (mildly) reactionary I have become with age, when I was accused, for most of my life, of being “your textbook bleeding heart liberal’.

In this fashion we spend a good two hours being friends and enjoying each other, until Millie nags me into getting up and feeding her. She has her second meal of the day at 3pm on the dot and woe betide me if I forget. So I don’t. Usually.

And after that? Like the creatures in the poem we “sleep in the peace of the earth”. The wine might have had something to do with that.

*Eliseo Diego

transl. from the Spanish by J.M.Cohen


  1. This was lovely
    Most people spend Sunday moping that the morrow is Monday.

  2. As Sunday comes to an end here - a beautiful Sunday in which I relaxed, read, played in the garden and sat down to a lovely dinner - I think to myself 'ah....Friko is back'.

  3. Hi Friko - lovely to read ... thankfully a few of those Sundays still occur ... and I do prefer one day of the week to be a family day, time to reflect and chat ... a long walk if possible ... and then more winding down before gearing up for the week ahead - but with many different things to remember - not the norm.

    Have a peaceful week ahead ... that poem rings so true - wonderful to read and as the week starts I can be peaceful dwelling on the 'earth sleeping in Sunday's hand' - thanks for pointing us in this direction ... Hilary

  4. What a truly lovely tradition. And poem. Thank you.

  5. Your Sunday tradition sounds really special but of course it doesn't 'just happen' - it has to be worked at. Well done at a time when Sunday is rarely any different to the rest of the week.

  6. I love your Sunday ritual. It has to be a fine thing to sit and talk over a good meal like you describe so eloquently in this post. And such a treat to have two posts in close succession. Thank you. :-)

  7. 'We never have to look far. We might not always agree on the causes or the strategies of amelioration; the debate could even get quite heated. It’s amazing how (mildly) reactionary I have become with age'. Welcome to my world with my partner of 37 years. We agree on the sentiment but not the cause or cure.

  8. I love these words. Sunday is so very special. A bit of peace in the week before the crazies begin again. This is such a beautiful piece to read. It made me think of our Sundays, which begin together and often end together. We love a wonderful Sunday breakfast with the New York Times, often sharing an article or paragraph we find interesting. More times than not we go on our way till dinner. Unless it is good grilling weather, like yesterday, I will cook an early dinner so Rick doesn't have to fuss before he goes to Sunday music practice. And we take our time over it, wrapping up our day and week as you do. After practice he'll come over and we'll watch all our British TV shows -- unless it's like last night and the Tony's are on. It's a bookend to the frenetic pace of appointments and (for him) work and (for me) volunteering and art.

    In reading these words I sense a bit of return to normalcy, or -- as the new saying seems to be -- the new normal. I have learned that family rituals (for lack of a better word) don't just happen. We build them over time, bit by bit. I smile as I read these words, imagining you in your home, your garden, and yes -- in the quiet moments of a lovely Sunday.

  9. This is such a lovely post and one that I enjoyed reading very much.

    Sunday's were special when I was growing up. The meal was the best of the week and loved one's visited and laughter filled the house. Today, life is busier, but there still is something about the day that is relaxing and different than the other days of the week. It is a day for relaxing and enjoying the small things of life.

  10. Lovely, Friko. Simply lovely,
    We have always set Sunday aside in similar ways, and we always set our evening dinner aside as a time to be together; either the two of us alone, or the family when the children were growing. It is interesting to read this as last night, Sunday evening, I made a simple cold salmon salad on a bed of lettuce, but, put it on different dishes and used "garnish". Hahaha Tom noticed, though, and gave me a little toast for setting the places so nicely. The small things, especially on Sunday - in "Sunday's hand".

    I keep a commonplace book and will place this lovely poem in it. Thank you.

  11. my only sunday ritual is spending the day outdoors puttering around in the yard and gardens, weather permitting. oh and we always have a big late breakfast so I guess we share the special meal just at different times of the day. as for humanity, they are mean and violent creatures. best to stay away from them.

  12. Dear Friko, thank you for the Diego poem, which was entirely new to me. As I had my second cup of Monday morning coffee, reading the poem set the tone for your excellent Sunday post.

    For most of my own life a week was made of five work days, either at school or in gainful employment, with the two days of weekend as markers. Our calendars have Sunday as the beginning of the week; I know that some UK calendars begin the week with Monday.

    It was odd during my stint of retail employment to actually work on most Sundays, shaking up a pattern that had become set for ... oh, let's say over 50 years. Now, as a retired person, in a sense every day can be Sunday. Or Wednesday. It's an interesting transition to make, as I reconfigure some traditions.

    Your post has left me with a feeling of contemplation that is very pleasant. Thank you. xo

  13. Some traditions that are kept up contribute greatly to our quality of life. I can see this Sunday dinner.

  14. This post just made me happy. I have never done anything special on Sundays--in fact, it has somehow turned into my laundry day since I moved--LOL! Your Sundays sound wonderfully relaxing. :)

  15. this is nothing short of lovely. it's inspired me. my childhood Sundays were like this; my Mother cooked a roast beef dinner with roasted potatoes and fresh green beans and we were hopelessly bored and relaxed. You understand simple things, Friko; it serves you well.


  16. We, too, keep Sunday as a special day with a special meal and time for reflection and contemplation. We find it helps to recharge the batteries and move forward together. And as I've grown older and grumpier and more set in my ways, somehow our Sunday rituals calm whatever bumpy waters the other days may have presented us with!

  17. Your Sundays sound perfect. I also try to "keep Sundays." We do need that day that is like all the rest. Recently, my dear husband requested every Sunday off. I lamented him working on Sundays. I support his part-time after retirement working since it means so much to him, but I missed him so on Sundays, our specail days. Yesterday, Sunday, which happened to be our anniversary, he said, "I do enjoy having Sundays off." We do keep them open for church and brunch, long walks, a leisurely nap, or just sitting on the porch listening to the world around us.

  18. I had to do a bit of catching up, as I have been away from Blogland, sucking my own wounds. Yes, I thought, this is exactly what it feels like at this stage of life, or, in my case, at the end of my ropes. I have given up all my groups, most of our social events, keeping days open for exams, procedures and recuperating from them. I understand your reticence in spilling the beans. Some beans are best kept under lock and key.
    Sending you a virtual hug across Blogland.

  19. I love the poem. When the children lived at home and we were still married, we went to church every Sunday. We sometimes napped during the afternoon and took the kids swimming during the evening (we had a membership at an indoor pool). I didn't want Sundays to be spent working, though workaholic X usually had different ideas. At least he went to church with us.


  20. Quite a wonderful post about the true value of Sundays and relationships!

  21. Usually, my life is enjoyable all week - I like my work and my colleagues and all the other things I do before and after work. But Sundays do have a special feel about them, don't they. I love hearing the church bells on Sunday mornings, although I never go to church myself.
    Being on my own most of the time, I don't cook during the week. But when O.K. is with me on weekends, or I with him, we enjoy cooking and eating together, sometimes even preparing a three-course meal.
    For the activities during the day, much depends on the weather; if it is nice, we'll go for a leisurely run in the morning and maybe a walk in the afternoon, or we just stay in and enjoy each other's company, never lacking of something to talk about. Yes, Sundays are great, and I am so pleased to see you and Beloved still enjoy them together!

  22. I love Sundays, too. We always have a special meal, which is pretty much the highlight of a family-centered day.


  23. I suppose I should make it a rule to be kinder on Sundays:)

  24. I liked the poem, although in Google translation. Your Sunday tradition Friko is wonderful, to spend time together, speaking, drinking red wine and enjoying the life.

  25. What a lovely description of your special Sundays. Well worth preserving. Blessings from Dalamory

  26. Sunday through the years was always special.
    When children were at home, always church and sometimes eating out
    and other times a big meal had been prepared for myself, special one
    and 4 children.
    Now Sunday is the day everyone visits on birthdays, special holidays and
    big meals enjoyed, everyone walks on this land and then seems I stop over
    bodies as everyone takes a nap. Times I am here alone, it is my reading day,
    a meal prepared the day before, might putter in the garden and have continual
    thoughts of a life with many blessings and try to not think of times of no
    blessings :) calls from children and grandchildren...

  27. This past Sunday I had a treat: spending the day with a friend in just the way you describe -- although we spent a good bit of time in the car, roaming to far parts of the country to admire the riotous wildflowers. I spent four glorious days away from home, and completely away from the internet. There was a bit of anxiety when I couldn't get in touch with the kitty sitter to check on my furry darling, but eventually that anxiety was removed, and all was perfect.

    I loved our Sunday routine when I was a child -- church, dinner, sometimes a trip to my grandparents' home for dinner. Whatever we did, a slow pace and desultory conversation were the norm. Porch sitting seems to have fallen out of fashion, but it's just as wonderful as it ever was.

  28. How beautiful to hear of your special Sundays.

  29. I recall a very similar tradition in my married life and it began by observing my parents and then following that same pattern of Saturday cleaning and Sunday special meal times. Added to that was Saturday eve baking for Sunday mornings. I loved this post.
    Danke für diese Errinerungen.

  30. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance....a good thing too!

  31. Sundays things are quiet here and we are sometimes on our own, but we have taken to making weekend meals like your Sunday meals - slow, relaxed, a time for all of us to catch up and laugh and debate.

  32. My favorite line in this altogether lovely post is this: "Beloved is always kind, even on weekdays."


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