Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Make Sundays special

You may be surprised to learn this, but I'm a very traditional sort of person. I prefer baths to showers, wet shaves to electric and after shave to skin moisturisers. I like my bread to be buttered (not smeared with a chemical concoction of dubious origin) my tea brewed properly in a teapot and my milk whole.

I also like my Sundays special.

Now I know a lot of people my age will remember the days when Sundays were typically very quiet and shudder at the prospect of a return to such ideas. I know a lot of people thought that Sundays then were very boring, but I loved them - perhaps because I never got bored as a child. Even with no television for half the day, no computer games or consoles and very little money there was always something to do.

Sunday mornings were usually spent doing "essential" maintenance on my bike (a collection of old bits of bike I had recovered from scrap). This usually amounted to adjusting the one brake it had, pumping up the tyres and respraying the frame in the latest lurid colour. Alternatively I'd help my dad in the garden or my mum in the kitchen preparing Sunday lunch and baking.

We'd sit down to eat our Sunday lunch together while listening to Two Way Family Favourites on Radio 2 and then, after a suitable period of rest (usually spent watching The Big Match) I'd be off out for the afternoon. Hopping on my freshly painted (and hopefully dry) bike I'd be out onto the mercifully quiet streets and do a tour of all the local haunts where my friends would be hanging out.

As I've mentioned before, the part of Slough I lived in was semi-rural, so there were meadows, streams, ponds and such like to check out as well as the usual collection of waste ground and building sites. Even in the unlikely event that I didn't bump into any friends there were always places where you know you could find something to do - an informal kick-a-bout at the local recreation ground for instance (these games often consisted of around 20 a side!). Even if they weren't friends of mine they were usually always happy to let you join in - very different from today.

I'd then head home when it started to get dark or when I got hungry - whichever came first - and would sit down with the family once more for tea, a bit more telly, then a bath (school the next day, you see). There really wasn't any time to get bored.

I still try to keep my Sundays pretty much like they were. We have a rule in the Stan household that we do not go shopping on Sundays unless it is a quick walk down to the local corner shop for essentials such as milk, coffee or toilet rolls - I don't count the walk to the newsagents to get the Sunday papers as "shopping". Most of all I try to ensure that my kids grow up understanding that Sundays are for family and friends - and that is what makes them special.

I have no religious objections to Sunday shopping, although I do believe that there should be more restrictions on it - particularly the idea of restricting those shops that can open to only those which have a floor space less than 1000 sq ft. Other than that I believe we should all do what we can to make our own Sundays special however we can.


Rational Anarchist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rational Anarchist said...

(sorry - couldn't figure out how to edit)

I normally agree with most of what you say, and I like the idea that people take a little time for themselves, but I do not feel that restrictions are the way to do it. Denying others their freedoms, particularly "for their own good" is a bad thing, if you ask me.

I have no problem with people wanting to keep their own Sunday special. I don't think they should be able to dictate what others can and can't do though. If people want to shop (and to work in the shops) then why restrict them at all? Is there any good reason for doing so?

Religious reasons are not what I'd consider "good" reasons. Everyone should have the option to do as they wish. If you want to have a quiet day working on your bike, or wandering through the countryside, you can.

I don't agree with the argument that people have all the rest of the week for shopping. I work long hours Monday to Friday, and often have to work at least part of my Saturday. If I could not shop on Sunday, I'd hardly be able to shop at all - and it's already very annoying that most of the big stores (which offer much better value) are unable to open for more than a few hours on Sunday.

Stan said...

The only restriction I mentioned was the limit to what size of shops can open on Sundays. I suggest such a thing because it would hopefully help keep traffic off the road a little and give a boost to local traders. Other than that I don't suggest any restrictions - just suggest that more people should make an effort to make their own Sunday a special day for themselves.

Thanks anyway - you've given me inspiration for another post!

Blognor Regis said...

I've come around to this idea recently. I used to think "hey what's the big deal?" but now it seems kind of sad, everyone rushing to out of town enormo-stores of a Sunday. I've no rational reason to explain why I think it is, it just is.