Sunday, 24 February 2013

Whatever happened to Sunday?

With life rapidly moving towards a 24/7 experience I'm beginning to hanker after the days when things were a little slower paced. We live in a world where opening hours of businesses are getting longer and everyone seems to expect to be able to do anything at any time of the day or week. The attitude is "I want everything, I want it now, and I want it delivered within 24 hours if you haven't got it on the shelf".
People are increasingly unable to switch off from the commercially driven life they lead, which I think is an important thing to be able to do if you want to retain any level of sanity.
That's what Sunday used to be about - a day of rest. Regardless of the religious aspects of Sunday, having one day a week in which to completely chill out really does make a difference.
Maybe it's just me getting older but I appreciate the concept of the traditional Sunday more and more.
I'm not suggesting for one moment that we all need to go to church in our 'Sunday best' every week because that really is expecting too much, but surely there's appeal to the idea of lying in bed until about 10 o'clock, having a full english breakfast, reading the Sunday papers, then heading to the pub for a quiet pint or two before returning home for a great big roast dinner and a hearty pudding that's so heavy you don't dare weigh yourself for several days after.
I know as a kid when the only Sunday trading was the local newsagent for about two hours in the morning and the pubs at lunchtime, I often moaned about there being nothing to do. I'd spend the day finding ingenious ways of wasting time until dinner then watching some dreary crap on telly until it was time for a bath and bed. Funny how that now sounds like an ideal Sunday.
Before Sunday trading took off it would be a perfectly common sight to see people taking their 17 year old kids to the local supermarket car park to teach them the basics of how to control a car, which I think was a really good idea - surely better to learn the fundamentals there than out on the open road. Anyone wanting to do that now is stuffed. Every supermarket is open seven days a week, and even the industrial estates are a no-go zone for such activity thanks to so many businesses working all weekend and the proliferation of CCTV surveillance. Try letting your kid learn to drive your car in those places and you'll end up with some jumped-up security guard turning purple at you and a visit from the local hobby-bobby.
Sunday was also the one day of the week when you could go for a drive for the sake of it and actually enjoy the experience.
In the days when petrol didn't cost an arm, a leg and the soul of your first-born, the amount of traffic on the road on a Sunday was fairly minimal and you'd have ample opportunity for a fun blast down your favourite country roads, whilst neatly slipping past the inevitable couple of old farts in a Morris Minor determined not to exceed 20mph because you knew with absolute certainty that at some point they'd perform an emergency stop for a layby full of litter so they could stare through the windscreen while drinking weak tea from a tartan thermos flask.
Now any thoughts of a pleasant drive on a Sunday get dashed the moment you pull out of your street because you find yourself confronted by the same level of traffic as you normally find on the way to work any other day of the week.
This is why early on a sunny Sunday morning in the summer you might be woken up by the sound of numerous motorcycles going past your house at warp factor six. But don't hate them. They're just trying to get in as many miles of fun as possible and back home before Tesco and Homebase open.