Sunday 21st August
The day of rest. It always used to be, didn’t it? I don’t think it really works like that anymore. Maybe to some. I don’t know. Do people still do Sunday things on a Sunday?
Sundays were weird when I was a kid.
My sister and I were either left in the back of a car for hours with a bag of crisps and a flat coke to share while my mother and stepfather got wankered in a pub. (And it was literally for hours. The car was never locked either. It was the 1980’s in Birmingham, kids ran feral and wild amongst the punks and skinheads. I’ve got memories of conversations with skinheads with tattoos on their faces and punks with wild coloured hair while hanging around outside pubs while my mother and stepfather got pissed inside. Then they’d drive us home. While super drunk. Without seatbelts. The stepfather that is, not the skinheads. Although it would have been safer with the skinheads.)
Honestly. That was the 1980’s.
Or, if they’d been out the night before, which was often, then we had to be quiet. You know, cos they had hangovers. And being quiet means shut the fuck you fucking runts. Yeah. Super childhood.
My stepfather would sit and chain smoke in the living room. If it was summer, we were sent outside to play with matches. If not, then we had to stay in the lounge and watch one of the three channels on TV. (Channel 4 came along later.) Or the creepy weird dude would come round with a suitcase full of pirate VHS movies and we’d watch a seriously ropey grainy colour bleached copy of ET, or Indiana Jones while passive smoking 3 packets of Dunhill. And if the stepfather ran out then we’d get sent to the shop to buy more ciggies for him. It’s nuts when you think back that kids could buy smokes. I think the laws were probably in place by then to stop that, but nobody gave a shit.
Then we’d have The Sunday Roast. Oh god. The mere thought of it makes me shudder. Tough, overcooked meat. Normally beef so dry you could break walls down with it. Or lamb. Then soggy overcooked veg and either rubbery spuds, or greasy nasty roast spuds. Oh stop. Honestly. I hated it. Sitting at the table in silence listening to squelches and slurps of people eating in a house full of smoke with the stench of booze still coming out of the pores of two bad tempered awful parents hating each other cos of some shit that went down in the pub the night before. And the gravy! Fuck the gravy. It was this awful lumpy brown goo that was half water and half bits of snot and mucus. That’s what it looked like. Mind you, you had to have the gravy to soften the dry beef and rubbery spuds. And God forbid you didn’t eat all the veg.
‘Kids in Africa are fucking starving for that you ungrateful puff.’
(They didn’t actually say it like that. They used the N word. Or other really bad words to denote people of colour.)
Then my sister and I got sent into the kitchen to wash the dishes. Everyone used washing-up bowls then. I think that was a thing left over from the war or something, to preserve water maybe? Anyway. Yeah. You’d fill a plastic bowl full of water and washing up liquid (always Fairy) and then use that water to wash every single item. From the cutlery to the plates to the baking tins still encrusted with bits of spud and burnt meat. The water was filthy by a quarter of the way through, and we never once rinsed the washing up liquid off the plates either. You just put them on the drainer to let the bubbles slide off – or rather, my sister put them on the drainer as she normally washed up and I dried and put-away. Which I didn’t think was fair cos drying the dishes was one task, and putting-away was another, whereas she only had to wash-up. But yeah. The water was filthy and cold within minutes and the tea towel was drenched shortly after. We had to ask permission to get another tea towel out. Which was often met with lots more swearing.
Once that was done, we’d go back into the lounge and try and find the sofa through the dense clouds of cigarette smoke – that’s nuts too cos everyone knew how dangerous smoking, and second-hand smoke, was. There were loads of adverts about it literally everywhere. We stank of cigs. Our clothes. The furniture, and I dread to think the damage it did to us.
But anywho. Then we’d sit and watch Dusty Bin and Ted Rogers, or Jim Bowen on Bullseye, or Bob Monkhouse, or Frankie Howard. Frankie Howard not so much cos the stepfather was deeply homophobic, and racist, and bigoted, as were my entire family.
Weirdly though they all loved Jimmy Saville. Who not only looked like a child molester, but who was an actual child molester. I remember watching him on TV and thinking he’s so f*cking creepy. He made my skin crawl. Kids would be all like I’m writing in to Jim’ll Fix It then I can and get a medal. I was like nooooope, no way am I sitting on that freak’s lap. Seriously. Look at him. No. Actually look at him. He’s a freak.
But everyone loved him. Aye. People are odd.
Later we’d have Sunday tea. Sandwiches mainly. Still in silence. Then we got sent to bed to read. That was my happiest time. Been able to read and escape. Comics. Roald Dahl. Enid Blyton. Anything I could get really.
But urgh. Yeah. Sundays sucked big time.
They left their mark too.
I hate gravy now, and I rarely eat Sunday roasts.
Sundays for me now are up early – 5:30am to 6am this time of year then out for dog walks to the beach. Maybe a swim. Then through the big parks. Or out to a forest.
Then home for breakfast and Coffee. Nice music playing. Angel Radio or Classic FM, maybe something lively. Then either working on the house or writing.
Today was working on the house. Alex the plasterer was here. He’s moving to London soon and this is his last job on the Isle of Wight. He’s doing my upstairs big front room, upstairs hallway, stairs, and downstairs hallways. Walls and ceilings. Big job. Messy AF, but it’s kinda nice to be off the desk and doing manual things. I love labouring. I can fetch and carry all day long, and Alex is good company.
If I wasn’t doing that then Sunday afternoons are my ‘long run’ day. Normally on the treadmill in my garden gym. I put CrossFit games on the TV, (I rip the piss out of CrossFit in my books cos of the way it sells itself as a cult for cu*ts, but I love the CrossFit Games.) Or Strongman comps – then I just run till I get knackered. I’ll jump off every 500 metres and do pulls up and push ups then jump back on and keep going.
It’s heaven. I find it so relaxing. Sleepy dogs crashed out in the garden. Birds fluttering down to the feeders and the bird bath. Chalk on my hands. Sweating my arse off.
But not today. My week is all thrown out cos of the plastering and I got a good run and workout in yesterday.
Weirdly, I still enjoy going to bed early on a Sunday and reading. My dogs come in with me. It’s hard still cos I lost Bear a month or so ago, and he always slept next to my feet. It feels empty without him. He’s left a huge hole in my life.
Deli is cute. She snuggles into my side for a big fuss while I read. She learnt from Bear how to smack me with her paw to keep the fuss going. Then when I get sleepy and turn my kindle off, she jumps off the bed to lie under the open window where Milka used to sleep. Crusty’s always in his corner. Snoring mostly. But it’s a nice noise. Very soothing. He wakes up most nights to growl at the foxes in the garden.
I feed a fox every night. I call it Foxy. I put food on my shed roof. Foxy sits and waits for it. It’s normally one fox, but they pair up every year to have a cub, then the boy fox comes for the food while the mother fox weans the cub.
They’ve recently had this year’s cub. It’s a fat little thing that runs around the garden at night. The cub caught his first rat the other night. I was in the kitchen getting a drink at like 3am or something and heard something knock over my metal watering can followed by a big squeal. Then the cub strutted off with this huge rat dangling out of his mouth. I don’t think he knew what to do with it. He was walking around in circles full of adrenalin from his first kill.
He’ll go soon. The cubs alwys get sent off to find their own patch, then next year Foxy’s GF or BF will pop back round for a quick how-do-you-do and there’ll be a new little cub.
The cub from two years ago got killed in the road outside my house. That was sad. I picked his body up and disposed of it. He was nearly fully grown. I used to see him on the beach at dawn sitting on the sand watching the sea. Awful really. I hope this one survives.
Anyway. That’s my Sunday. A no-gravy, no roast dinner, smoke-free nice day – speaking of which, the turkey is nearly done so I shall go scoff and then do the washing up. But not in a bowl. And the bubbles get rinsed. And I don’t dry-up either. F*uck that. Let it drip dry naturally, then early to bed to continue with the new Dean Koontz book, The Big Dark Sky. I’m not normally into mainstream fiction like that. I find it a bit bland sometimes. This one’s alright so far. We’ll see.
I just steamed through Senlin Ascends series. The first one is seriously good. The rest are good too, but the first one is special.
Righto! Thanks for the natter. Enjoy your Sunday. Much love x