Sunday, 14 November 2010

In praise of...Sunday afternoons

As you read this, I am drowning.  Buried alive, even.  A willing victim of gravy and roast potatoes, beef joint and cauliflower cheese.

If the Russians had ever wanted to invade, they couldn't have chosen a better time than 3.30pm on a Sunday.  There would be little resistance; most of the country would by then be semi-comatose, apart from those who'd promised to do the washing-up.  And there's not much you can do against MiGs in your marigolds.

It's not overstating things to say that Sunday lunch (or dinner, depending on which particular social class holds your aspirations) is one of the finest achievements of human culture.  I'd put it right up there with the moon landings, penicillin, Beethoven's Fifth and the 2002-03 Birmingham City Football Club squad.

Sunday afternoons are, perhaps as a direct result of lunch/dinner, a time for gentle reflection on the manner of things.  I've carried out extensive investigations and can report that this is introspection best done from a supine position, preferably with the Sunday papers over ones face.

The Sunday papers would seem to be a challenge at first.  I have sitting next to me the Sunday Times, edition 9,715, weighing in at a good couple of pounds.  It has a reassuring heft to it; a surfeit of supplements, a multitude of magazines, a panoply of pull-outs.  It is a schoolboy error to assume you have to digest it all - in attempting to do so you would probably read more than many people manage in a lifetime.  You are supposed to graze.  Snooze and graze, graze and snooze.

As we move towards what the late Douglas Adams referred to as 'the long dark teatime of the soul', we might arise from our slumbers to see what televisual delights await us.  Sunday evening TV, at least in this country, used to be deliberately beige, all the better to prevent stirring up unnecessary emotion.  When we had three channels, you'd get things like Antiques Roadshow (old people being gently disappointed), Highway (Sir Harry Secombe wearing a surprising selection of coats while singing 'How Great Thou Art' in front of a mountain) and Last of the Summer Wine (three old blokes rolling down a Yorkshire hillside in a tin bath).

You have the stresses and strains of a working week ahead of you.  You might spend your working days wrangling spreadsheets instead of sheet metal.  But there's still no reason to make a fuss.

Now if you don't mind, I need to follow the instructions of Mr Steve Marriott and his colleagues.  Close my eyes and drift away....

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