It's Sunday...so that means a proper roast dinner after morning Mass. A joint of beef or a plump chicken...and all the trimmings. A rich savoury gravy and crispy roast potatoes...Yorkshire puddings of course, two or three different vegetables and definitely a pudding to follow. Apple pie and custard or treacle tart perhaps.

I wonder how many families actually sit down at one o'clock and eat such a meal nowadays...all through my childhood I remember Sunday dinnertimes as being the same whatever the season. And the table was laid with a starched white cloth...we had table napkins, each of us had our own napkin ring in silver...don't know what happened to mine...it disappeared. And Mother would have a small glass of dry Sherry...I think Father drank Whiskey but can't remember really...

It was a ritual...and I think if the Bomb had dropped Mother would still have basted the roast and ensured the potatoes were crispy...

I used to go to Church every Sunday morning with my friend Morva...it had little to do with our religious inclination and much more with the fact we'd pass by the racing stables where lived some handsome stable lads who would desert their charges in order to meet us on the village green after the service...

The fact we were willing to sit in an icy cold draughty old church with half a dozen ancient ladies and listen to the Vicars incredibly boring sermon in order to spend half an hour flirting with Gary and Gerry afterwards fills me with disbelief now...but we did.

Sunday afternoons tended to be the time when I panicked over the school homework I ought to have done on Friday night so I'd be scribbling essays and struggling with maths and trying to learn French verbs...my little brother who had yet to face the horrors of 'big' school sat and played with his Meccano. He'd already done his spellings and his reading when he'd come home on Friday evening...

Mother read the Sunday newspaper and Father did the crossword. There were no shops open of course...you couldn't have visited CarpetRight or gone to the supermarket...there were no cinemas or cafes open...it was only if we went for the very occasional drive in the country we might find an ice-cream parlour open for business and be allowed a 99 cone as a special treat.

Sunday evening tea time was sometimes a homemade trifle with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top...bread and butter and jam of course which had to be eaten first...Father often had a boiled egg with thinly cut brown bread and butter he wouldn't sit with my brother and I if we had eggs ...he said we made too much of a fuss. I don't think we did...sometimes Mother had made a Victoria sponge cake with jam in the middle so we'd have a slice of that as well.

Then it was bathtime and hair-washing and Mother would invariably point out I'd left a 'tidemark' on my neck and then she'd yank the knots out of my hair and plait it tightly enough to make my eyes water. My brother fared slightly better in that he was allowed to have his toy boats in the bath and extra bubbles so he could pretend to sink them...

Once I'd left school and started work and college, Sundays were much like any other day...it wasn't until I was first married that they changed back to a familar and comfortable routine. If we weren't on duty then we'd spend Sundays with Mum and Dad and go for a drive in the afternoons....Dad would rattle his car keys and say we needed to go and have a 'slap-up tea'...and that is what we used to do. He'd drive his big old car slowly and very carefully towards the coast and stop every time he saw an ice-cream van...sometimes we'd end up at Borth in Wales and we'd walk along the endless beach and have piping hot fish and chips in a cafe with steamed up windows and a big pot of strong tea and Dad would light up his cigarette and let the ash fall down on the front of his jacket and Mum would hold her little dog on her lap and feed it with bits of fish...

And the waitress would come along and ask would she like a plate for the little dog 'cos there was some leftover fish skin if he'd like it? and she'd top up the tea pot with fresh water and we'd sit and talk and eat too many hot chips doused with salt and vinegar and then have a Knickerblocker Glory with a long narrow spoon to eat it with...and feel a bit full and sort of sozzled with food and warmth...

Those were my very favourite Sundays.

Now our Sundays have changed again...the day is much like any other really...probably the same for all of you. I don't cook a full roast anymore unless Teresa and Reuben are here when I make more of an effort...we'll go out occasionally but it'll be more for Millie than it is for us...I drift about on a Sunday...doing a bit of that and some of this...this time of the year I'll likely be down our street picking blackberries and Himself might be strimming something or chatting to the donkeys...practically all the shops in town are open...and if we were to venture further afield we could buy garden furniture or a new bathroom without a problem. It wouldn't occur to me to go to Church and put money in the collecting tin and listen to an endless sermon about hell and high water...

I don't have my weekly bath on a Sunday night anymore...now I can bath every night of the week...there is no homework to do nor enough hair to be plaited...no silver napkin rings to polish or table cloths to starch...

Mum and Dad have long gone...no more trips to the Welsh coast with slap-up teas of cod and chips in small steamy cafes with friendly waitresses...and the long drive home through the mountains to an old creaky house with dozens of cats waiting patiently for their supper...

If I sound maudlin' with this blog...then it is because I am...not sad though...just remembering how it used to be back when I was young.