Thinking it might be another damp Easter bank holiday, I trudged down to my local art shop to get some fresh supplies only to find that it had closed at lunchtime. Puzzled, I peered through the window in the hope that maybe the staff were going through some training or having a cheeky chocolate egg with their coffee in the back room.
‘It’s Good Friday,’ said a man, tapping me on the shoulder. I was about to retort that everywhere else was open, when I was reminded of being a child in the sixties in my home town of Matlock. My mother would march me off to church for the 10.30 service, a quick dive into the co-op for milk and bread before it shut at midday then back for the 2pm devotions. Not a crumb of chocolate would have passed my lips throughout the whole of Lent. Whole families would troop to church on Easter Day wearing their “Sunday Best” which as my Dad used to say, did not involve orange hot pants.
I no longer follow any religious faith but this nostalgic reminder got me thinking about other traditions we have binned as they don’t fit in with our view of the modern world. Take funerals for example. How many people close their curtains when someone they know dies; family, friend, neighbour? Black clothes were de rigeur at funerals but I’ve been to a few where mourners were specifically asked to wear colourful clothes.
Ever had a cucumber sandwich for afternoon tea? I’d like to treat my family to a bit of tradition this Sunday. Cucumber sliced so thinly it’s transparent, placed neatly between two thin slices of white bread, lightly buttered, fluffy scones with home- made raspberry jam and tea in proper china cups. According to an old Guardian article, less than 14% of under 35s have sampled these gourmet delights.
I abandoned Sunday roasts and Christmas dinners when my daughters left home. Trailing round the freezer chests in the supermarket looking for roast chicken for one deals wasn’t my idea of fun. Now when they visit they ask for many of the dishes I used to make when they were young. Nostalgia does have some resonance after all.
My daughter is getting married next year. I was staggered when her fiancé asked me for my permission and said he would take good care of her. He acknowledged she was an independent woman and assured me he would never stand in her way.
Now she has a fire cracking temper so I was in no position to say no but the fact he did this told me a lot about his values and character. How often does this happen these days? I told my parents I’d got married after the event. Then I told them some bigger news two days later. J We chastise the millennial generation for being too self-absorbed but many are showing signs of wanting to resurrect traditional values out of respect for their elders.
I could go on. Not moaning but feeling a bit sad that we’ve lost so much that created distinct markers in our lives. Technology rules – walking on the street, in cafes, at the dinner table and even in the bedroom.
I listened to a poignant interview with my old heart throb David Cassidy last night. I can’t believe how much he’d changed from that gorgeous boy I was convinced I would marry one day. His was the only face I would have on my teenage bedroom wall.
‘Could it be for ever?’ No David, nothing ever is.