Sunday, 3 August 2008

My Sunday of Shame

Sunday mornings are a celebration of the hypocrisies of my life, it seems.

First, it's breakfast. And finding the bread-bin empty of all but a few stale crusts (usual inefficient housekeeping having taken a steep nosedive since school hols arrived), I nipped down the road to Tesco Express to pick up some croissants. Six for the price of four - hurrah! Now I wasn't at all keen on Tesco's arrival on Mersea when it was first mooted. I perused the Tescopoly website in some detail and thought to myself, yup, I agree with all of that. Tesco is a Thoroughly Bad Thing, and I won't be shopping there. No, not ever. Not under any circumstances.

Yeah, right . . . (Shame score 9.5/10)

And you'll note that word 'croissants' above. I'm on a diet. I've been on one for about 15 years, ever since my first pregnancy transformed me overnight from sylph to giant whale and somehow - what with a chronic lack of willpower and an excessive fondness for, er, basically, eating stuff - this is a state of affairs which has persisted. But a few weeks ago it was all made official. I had a health-check with our doctors' practice nurse and, while attempting to reassemble the scales I'd just broken, she remarked: 'you do realise, of course, that you are overweight?'. 'Um, yes, thanks, I did sort of assume that I was.' 'It's just a question of eating less, really', she added, helpfully. 'Oh, right, OK then, I'll do that. Thanks.'

There is a surprisingly vast difference between glancing at oneself in mirrors for a decade and a half and thinking 'ugh, yuck, hideous, really must do something about this' and actually being told by a medical professional that one firmly resides in the wrong segment of the graph indicating the divide between 'desirable' and 'undesirable'.

I am actually being quite good, on the whole (though observant readers will have noticed the giveaway words 'fish' and 'chips' with reference to Friday evening). During the week, I exist virtuously on fruit and veg and seeds and salads and prawns and herrings etc etc. But Sunday is my Day of Rest [from virtue]. So it's croissants and Fortnum & Mason's Nonpareil Marmalade (the latter a gift, I hasten to add). (Shame score 7/10)

(But . . . 'Lovingly handmade in England', it says on the marmalade label. Gosh! Even when I'm making marmalade for my family, I find that the love goes out of it pretty early in the blister-inducing, wrist-aching business of chopping up a ton of citrus fruit. The image of happy, smiling marmalade-makers in Cath Kidston pinnies, giving every orange a tender little kiss before gently caressing it with their razor-sharp Sabatiers is an edifying but, I suspect, wholly unlikely one. Can trading standards officers check the levels of love in marmalade? And if so, how?)

And then there's The Archers. To highlight the hypocrisy of my devotion to this programme, I should explain that I absolutely loathe television soap operas. I can't understand why on earth anyone would wish to spend whole tracts of every evening of their lives slumped in front of them. I detest the racks and racks of magazines and newspapers (newspapers, for heavens' sake) devoted to their characters and plots and actors. I get most especially ranty about the fact that the majority of British children (if my children's friends are anything to go by) absorb from earliest infancy these unedifying tales of domestic violence, rampant partner-swapping, incest, murder, excessive drinking and general foul-mouthed human interaction. But that's telly.

Radio is, of course, different! And my addiction to radio's longest-running 'soap opera', or, as it used to be described and I prefer to think of it, 'everyday tale of country folk' is thus, from my own blinkered viewpoint, entirely excusable. Indeed, I have absorbed it from earliest infancy! I took a short, defiant break from listening when I was first a rebellious student, affecting to despise it because it reminded me of home. But by the time I was sitting my finals, it had become a comforting life-line, and so it has remained. So despite having listened every night this week, I also listened to the Omnibus edition this morning while folding piles of laundry and wiping croissant crumbs from various surface. As fellow devotees will be aware, right now the drama is high-octane stuff and come 7.00 tonight there'll be no tearing us away from our radios. (Shame score 1/10)

So that's my Sunday of Shame score.

Oh, all apart from one. I was brought up in the heart of the Anglican church and have wafted in an out of it at various points in life. Right now, I'm further from it than I've ever been. Churchgoing is not a feature of my Sundays. (Shame score: not really mine to call)


Anonymous said...

Surely it must be good for one to feel a 'little' shame every now and again? I have to say that I have known whole households of students where were you simply dare not call while The Archers is on for fear of being pulverised within an inch of your life and don't let me get started on the number of eminent English Lecturers I know who would treat you in the same way!

Jane Badger said...

Oh snap on so many fronts (also dedicated Archers listener, though I started at University in opposition to the hip young gunslingers who inhabited my floor in Hall) - particularly the weight one. This weekend I chucked out, finally, some of my clothes, with their 23-25" waist. Hah. Like you, I was skinny until pregnancy. Told personal trainer I still had some post pregnancy weight. "Oh!" she said. "How old's your baby?" "Um, ten," I replied.

Sam Norton said...

Well that's a tantalising last paragraph.

Beware the hardening of the 'oughteries' that's what I say.