When I was first married we lived in Exeter, in a terrace on a hill overlooking the railway. We had a friend who was an avid trainspotter, so he liked to have coffee in the kitchen when he visited, and conversations would be interrupted by Chris leaping up and saying excitedly, "That's a 4030 Class II-type!" (trainspotters, I made that up; please don't email to tell me that it couldn't have been one of those in 1973 because they didn't run on that line after '70).
On my way home from Devon yesterday, the train stopped and sat for 5 minutes opposite our old kitchen window, while I indulged in nostalgia about long Sunday afternoons when we walked along the river and home past the Cathedral (I worked in the Close at that time). If you were lucky you might find a shop open to buy an ice-cream – Sundays, in those days existed in suspension from the rest of the week. You could buy an ice-cream or a Sunday paper, if you could find an open shop, but not a tin of cling peaches – and why, exactly, did they cling? And I'm afraid that we did eat such things. When I worked in a country pub we had something of a reputation for good, home-cooked lunches. We served a choice of two salads: lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, with your choice of roast ham or roast chicken. Alternatively, you could leave out the meat, replacing it with a hunk of french bread, a wodge of Cheddar and a pickled onion, in which case we called it a ploughman's. I can still pick a chicken carcase clean in record time, and we ate a lot of chicken soup. Somehow, I think we would have to make a lot more effort now, but I still cook a ham the same way, boiling it first then roasting it with a glaze: marmalade is my favourite, but OH does it by boiling first in ginger beer, then using crystallised ginger for the glaze, which is pretty good.
It was good to get back to my own dogs (my mother's Gordon Setter is very boisterous) and at 6 o'clock this morning I was presented with a cup of tea and The Bolter, who curled up beside me and kicked happily.