Sunday, 7th October

Sunday, 7th October

Keywords for the Day: Sunday Night Tea

Every Sunday, the whole family comes to our house for tea. There is only one word to describe it. Chaos. The children squabble over their toys, raid the sweetie drawer before they have had their tea, wind the dogs up and mess around with water in the bathroom and downstairs loo. Tyler, Sophie and Charlie sit nicely at the table, have intelligent conversations and watch their parents with interest …

It’s quite difficult during the dark winter nights to try and prepare a meal that doesn’t involve me being in the kitchen, cooking, for half the day.  Tonight, we had hot dogs.

Where does the term ‘hot dog’ come from? Some say that the sausage in the bun, resembling as it does the sausage dog, or dachshund, is the source of the term.

In 1906 the cartohotdog09onist T A Dorgan drew a cartoon of a dachshund in a bun and used the term ‘hot dog’, so this is certainly a credible theory.

In 1843 there was a  major scandal in America when dog and other meats of dubious and unconventional origins were discovered in a meat-packing plant. Soon, the rumour of dog meat in sausages was spreading, and several sources referred to the term ‘hot dog’ when describing sausages of dodgy origin.The phrase stuck, throughout the years.

Sunday night tea usually ends with the grandchildren clambering up the stairs for a communal bath, clutching their jimmy jammies. Come Monday morning, I usually have to extract Diver Dan and his diving platform, three yellow plastic ducks and various bath toys from the bottom of the bath. I wonder how long it will be before Tyler, now seven, declares himself too old to have a bath with his sister and cousin?

Sunday Night Tea has evolved over the years from its humble beginnings when my children were small and I used to make sure that, at least once a day, our family sat down together around the table, with the TV switched off and enjoyed a few minutes of old-fashioned conversation.  Now it has evolved into one meal a week as they have grown up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world, even though the clearing up afterwards is a bit daunting.

Sunday night tea keeps our family together and I am so glad my children get on with each other. I like to think that, when Rob and I are no longer around, our offspring will continue with this Ireson-Vaughan-Smith tradition.

So, if anyone reading this is hard-up, you can’t afford to take your children on expensive outings, buy them designer clothes or lots of toys; if you are depressed because you believe your children are missing out because you can’t give them PlayStations, X-boxes, IPads and other gadgets, then take note of this post.  Rob and I were like this, all those years ago.  Our children didn’t have as many material things as some of their playmates. They do, though, remember sitting around a table, talking to each other, playing board games and being loved and part of a family whose motto is ‘cut one and we all bleed’.

Tonight’s meal cost less than a tenner for eleven people, but the legacy of Sunday Night Tea is priceless. It is creating golden, happy memories for the future. What legacy endures from new bikes, roller skates, foreign holidays and expensive day trips to theme parks? Very little, I think.


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