Friday, January 26, 2007

Slower days

click photo to enlarge
When I was a child Sundays were different. People rose later than on Saturday or on a weekday. The streets were quieter on Sundays, not just because there were fewer private cars, but because people used them less on that day. The pace of life was more leisurely. Odd jobs would be done, a grand Sunday lunch (dinner in the North of England) would be cooked, families would sometimes have a walk together, the car would be cleaned. And yes, the bells would ring and some people would go to church. It sounds idyllic doesn't it. I don't think it was quite as wonderful as my pen portrait suggests, but Sunday was, undeniably, a different sort of day.

Then came Sunday trading. Shops were allowed to open between the hours of 10.00am and 4.00pm.. This was accompanied by protestations from church groups, trade unions representing shop workers, and others. But, there seemed to be a desire to shop on Sundays, and so the day became much more like Saturday. Most have welcomed the change. I haven't! I really liked the different, slower, more relaxed quality that Sunday brought. The contrast of this day appealed to me. Going out early in the morning and finding the streets empty and quiet was a real pleasure. It was an opportunity to slow down, take more time over things, and look more closely at my surroundings. But today, for most, that kind of Sunday is either a distant memory, or something that has never been known. I say for most, because something of that Sunday quality can be found at a seaside resort on a cold, winter, weekday morning. There are no holiday makers, seasonal shops are boarded up, and the promenade is quiet apart from the call of gulls. It's an opportunity to view the place in a more relaxed way, without the bustle of people intent on enjoyment, a way that I remember doing all those years ago.

I took this photograph of the bandstand on Blackpool promenade on just such a morning. The cold, blue light of the low sun, the reflections off the wet surfaces, and the empty benches was an appealing sight to me. I composed the shot with the bandstand to the left, and the lines of the steps, benches and railings leading to it. I used a zoom lens at 34mm (35mm equivalent), with the camera set to Aperture Priority (f8 at 1/200 second), 100 ISO, and -0.3EV.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen