Mark was so excited. Sunday was his favourite day of the week. Not only did they get to visit Granny Mabel on the train, but she always gave them a shilling to spend in the little shop round the corner. And with a shilling you could buy so many sweets by the time you ate them all your teeth could hurt.
As always Mark put on his Sunday best for this special day, smart shorts, a shirt and jumper and polished shoes with short socks. Once the whole family had had breakfast they cleaned their teeth and went off to the station. Mark so loved the trains. He had decided it was his favourite way to travel. Trains made a comforting rhythmic noises that made you feel warm and cozy inside. Most of the time he sat in the carriage watching the countryside whizzing past as they sped along to Granny Mabel’s. He loved it so much that he even wished Granny Mabel lived a little further away so the journey was longer. Sometimes he was allowed to open the window wide and stick his head out to see the smoke from the engine rising high in the sky, but that was only after they had passed through the two tunnels on the way. In the tunnels the lights in the carriage came on magically. In fact for Mark the whole journey on the train was magical.
When they got to Granny Mabel’s house she always made them some orange squash to drink, while Suki, Granny Mabel’s old Labrador dog nuzzled up to them, almost making them spill their drinks. She was a lovely old softie, and so affectionate. Depending on the time of the year they played in the garden or in Granny Mabel’s back room.
Granny Mabel’s house on Sunday’s always smelled delicious – the roast was always cooking when they arrived giving off aromas that would haunt him for years to come. Sitting down to lunch was always a big affair, with Grandad Ern carving the roast meat ceremoniously and grandly. These would be memories Mark would treasure for ever. But his favourite bit was after lunch when Granny Mabel reached for her purse and gave out shillings to all the grandkids that were visiting that day. Then off they’d set, en-mass, through the twitten to the little sweet shop.
Opening the door to the sweet shop was like opening the door to an Aladdin’s cave for the senses. First of all the bell above the door rang, announcing their arrival. Then the sweet smells from all the jars and boxes assaulted their noses. Mark always took a deep sniff. Looking around there were so many tempting glass jars displaying so many sweets. Mark was always quick to choose, and this day was no different. He politely asked the old lady who owned the shop for a quarter of this and and eighth of that and of course a tube of palma violets. He stepped back to allow his brother and cousins to make their choices and popped a sherbet lemon into his mouth, a favourite sweet for a favourite day.
Yes Sundays truly were his favourite day.