Sunday evening is normally reserved for a traditional homemade Sunday dinner. When the kids are around, it's a family occasion and although Ian now lives near Sheffield United's ground he's usually back on Sundays for a chinwag and some of mama's home cooking - roast beef, roast potatoes, three vegetables, delicious beef gravy - not to mention the piece de resistance - beautiful, golden Yorkshire Puddings - mini-me's!
But not yesterday. It was different. Linked with my "retirement", I had agreed to meet up with some figures from my professional past with their partners. Moira with her husband Roy, Vicky and Patrick and Mike and Jan. First it was a pre-meal drink in "The Nursery Tavern" and then on to an Italian restaurant on buzzing Ecclesall Road called "Azzurri".
I have never been a big fan of Italian restaurants though I love good Italian cuisine. Oddly, the spaghetti bolognaise I make at home is much superior to any I have ever had in a restaurant. But Sunday night's not the best night for eating out - some places are closed and Roy is one of those people who is resistant to curries - so that's why we ended up in an Italian. Old timers who had survived decades of English teaching in our tough urban comprehensive where the sun don't shine and work was grim up North at the cruel chalkface of our broken dreams.
I guess there's more to life than food but I had Uova Alla Fiorentina as a starter - egg cooked in tomato on a bed of spinach and mozzarella - truly blissful. My main course was Pollo alla Crema - a succulent piece of chicken breast cooked in a creamy white wine and brandy sauce with mushrooms and asparagus. Often in restaurants when they bring round the vegetables, I am bitterly disappointed with the meagre child's portions I receive but this time I had no complaints - plenty of roasted carrots and baby rosemary potatoes. It was all delightful.
Dessert was a homemade strawberry cheesecake - all washed down with a couple of pints of Becks lager. Unusually, I could hear the entire conversation round our table with people I have known for twenty to thirty years. Thankfully, the place was very quiet and there wasn't all that background guffawing and gabbling that often makes me feel deaf in the foreground. It was a great meal - I would recommend the "Azzurri" to anyone but now it's Monday morning before I shower and watch "Homes Under The Hammer" on television. Could this be the pattern of future mornings now that I am "retired"?