“I think I’ll take a walk in the park, hey-hey-hey, what a beautiful day.”
As a child, we had a “stereo” in the “front room”; I’m convinced now that everyone had “hi-fi” and “lounge”, but this is the 70s I’m talking about. My brother was into the hard rock and metal of the day. Bands like Saxon, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin would frequently resonate around the house, but not on a Sunday.
Sunday was different.
On Sunday, mum would make a full fry-up while dad was still in bed reading the (then broadsheet) News of the World. Me and Joe would be up and washed and ready for the feast that mum was preparing. There was always bubble-n-squeak, but not for us. This working man’s caviar was reserved strictly for Dad and, if we were lucky, there was a little bit extra left over for us. Swede, cauliflower, carrots and peas fried in butter into a delicious patty of goodness.
Dad would get up, bathe and put on a shirt and tie. It’s Sunday. Dad ALWAYS wore a shirt and tie on a Sunday. He would come downstairs for breakfast, which was being served at the exact moment he walked through the living room door, as if the planets had aligned in perfect synchronicity. Breakfast TV didn’t exist yet and all that would be on the three channels would be the usual staple of religious programmes. TV wasn’t switched on. Not on Sunday mornings. Sunday mornings had music.
Joe, as the one with the record collection had the challenge of playing something that everyone liked and wouldn’t be offensive to older ears. It’s a tough gig; harder than being the DJ at a wedding, but Joe had that one “killer” album that would please Mum, Dad, myself and him. The miracle piece of vinyl? Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. We would listen to the album in full while eating the incredible fare that can only be served up in an Irish household on Sunday morning.
After breakfast, we would get up and walk to the local working men’s club. Mum would have a Mackeson, Dad a few pints with a cheeky “Ding-Dong” chaser. I would have coke-cola coming out of my ears and a small stash of 10p pieces in my pocket for the Space Invaders machine; Mum and Dad figured out early that the princely sum of 40 pence would be sufficient to keep me occupied for the two hours that we were there.
This morning I feel reminiscent. I wanted to hark back to my childhood.
This morning, I am listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits and I am 6 years old again.