Musical Memories – Me, my Dad and Dire Straits

In 1990 my Dad took my two siblings and I to a fete being held at the school we attended. It was a Saturday and the weather, I remember was warm and pleasant so it must have been their Summer one. It wasn’t a scorcher of a day, but I remember that any breeze which occurred was well needed and welcomed by everyone due to the humidity. I don’t actually remember a lot about the day itself; I only remember how I felt. I know I was very happy and giddy. I spent a whole day with my Dad and we did nothing but fun things. I do recall attempting to Hook-A-Duck with Dad helping to steady my hand, and also my brother doing some activity where he had to climb a wall. But all that and more is overshadowed by our last stall stop and the walk home. 

Dad bought us all an ice cream (if you’re interested, my choice was a mint Feast) for the walk home and as we were exiting the gates Dad spotted a stall where you had to throw beanbags and knock some things off a shelf to win a prize. Dad hadn’t actually partaken in any activities that day, so it seemed fitting that he should try his hand at the last one before we left. Again, all I can remember is feeling happy and thinking that Dad must have fired the beanbag out of some type of gun because the way it sped towards the items and blasted them to the floor. My five year old eyes couldn’t believe how quickly it happened. The throw was rewarded as my Dad was given the ultimate prize (well, I thought so!)…he was given a coconut.

As we began to walk home, my legs got tired and so Dad placed me on his shoulders. Whenever he used to pick me up I felt like I was being raised to the top of a gigantic plinth. Sitting on his shoulders, I felt like I could touch the streetlights and see the birds in the sky more close-up. Everything was tiny when I was up there, and Dad used to muck around by pretending to trip up whilst moving me about. Dad let me hold the coconut too and I don’t think I’d ever actually held one before that day. I remember not being able to understand how this hard brown thing, translated into the white flakes that Mum used to put on top of her Victoria Sponges!. Not only that, but when I shook it, I could hear swooshing of liquid inside. Dad said that people could drink the coconut milk and that we could try some, just as soon as he bashed it with a hammer when we got home. My Dad has a wonderful way with words!

I couldn’t wait to get home! For me it was another perfect day. I’d been to a Fete, Dad had won a coconut, I got to hold the coconut and also, I got to fly on Dad’s shoulders again. When we got home, Dad did indeed do what he promised and on the kitchen table lay cracked shards of the shell for us to try. I do remember that I didn’t like it! This did not taste like Mum’s cakes!

Later that evening, Dad played this song, he had the album on a tape. Whenever, I hear this song I am instantly returned to that Summer Day I spent with Dad….

Musical Memories – Me, My Mum and Kenny Rogers

This second instalment of Musical Memories takes me back to 1989. I have downloaded this song (well the whole album actually) due to my love of this music which is entirely borne out due to my mother’s influence. So, whenever I hear this particular song I am transported back to the living room of an old house of ours in Colchester. I was four years old and my dad would take my older siblings to their clubs or shopping etc. which would leave me some precious alone time with my mum.

It was during these snatched moments that mum would put her cassette tape on. It was either Kenny Rogers or Dr Hook – who I equally like too due to dear mum! – for those who don’t know Dr Hook, I have included a popular song of theirs too!).

It is so vivid in my mind that either one of these songs actually causes me to feel like I’m standing in the doorway watching myself and mum dance. She used to lift me up and I would cling to her hip as we waved my dad and my siblings goodbye. Then mum would put the tape on and we would move the coffee table out of the way. I remember the coffee table being a heavy, thick-legged thing which I could never move on my own. Mum would be wearing a long flowing skirt which went down to the floor. I loved those skirts, I used to enjoy sitting on the floor and pretend to hide behind the colourful swathes of cloth as it enveloped me whilst mum was vacuuming.

Anyway, back to 1989….I would hold my mum’s hands and we would move around the living room. Mum would sing along and I would try to keep up. I never knew all the words but some would stick out enough for me to feel like I was singing it with them. On this particular day I am wearing a white vest and short set which is covered in dark blue polka dots. Mum is wearing a gold coloured skirt and a black top. We would dance until the tape ended than sit together in the sofa until it was my bath time. I would be constantly chattering away at my mum asking her about everything and anything. Asking why, when, how and what; mum would answer everything with the patience of a saint.

I would then be bathed (in case you’re wondering it was Matey Bubble Bath all the way in my household and if I could get away with it now I would still use it!). After the usual bath time activities, which would entail me asking mum even more questions which would involve asking what water was, what’s in Matey? why do we have sponges, what’s a flannel etc. etc. I would then be placed in my favourite nightdress which had a bunny rabbit on it. Downstairs we would go, mum would brush and plait my hair ready for bed, but before than….Side B of Kenny Rogers would be played.