They used to be quiet, predictable. I’d get up early, and watch grainy Open University programmes, and Indian music on Nai Zindagi, Naya Jeevan. This probably contributed to my love of science, arts, and the sitar in later life. Eventually, the rest of the family would arise, and, in the time before he became a regular church goer, my dad might prepare me breakfast including eggs or bacon and fried bread, cooked in lard.
I do sometimes wonder if my parents were trying to give me a heart attack by the age of 14.
There would be some kind of Sunday roast, chicken, beef, or pork. With roast and boiled potatoes, and veg boiled until all resistance had been dissipated. There would be a dessert. Tinned fruit and tinned cream, fat and sugar, or sometimes cakes, fairy cakes, that now are called cupcakes, the cultural invasion of American terminology. A prelude to imported obesity.
Some weekends, my brothers would drag me away from the sofa, and my books, outside, to walk to Hartshead Pike, or catch a bus to Greenfield, near Saddleworth Moor, encouraging me with lies to continue walking, “just round the next corner”, up to Chew Reservoir, from Dovestone Reservoir.
I remember evening autumn sun, flowing across the walls of our living room, Songs of Praise, sitting on the kitchen step with the cat, lying on my bed, sleeping to the surf sounds of the trees in our garden.
And the shops were closed all day. And pubs closed between 3 and 7. And there was no internet, and I lost myself in many books.