Saddle Up!

Listening to a client today reminisce about the husband she’d lost and his love of the occasional bet on the horse-racing, reminded me of my own dad’s excitement at equestrian run-offs!  I myself, am not a fan.  And on more than one occasion, dad would playfully scold me when I suggested that it wasn’t exactly the racing side he was interested in, but the dressage!  As playful as his scolding was, there were times when his patience was spent, and I could get away with the ribbing no longer than a bookmaker’s pen.  Seemingly I had a habit of going too far with my sarky little comments.  Fun though it was…

We only had a black and white tv.  When we went on our annual break to Cullercoats, our lodgings only had a black and white tv.  Didn’t bother me, I only really watched the box when the late night, last night, horror movie was on – the old black and white ones; El Jorobado de Notre Dame springs to mind.  And many others that I was transfixed by over the few years of our holidays.  Frankenstein’s Monster, The Werewolf, Nosferatu, The Mummy…

Dad worked hard so now and then he would promise us that one day, we’d have a huge, colour telly.  Imagine that, tv in colour!  Camberwick Green, Pipkins, The Clangers, The Hair Bear Bunch and Top Cat to name but a few!  Now that was posh!

The easiest and least costly option was to rent a colour telly, and that’s just what dad did.  We spent the whole week dreaming of this telly – Emmerdale Farm and Crossroads for mum, the aforementioned for me and dressa…horse racing for dad; all in glorious colour on a twenty-odd inch screen!  Almost cinematic!  The new telly would be delivered on a Saturday morning and we spent a whole, long week wishing our lives away.  Dad, to me, had an expert knowledge of technology, telling me several times over the week how small red, green and blue dots made up the pictures that we were dreaming about; of course I knew he’d just read it somewhere because his technological knowledge didn’t really stretch beyond those dots, bless…

That long-awaited Saturday came….and went.  Football Focus (or something like that), Grandstand and a whole day full of horse racing!  And then Final Score! Dad was in his element, every other minute turning and yelping, “Look at that grass!  See the jockeys?  Look at the colours of the shirts!”  Yeah, okay…so dad could tell the riders apart properly now without having to rely on straining to see riders’ numbers and listening to the commentary.  Saturday night was a game show or a movie that mum and dad would hypnotically stare at, while we were packed off to bed – usual nights out to the local social club came to a sudden stop until the novelty of the colour telly wore slightly.  Sundays were Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and some other drab, grown-up stuff on the night. Nevertheless, it was colour, and the little I saw was exciting enough – my time would come for those short periods after school and before the news and those ancient soaps started.  At least on a Friday night I was allowed to stay up until around half nine, when something like Steptoe and Son or On the Buses had finished – the weekly late treat…

I was just thinking…that’s all.


About Robert

A fifty-something, retired Celestial Travel Agent. Walked many paths; some good, lots bad. Meandering through the past, plodding in the present, crawling toward the future.
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