My father worked long hours, Monday to Friday, leaving the house at seven or eight, returning long after the child I was had fallen asleep. On a Saturday, my mother would take advantage of his presence for a weekly shop, a drive in the country or a family visit to her friends in Leeds. Only on a Sunday, did my father have time that he could call his own.
Every Sunday, he would rise from his bed around six, pulling trousers and a jumper over his pyjamas, then he would leave my mother wrapped in her dreams. Downstairs he would turn on the stereo. Shaped like a sideboard, the stereo was large, teak and bore two in-built speakers, one on each side. Beneath a lid sat a radio and a turntable. He would click the switch to 78, choose a record from his collection, then while the music wound around the lounge, he would prepare breakfast for himself. While my mother and I slept, he would reintroduce himself to Ella Fitzgerald, Ma Rainey and Pearl Bailey. Louis Armstrong was always a favourite as was Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. For an hour and a half, he would envelop himself in their voices and memories of jazz clubs he had visited during the fifties in London. The music would sometimes wake me but I knew better than to disturb him. I would roll over and return to dreams laced with tones of Satchmo and Pearl.
By the time, my mother and I made our ways downstairs, he would have been out to the newsagent in the village and returned with a selection of Sunday newspapers. The music would change to my mother's choice of James Last or Henry Mancini, or very occasionally I would nag them into playing the Hippopotamus Song by Flanders and Swann. My parents would read the newspapers. I would steal the magazines or read the cartoons in the Scottish Sunday Post. I loved The Broons and Oor Wullie. The newspapers read, my mother would begin to cook our family lunch. My father would return his records to their cupboard and his time to the family.