Standing on the drive with an aural backdrop of clapping, pan tapping, hollering and chiming of cow bells, Thursday evening saw me fleetingly transported back to my childhood.

This brief episode manifesting during a weekly clap for key workers, in the company of socially distant neighbours. Temporarily ceasing my ovation, I felt moved to cup my hands around my mouth, prior to emitting a raucous shout of “Whooooaaaa!

This, admittedly overly exuberant, action leading to matriarchal admonishment in a brusk tone oft heard during my fledgling years. Stopping her tentative, self-conscious tapping of a metal pan with a spoon, Maggie turned toward me to bark a terse “Stop it, now!!”

On hearing this reprimand, me (her eldest offspring) beamed a broad smile at her clear inference my brash actions had brought shame upon our family. This grin borne from the fact she still feels the need to chide me in middle-age; these dressing downs delivered with the same brusqueness of half a century previous.

Despite standing nearly a foot taller than the old lady, not to mention residing in my 50’s, I’m still evidently fair game for a scolding if my behaviour strays outside of parameters mater deems acceptable. In her gaze I’m clearly still a little blue eyed, fair haired boy of yesteryear.

“Morning Patrick!”

As an aside, when woken this morning by melodic birdsong and chatter, it intrigued me to hear one of the avians appear to be chirping the greeting “Morning Patrick.” Laying in my bed, I pondered over the reasoning behind the chatter; in particular who the Patrick was in receipt of such a cordial morning gambit.

As I’m not called Patrick (unless it’s the birds nickname for me), it clearly wasn’t delivered at me. I’ve only lived in my mum’s house for nine months and aren’t acquainted with all the neighbours. But I can honestly say I’ve never heard my mum, mention a Patrick.

With this detail in mind I was edging more towards the theory that Patrick might be the moniker of one of the other birds. However, with my ornithological knowledge possessing many gaping holes; I was unable to make informed judgements whether avians identify each other by name, as adopted as humans.

Even if they did, how likely is it they’d utilise the name Patrick for one of its own?! Personally I can’t see it, surely bird naming convention would adhere to monikers like Beaky, Feathers, Tufty or Wings rather than adopt a human name tied to a hyper-Irish image.

After much debate, I concluded birds identifying each other by name was highly unlikely, and yours truly misinterpreted what I thought was an avian good morning greeting.

Anyhow, I need to conclude this narrative at this point as my mum has just walked in and requested “Do me a favour, Gary!…. Can you nip round to Lydia and Patrick’s house in the next cul-de-sac to return this casserole dish they lent me last week….. Before you go, though, make sure you wash behind your ears and put a bleeding vest on!!”