Our House

A couple of evenings ago I listened to an acoustic version of the 1970 Crosby, Stills & Nash classic hit song ‘Our House’

While this easy listening audioscape playing out I browsed to the left of my laptop screen, my gaze drawn to a beautiful picture of my mum and dad. A print made almost ethereal by the sunlight beating from its glass cover.

This monochrome photograph was taken at my sister Helen’s wedding in 2008; a snap showing mum and dad seemingly stared back as I gawped fondly in it’s direction. The pair transfixing me with the comforting trademark smiles afforded to everyone who made their acquaintance.

Looking at my parents picture there was a mellowness to my mood; my spirits a brew of tempered joy and melancholy. Nash’s lyrics, telling his beau of the brio imparted by life in their shared abode, resonating with yours truly. In particular the line ‘Our house was a very, very, very fine house’.

Words expressing how I remember my childhood home life. The wonder of our domain a consequence of the love, security, laughter and warmth emanating from every pore of the two beautiful individuals I was currently gazing at.

Sitting alone in my Wakefield apartment, the scene playing out brought smiles of gratitude I’d been blessed by having Malcolm & Margaret Strachan as my parents. It has to be said, though, it also evoked a tinge of sadness; a deep yearning to be once spend time in my parents company.

For some reason, I thought about my mother and father a lot lately. Who knows, it could be due careering towards my 60th birthday in a week or so. The first significant birthday I’ll spend without them. However, as I’m not that sentimental (I don’t think), I somehow doubt that’s the reason.

I must admit, though, I’d give anything to receive one of mum’s trademark mucky greeting cards with her distinctive slanted writing style on the occasion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve a great life at the moment, partly because of multiple adventures in a campervan purchased from a parental bequest. Consequently, the existential zeitgeist isn’t the reason I am longing to rekindle those halcyon childhood days in that very, very, very fine Gateshead house.

What I want, ie to once again spend time in mum and dad’s company, cannot and will not happen. Sadly, though, despite the unattainability of that goal, the desire and longing has been raised lately. Perhaps, I am not the pragmatist I thought I was.

As an aside, not all of Graham Nash’s lyrics resonated. After all, in the song Nash speaks of two cats in the yard and, due to parental indifference towards owning a family pet, our home never afforded felines tenancy… Well, not unless you count my sister Helen’s Bagpuss soft toy!

I think the only pet we ever had was a hamster bought for Helen. I don’t recollect the rodent’s name but, due to a habit of moving a gauze sleeping area around its cage, mum nicknamed him Pickfords.

From memory, old Pickers didn’t live long. No post-mortem took place, however, we all reckoned cause of death was exhaustion from always moving his bloody bed around.

Footnote – I wrote ‘his’ above, but don’t remember if Pickfords was a male or female… Consequently, it’s pure conjecture that it had two tails as opposed to one.

Anyhow, to close it is indisputable like Graham Nash I lived in a very, very fine house… That being said, in my case, I’d probably prefix the word ‘fine’ with a few extra verys.

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