As a child, I gave each day of the week a colour; Wednesday was blue; a happy hue, vibrant and full of life. Blue reminded me of a summer sky; dreamy, bright, sparkling in the warm glow of the sun. This was my favourite day; sausage and chips for lunch. Slouching, slumped on my desk, arms folded, supporting my head, watching the clock tick slowly by; a momentary glance out of the window, told me it was nearly time to go; the caretaker opening the rusty gates at the end of the school drive, to herd the throng of children running quickly home. With one minute to go, I began to pack away my pencil case, haphazardly throwing it into the dark recess of my bag, hanging from the back of my chair. Finally the bell sounded, chairs noisily scraped backwards, as we all scrambled towards the door; unruly, disorderly; ignoring our teachers plea for quiet!
On the way to Nanny’s house, we took a slight detour, stopping at the local takeaway on Fareham Park Road. The smell of fish, battered sausages and chips, steak and kidney pie, pickled onions, pickled eggs, pea fritters, everything fried; wafting up the street. Salivating, licking my lips, I anticipated my lunch. A leisurely walk turned into a hurried sprint, as I tried to reach the head of the lunch time queue; skating, precariously around the glass door, briefly tripping on the front step, hands firmly gripping the frame, stopping my fall. I made it, I was first; standing proudly waiting to be served. Barely able to reach half way up the counter, I shouted my order, jumping up and down, waving furiously. The lady smiled back warmly, a wink from her right eye; she knew me, like everyone else who came in each day. She was large, with red rosy cheeks, booming voice, imposing laughter; jolly, jovial and jaunty; hands folded, tucked neatly under her chest.
It was a short walk to Nanny’s house; running in the door; hands stretched outwards a big hug my reward. Nanny was a remarkable, extraordinary woman with blue and purple hair, bright red lipstick, perfectly manicured nails. She always wore high heeled shoes, a string of pearls around her neck, sparking rings on her fingers, immaculately dressed.
The plates were warming in the oven, as our newspaper packages were handed out. Climbing up the stool towards the breakfast bar, I always sat in the corner, next to the green rotary phone, that hung on the wall. I could see the television from the corner of my left eye, in the sitting room beyond; perched neatly on the end of Nan and Grandads stone fireplace, quietly talking away to itself. Leaning slightly backwards I would try and watch ‘fingerbobs,’ ‘Charlton and the Wheelies,’ ‘Rainbow’ or ‘Button Moon,’ occasionally taking a bite, more often not, distracted, preoccupied!
Everyone was there on a Wednesday; my Uncle and Aunt who I went to school with, Mother and younger Brother; everyone chatting away, in the middle of their own conversations, discussing the latest local gossip, the price of groceries or which member of our rather large family was pregnant again. These were indeed happy times, spent in the comfort of my Nan’s house; innocent fun filled days, where a fish and chip lunch was enough to satisfy all my dreams and aspirations. Wednesdays were a special part of my life, because the memories are still there, burning strong. As I write these words down, I am immediately transported back to 1978, listening to the voices chattering around me, the smell of ‘proper chip shop chips,’ magical children’s television and Nanny’s face peering lovingly down towards me, chuckling to herself as I ate my meal.
My blue day was never quite the same again, faded into the past. As I moved ever onwards, far from my home town, Wednesdays have become a tradition once again, remembered fondly, whenever I eat fish and chips. Memories come flooding back, as I sit, thinking about those happy School days, spent with family at Nanny’s house. Memories are precious; I’m glad I lived the life I have; I wouldn’t wish for anything more, just time, to go back and relive them all!
47 year old Author, Columnist and Blogger.