A Word In Your Ear - December 3, 2015

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A family get-together, for my great nephew’s 18th birthday, meant driving through atrocious rain and gales into Yorkshire last weekend but, happily, it was worth the journey.

The boy I’d last wrestled playfully with as an eight-year-old now towered over us jovially, and talked unassumingly about playing county rugby and studying medicine.

What was more I, for once, was slightly slimmer than my older brother, while also renewing many treasured family connections. The joyful occasion also transported me back decades, over a pint or two of Black Sheep, to my childhood.

A dream-like experience was recalled amid discussion of my recent memoir on family life and working for local papers, entitled Only The Good News. My late but dashing Uncle Darryl, from Rhodesia as it was, was mentioned in our chat – and a childhood Christmas memory reignited.

A jet pilot for South African Airways, Darryl turned up unexpectedly at our door about 60 years ago to this day. He’d flown into Manchester’s Ringway airport and learned that a pantomime at the city’s Palace Theatre starred his fellow Rhodesian, singer Eve Boswell.

That extraordinary December evening I was transported, like the children in Peter Pan, but in my case by taxi, to the Christmas-lit city streets and a sparkling performance – all while still wearing my pyjamas, slippers and dressing gown.

“No one will mind, and the taxi’s waiting,” Darryl had told my parents, upon arriving to take us all out on his surprise treat and finding me asleep in bed upstairs.

We even attended a champagne party afterwards in Eve Boswell’s dressing room, before returning home, again by taxi and with my six-year-old self asleep once more.

The champagne corks popped in celebration at Yorkshire, too. However, this time I was not in pyjamas!

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.