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  • Charli

1976

Saturday 4th April was Day 12 of lockdown and Day 1 of the school Easter holidays in Scotland. The plan for my day was to wash the inside of all the windows. A fairly straightforward task, apart from the 4 Velux in my converted loft which were pretty grubby inside and out and had been bugging me when I was working for home, but I had to live with it until I had time to do the job properly.

I sit at my ‘desk’ which is a 30 year old family teak dining table beside one of the aforementioned windows, now clean, which gives me a vista of red pantile and grey slate tiled roofs, the weather vane of the old council buildings, the steeple of the Baptist church on Forth street and the highest rock point on Craigleith Island. If I stand and look East I can catch a glimpse of May Island.

I am in no rush to get anything done over the next two weeks, I have learned the hard way that when I rush into something I’m invariably going to get hurt: fingers jammed in doors, head bumped on coombed ceilings, doomed relationships, expensive car purchases.

Slow and steady will get the job done and so far so good.

I stopped for lunch: beetroot, houmous, chilli gherkins, carrots sweet potato gently roasted with pumpkin seeds and sweet chilli sauce and was about to turn the radio off when Pick of the Pops revealed that the years were to be 1976 and 1982. Curiosity got the better of me and I can report that my trip down memory lane didn’t disappoint.

Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going to) Diana Ross; Music, John Miles; Fernando, Abba and Jungle Rock, Hank Mizell all had me singing along and smiling.

1976 was the year of the heatwave. Grannie came to look after us because Mum and Dad went South for something: a wedding or a funeral. I remember getting severe sunstroke which prevented me from going outside for 2 or 3 days. I remember the cool of my bedroom and watching Melanie and Emma climb the cherry tree hauling the hose up jn order to squirt each other. I had been involved before becoming unwell and watched enviously from within, but no doubt joined in after the nausea subsided.

I had my first radio in 1975 and so by 1976 I was fine tuning my musical tastes. Much of what I was hearing on Radio 2 during Pick of the Pops would have been played on Radio 1 which was my station of choice back then, along with Radio Luxembourg. Mum and Dad had a reasonably eclectic taste if not somewhat narrow, having both been cosseted when growing up, with working mothers and so often fostered out to older relations and as such not exposed to the sound of the streets.

Music continues to enthral and captivate me. Last night I watched Peat and Diesel on BBC Alba, having seen them live in February and marvel at their energy and apparent devil-may-care attitude. But we were privy to a sort interlude from gigs which showed Boydie out on his boat getting away from it all, not wanting to be sucked into the music industry quite yet. When S and I chatted to him in February he was on a whirlwind and uncertain as to where their new found fame would take them. The three band members have all kept their jobs and in the current climate will be grateful for that.

The radio has always been an integral part of my life, much moreso than TV and it has been such a comfort over the past few weeks feeling connected and hearing the presenters share their admiration and respect for our key workers, asking for stories about those of us facing lockdown alone, families forced apart, the projects we intend to start/continue/complete, the challenges and joys of being at home.

I believe we still have a long way to go before the curve really does flatten, which will undoubtedly continue to cause worry and anxiety for many as we experience the inevitable peaks and troughs. For me, music is my salvations (Sister Sledge) and as soon as I start to feel myself heading towards a trough I tune into some favourite music and within the first few beats can feel uplifted, or comforted and ready to face the next part of my day.

Sometimes I need the music to be pulsing through my veins and so to keep positive relations with neighbours I put my headphones on and turn the volume up. However I have caught myself singing aloud at times, and that is never good for anyone.

We all have to make our own path through the current uncharted territory and shake it up every now and again: turn left instead of right when out for a walk or run; listen to old music favourites as well as new tunes, dance, write, cry, laugh and feel free to talk, share open up and even celebrate moments of achievement however small.

Stay Safe. Be Well. Stay Home. We are all in this together.

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