To There and Back Again

MondaysMillions of Monday mornings have come and gone yet the Sunday evening dread of anticipation of what only Mondays can bring has accompanied that dreaded feeling since the Antiques Roadshow or Songs of Praise first ever went to air. Modes of getting too and from a place of education or work haven’t really changed though the distances covered have in many instances. I’d walk to school, though sometimes catching the 291 bus service along Occupation Road, (though I never told my mum about this extravagance as it used 1½d from my pocket money), until I’d passed my cycling proficiency test when my two wheeled freedom ensured extra time before setting off: from home that is. My two older brothers were already using bikes to go to work and back, all without the assistance of spandex, helmets or carbon fibre machines. My dad, being disabled, was at the mercy of a dear and treasured work colleague called Malcolm. Malcolm was as reliable as Big Ben, transporting my dad to the clerical engineering offices at Stewarts and Lloyds. I remember that dad’s only complaint with this arrangement was the heavy overpowering smell of Malcolm’s cigarettes. Indeed, as the car pulled away one could hardly see driver or passenger from inside their smoke filled environment. Having passed my driving test in the late 70’s, my first car was a Triumph Toledo. Such freedom: such cost. Then I discovered a brave new world. A motoring freedom allowed only to the few. No more car tax: be gone insurance, petrol, parking fees and servicing costs. Yes, this was my brand new bright shiny two-tone Ford Cortina Ghia company car. Even when I found myself working in London’s Oxford Street, I’d park at Kettering station then ‘flash’ my company paid season ticket to the collector: my free daily return access to the centre of the capital. Today things are greatly changed yet there are two things of which I’m certain. Songs of Praise and Monday mornings.

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