The death was announced of Val Doonican, the Irish singer, who passed away yesterday at the age of 88. My parents really enjoyed listening to this gentle, humble man, whose charming voice brought laughter and smiles into many homes with his TV show [it ran from 1965 – 1986] We even had the LP! My Mum particularly loved his jumpers – and his rocking chair.
I suppose my own two favourite songs were Walk Tall [I have tried,despite my diminutive stature] and Paddy McGinty’s Goat. But Mysterious People [and also The Special Years] were two that my Dad liked – celebrating the joys of childhood innocence.
Children are people who live in a land
Made of raindrops and puddles and pebbles and streams
Silently watching a twig as it sails
On a clear crystal pool to an island of dreams
There go a pair who have just built a city of mud,
And it's real
They know that mud doesn't look very pretty,
But ooh, how it feels!
This little boy greets the snow with a smile
That little girl has discovered an isle made out of pillows
One little fellow is friends with the wind in the willows
All of them children and all are mysterious people
I can remember when I was a boy
That my bed was a ship that I sailed through the night
And I remember the world as a place
That was eager and loving and shiny and bright
Where is the boy who was friends with the rainbow
And once rode a pawn?
Where is that shy and mysterious person?
Oh where have I gone?
I can remember I once said my prayers
But now I stand by while my children say theirs
Watching them kneeling
And I could cry
That one day they'll forget all that they're feeling
Oh, what a shame that our children should grow into people
I was never quite sure about Elusive Butterfly – the first time I heard it on the radio, it was a Mondegreen Moment – I thought “The bright elusive butterfly of love” was “The bride, a loose-leaf butterfly of love”!
RIP Val, thank you for all the melodies you shared – and in this day and age, a happy ‘showbiz’ marriage lasting over 50 years is something to be celebrated. May God comfort your widow Lynnette, your daughters and their families.