Ceefax Serenade

She always wondered why her elderly parents went to bed as early as they rose the following mornings until she had to stop there, due to work being done on her house. It was five AM in the morning, and noise downstairs had woken her up. As she wrapped a flannel dressing gown around herself to pad down the staircase, she wondered if her children had woke early.

She paused at the lounge when she saw the light of the television on. If her boys had snuck down to watch cartoons… the look of imminent scolding fell from her face though as she poked her head around the door-frame.

In the middle of the lounge, in front of the bulky CRT television that her parents wouldn’t part with on the fact it ‘still worked just fine’, her mother and father were dancing to the soft, easy-listening music that accompanied Pages from Ceefax, the quaint little information display on BBC2 filling time between programs.

– Click me for background music via YouTube! –

They didn’t pay any heed to the words on the screen, flickering every so often from news story to sports and other topics. There were no lights on other than the early sun slipping parts of itself through the thick curtains and the glow of the screen itself. They were just lost in the music and too busy reading the wrinkles on each other’s faces and the twinkle in their eyes.

She stopped herself from calling out to them, unwilling to spoil the moment. Instead, she wandered back up the staircase, the soaring saxophones and the accompanying acoustic guitars lingering in her mind as she began to realise just why they got up so early.

It was much later in the day, while her father was at his allotment, that she asked her mother just what was happening.

“Why, when your father worked, he’d have to get up early.” Her mother said, rolling out some pastry. “So I’d make us our breakfast, pack him his lunch, and we’d have the BBC2 on for news, and something we could dance to without interruptions.”

“That’s… really sweet, and romantic, mum.” She smiled, before looking worried. “But what are you going to do next month, when…” She left it hanging ominously.

“When they stop playing it on the digital?” Her mother filled in, before smiling. “Well, there’s always the iPod.”


Author’s Note: Next month, the Digital Switchover is complete in the UK, and as such, Pages from Ceefax will no longer broadcast on any Digital channel, as the service ends. When I was little and would wake early before primary school, I could always count on it being on, and then the Open University programs about things I would never study at my little school. Like neural regeneration in goldfish.


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