Teaching your mother to waltz... For Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1, listen to Dancing with My Mother by Bernard Farrell above...

In the early Seventies, my parents were also in their early seventies – both contented, in good health and living a decidedly unspectacular life. And then, one morning, quite suddenly, they were both rocketed out of their chosen complacency and into the limelight.

The reason for their sudden fame – at least within our family – was that a letter had arrived for my father from the Vatican. Well, to be completely accurate, it was actually sent to our local parish-priest who kindly translated it from Latin to English and sent it on to my father. The Latin version was on gold-headed paper with all the papal insignias and informed us that, in recognition of our father's voluntary work in our local church, His Holiness Pope Paul The Sixth had decided to grant him the prestigious Papal decoration, Bene Merenti.

This wonderful news came completely out of the blue – and caused our extended family to erupt into a frenzy of wild speculations and even wilder plans. Our mother immediately declared that she had always wanted to go to Rome and that she must now find her passport which she hadn't used since she went to Lourdes.

Listen to more from Sunday Miscellany here.