Clifford T Ward, Long-distance Relationships and “Home Thoughts From Abroad”

An interlude to the thread that had been developing relating to songs from the 1960s because I want to send a message, through the medium of “the blog”, to my two favourite young people. It’s a big week in our house and if I tell you that the song Home Thoughts From Abroad by Clifford T Ward immediately sprang to mind, you’ll probably have an idea why.

Home Thoughts From Abroad by Clifford T Ward:

Anyway, the great thing about revisiting our musical past in 2016, is that by simply tapping return on a keyboard we can find out the whole back story to a song and to the artist who performed/wrote it. This just wasn’t possible in 1973 when the album “Home Thoughts” came out so I didn’t really know anything about Mr Ward other than that he had enviably long, luscious, locks. Yes in those days, when you pretty much just had to roll with the hand you were dealt in the hair department as sophisticated conditioning, colouring and styling techniques weren’t available to us, even we girls couldn’t help but admire those tresses!

First of all I am surprised that the song Home Thoughts From Abroad was never released as a single because it seems to pop up on the radio quite a lot but no, it was only ever a track on the album. The song Gaye was in fact the single release that did well for him in the UK in the summer of ’73 and why he is so familiar to me. Turns out that Home Thoughts From Abroad was written much earlier, in the ’60s, when his beat band performed in France at American Army bases. Clifford was only 17 when he formed this band and, wait for it, he was already married and also had a child – Certainly explains the very personal lyrics in the song.

Not long after his stint in France, the responsibilities of fatherhood took over and Clifford trained to be an English teacher. Again this explains more of the lyrics in the song as it sounds as if he was a bookish sort and used the famous Robert Browning poem as inspiration. Sadly he was diagnosed with MS aged only 43 and died at 57 having been cared for by wife Pat, whom he had been with since they were both young teenagers.

Well my favourite young people have also been together since they were teenagers but now “aeroplanes and boats” are going to come between them for some time. The world of course is a much smaller place than it was back in the ’60s but I do think it would be nice for them not to rely entirely on modern technology to keep in touch but to do what Mr Ward did and “put a line or two on paper”. It will mean so much more in the future when all the photos, texts and memes (whatever they are) have disappeared from long-redundant devices. Just saying…..

Home Thoughts From Abroad Lyrics
(Song by Clifford T Ward)

I could be a millionaire if I had the money
I could own a mansion
No, I don’t think I’d like that
But I might write a song that makes you laugh
Now, that would be funny
And you could tell your friends in Scotland you’d like that

Now I’ve chosen aeroplanes and boats to come between us
And a line or two on paper wouldn’t go amiss
How is Inverness-shire?
Is it still the same between us?
Do you still use television to send you fast asleep?
Can you last another week?
Does the cistern still leak?
Or have you found a man to mend it?
Oh, and by the way, how’s your broken heart?
Is that mended too?
I miss you, I miss you
I really do

I’ve been reading Browning
Keats and William Wordsworth
And they all seem to be saying the same thing for me
Well I like the words they use, and I like the way they use them
You know, Home Thoughts from Abroad is such a beautiful poem

And I know how Robert Browning must have felt
‘Cause I’m feeling the same way about you
Wondering what you’re doing
And if you need some help
Do I still occupy your mind?
Am I being so unkind?
Do you find it very lonely, or have you found someone to laugh with?
Oh, and by the way, are you laughing now?
‘Cause I’m not
I miss you, I miss you
I really do

I miss you
I really do

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

4 thoughts on “Clifford T Ward, Long-distance Relationships and “Home Thoughts From Abroad””

    1. Hi Paul – Thanks for dropping by. Yes I remember the song Gaye well but somehow Home Thoughts now gets more airplay on the radio which is why I thought of writing about it. A beautiful song too.


  1. I’ve loved this song from the first time I heard it on a Toronto Easy Listening radio station in 1975. It was Jack Jones’ version from his “What I Did For Love” LP. It was only in the ‘Napster’ years (late 90s) that I discovered the original by Clifford T Ward. Having been introduced to Napster by our teenage son, I was firing obscure titles from my youth at the ‘free’ search engine.
    A decade later, I found Colm Wilkinson’s version.
    All good, but I prefer the original. Beautiful lyrics. How may songs include the word ‘ cistern’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh Damian, thanks for dropping by this post. It was written during my first year of blogging and it has just reminded me how much my daughter’s life has changed in that time whilst for her mum and dad, not so much!

      It’s a great song isn’t and it was always going to put in an appearance around here. In amongst the mundane detail of domestic life, like getting the cistern fixed, he casually drops in the question, ‘Oh and by the way, how’s your broken heart?’. Breaks MY heart listening to it.

      I only knew of Clifford from our tv chart shows but after researching him for this post, discovered he’d done so much at a very young age but then got ill at quite a young age too. Sad. He’s left us some beautiful songs though.


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