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Fiction Inspirational Holiday

I ain't never wanted to gad about and visit no weird places; I like the comfort of me own bed. People like to tease me and tell me that I've lived a narrow, little life. But I never thought so. I've 'ad a happy life.[1]


When I opened me curtains today, I 'ad a real shock! There, on the block of flats opposite me kitchen window, was a massive great, big waterfall! I don't mean a real one, course not; the Council wouldn't stump up for that, now would they! Some idiot, or more likely idiots, painted it. It wasn't there yesterday. They must have done it in the bloomin' night; can you imagine that? I feel so angry, it's got to be wrong ain't it, damaging Council property like that. 


Why did they do it?


But I must admit that I can't stop taking a peep every now and again. Perhaps more than every now and again, every few minutes, I find myself over by the window taking another peek. The water tumbling down looks so real, sort of frothy; I wonder how they did that? I see more things, ferns; I think they're ferns, they have long spiky leaves, which also look soft; I would love to touch 'em. There seems to be moss on the stones and big trees in the background, so many different greens.


I have to close the curtains so that I can get on with me day. I have to look after me house cats, clean their litter trays and visit me two old ladies; I cook for 'em on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and I leave them a cold lunch for the other days. I'm already behind with me chores.


Me favourite radio programme is on now, that'll help me get back to me routine, it's a bit of company too. I like the music that Ed plays; he plays lots of me favourite music - I can always rely on 'im. This morning 'e's playing the best of the Carpenters. I like 'em; you can hear every word that Karen sings. The one, Jambalaya is me favourite, I've no idea what it's about, but it's such a 'appy song. I feel back on track meself after a few minutes of listening. And I admit that I'm not afraid to dance a bit; I used to be a great dancer, the waltz, the fox-trot, the be-bop, the twist; I was quite a mover.


Me very favourite singers is Frank Sinatra and Englebert Humperdink, 'is name makes me laugh, but 'is tunes and 'is words make me feel good. Every day Ed plays one Humperdinck song at the end of 'is show; I suppose it's sorta like 'is trademark. Today 'e plays "Spanish Eyes" I know it so well I can sing along, but the cats aren't too keen on me singing, but do I care? Do I hell! They can like it or lump it, I say.


I make liver, onions and bacon with a bit of mashed potato today, three portions, for me, for Elsie and for Florence, plus a bit for Fred and Ginger; me cats love a bit of liver.


I don't open me curtains when I wash up the pans; it's all too distracting. I deliver me meals and stop to chat with Florence - she's seen the waterfall and tells me that she really likes it and hopes it doesn't get removed - I'm amazed! I can't believe me ears! It's interesting, but I don't know if I want it to be there forever! Florence is one of those educated sorts - she likes to read all the time; I never liked reading or writing; I like songs, music, dancing and doing. She tells me to fetch the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the one with the Ws in it. I find it and give it to her. She looks up "Waterfalls of the World" and by and by she finds a lovely photograph of The Angel Falls, in somewhere or other, I forget now, "look" she says, " it is our waterfall! Exactly the same; I knew it would be so!" She lets me borrow the big book; Florence even put a bookmarker in the right place for me.


When I get back to me flat, I draw the curtains back. Florence is right; the waterfall on the wall is exactly like the one in the photograph. Perhaps the Council should leave it alone; I reckon Florence might have a point. It don't do no harm, does it?


The next morning, I go straight to the window and look at the wall. On the radio, Ed is playing "Take me home, Country roads," but instead of singing and dancing today I sit meself down and read the big book and look at all the photographs. Angel Falls is in Venezuela – a very long way from here! They say it's the biggest - or is it the highest - waterfall in the world - anyway, it's big. But there are hundreds of waterfalls all over the place! The time goes by so fast that I am all of a dither. I'm running so late that I have to rush around to make a cold lunch for Elsie and Florence to have it ready in time.


I pop off to deliver 'em. Elsie's on the phone when I arrive. I hear her saying: "I hope it won't take long. Exactly when are you going to remove it?" "Next week! That's simply not good enough. These people are vandals, philistines, criminals! Yes, I will wait. Monday, did you say? Well, I suppose that will have to do. Good day to you." She almost slams the dog and bone down; I can see she is mad as hell. She pushes her walking frame over to her chair, and I 'elp her sit down. 


"We must present a united front," she says, "why don't you pick up that phone and make a complaint? I have no desire to wait all weekend; you might hurry them along; I can't look at that monstrosity for a moment longer!"

I make an excuse and tell her I have to go because I have a doctor's appointment, it's a little white lie, but I don't mean no harm. I'm not phoning no Council to get our waterfall took away, no fear!


On Monday, the Council do come and paint it over; it takes them a week – which makes me laugh! It only took those there fellas that painted a whole waterfall one night! The workman use grey paint; they could at least have picked a nice colour. sky blue would have been lovely. I know those fellas broke the law, but Florence was right. I already miss me waterfall.


I keep reading the big book from cover to cover. I read about all sorts of things, including something called Wanderlust - it's a funny word. It gets me thinking; maybe I've caught Wanderlust like you can catch a cold because suddenly I want to go on an outing. Ed plays Humperdinck's song "Please release me, let me go", and I have to smile; I feel like being released.


I sing along as I make liver, onions and bacon again for Florence and Elsie, and as I'm cooking, me mind starts to wander. Maybe I could go and visit a real waterfall. I go to the big book, and I find one in North Wales – Betty Coed or somewhere I can't pronounce – but the waterfall I can pronounce it's got a lovely name - Swallow Falls. We used to have so many swallows and house martens flitting over us when I was a nipper­: dipping and diving over the fields and high up into the blue sky and over the green fields, the cows chewing and swishing their tails. Even when I moved to The Angel, here in London, I used to like to take meself off on the bus and go walking in the countryside. I haven't thought about those trips for years! I like the sound of Wales, I've aint' never been there, but I make meself a plan. I'm going! To hell with the dishes and cooking and the cats! 


I pick a Thursday because that way, I will have a week to get myself organised. I find me old tweed suit in the back of me wardrobe; it's got a long skirt and short jacket – ideal for walking, that is. Me strong, brown boots are a bit worn, but they have plenty of life in 'em. I search for me daffodil brooch; it was a present from me pop when I was eighteen or nineteen; I can't quite remember now. I know I was very young, and quite good-looking, even though I do say so meself. I try me suit on – it's not tight – I haven't lost me figure – I pin the little brooch on, and it looks bonny, me pop always told me I looked bonny. They love daffs in Wales.


I arrive at the train station an hour early - I haven't been on a train for over thirty-five years. I have a pot of tea and a teacake in the little cafe. I've nothing to worry about but meself - the cats have gone to me sister's house. She will complain for weeks, but I don't care. Elsie and Florence have food in their fridges. I'm as free as a bird – as free as a swallow.



When the train arrives, a nice young man opens the train door for me; I always had trouble with that. I've got a few fish paste sandwiches in me bag, plus a nice flask of hot water and a teabag. I'm very prepared.


I find meself a carriage and I sit by the window and rest me head back on the headrest. The little pictures that I see from the window get greener and greener; it's a lovely early autumn day. All golden. I close me eyes and listen to the clackety-clack of the train on the track. It's very soothing.


I have a little sleep and eat me sandwiches and have me cuppa tea, I bought me knitting with me, so I do a few rows of knit one, pearl one; knitting relaxes me, always has. The journey is longer than I expected, but it's all right; I have time. 


Eventually, we arrive. I buy three postcards at the station shop, one for Florence, one for Elsie and one for me niece Angela; the only thing me rotten sister ever did that was good was give birth to Angela. I buy a few sarnies and some fresh Welsh cakes, they smell so good, all sugary and full of raisins.


I find the right bus and ask the driver for a ticket to Swallow Falls. I feel a bit nervous if I'm honest; I wonder if I have made big mistake; I am such a long way from home. But, when we arrive, I spot a great, big signpost it says "To The Falls" on it. There is a long line of people walking up a path, not just me; I don't feel quite so silly or lonely when I see them. I've got butterflies in me tummy. I'm so daft! It makes me feel like a young girl again, when I used to have butterflies in me tummy all the time when I waiting for some young fella to take me dancing. It’s a nice feeling.


I can hear the water long before I sees it: it's like five hundred baths filling up all at once! It's so loud. There is a chill in the air now too, but enough blue in the sky to make a sailor a pair of underpants - that makes me chuckle – me pop always used to say that.


Then I see the waterfall.

The water is pouring down like a net curtain; I don't know where it's come from or where it's going.

It's so big!

It's almost too much for me; I think it’s what they call breathtaking.

It’s the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in me entire life.

I can't get over it.

It's like the one on me wall, but so much better. Hearing it for real, watching the spray coming up and floating over me, it’s like a lovely dream.


I find a stone, soft it is with moss. I sit down. There’s so much bracken, like the ferns on me wall waterfall that was. I bend down a bit and stroke the leaves - I feel calm, calm and peaceful. For once, I don't even 'ave any words to describe it. My mind is empty! All the noise in my ‘ead has stopped!


***

I hear a ringing sound, ringing, ringing, ringing! I must ‘ave fallen asleep in me chair. I thinks to meself – maybe that's me doorbell! I don't know how long it is since I heard it! I rush to the door and open it. Well, blow me down, it's Angela! Me wonderful niece. She's all smiles and blonde hair, I just gawp at ‘er!

"Hello Gaa – aren't you going to let me in then?"


She calls me Gaa, Good Aunt Angela – she's Angela, I'm Angela and so was me mum and grandma, there are lots of us.


"Of course, me own sweetpea, come on in. You are a sight for sore eyes.

"Put the kettle on, Gaa; I’m that parched I could drink a lake. I got your postcard, what the hec were you doing in Wales! You lost your marbles or somefink!"

"I went on a little trip, love, all on me lonesome!"

"’ere, I got you a present."

"For me! – what it is?"

"Well open it and see."

"That's lovely, Angela, a black frame, just lovely."

"It ain't no black frame; plug it into the wall, you’ll see. ‘ere let me do it!"


All of a sudden, the frame filled up with pictures like a sort of film. All the waterfalls of the world! All of ‘em.


"You dizzy girl, you've made me into a waterfall; look at these silly tears. That's the kindest thing anyone's done for me since, well, I dunno, for many a long year."

"I’m still parched, Gaa; where’s that tea?”


I put me new frame with the pictures on me windowsill in the kitchen. I have a funny feeling in me tummy again, like I did when I was at the Swallow Falls.


“Angela, love, ‘ave you ever been to Venezuela?

“Oh yes, Gaa! I was there last Tuesday morning! Don’t be daft, course not!

“Well, we’re going.”


***

“Gaa, put these earbuds in your ears, go on – are you ready?”

I close me eyes and nod me head.

Suddenly me ears fill with the sound of Frank, wonderful Frank, singing, “Fly me to the Moon.”


It turns out that flying over a waterfall with the best person you’ve ever ‘ad in your life is even better than sitting next to one on your own, and the real Angel Falls is quite a bit better than the one on me wall was, and quite a bit nicer than Swallow Falls, now I come to fink about it.



[1] A note about the language and spelling: Angela is a Londoner; she has a strong London accent. She speaks mainly to an invisible audience or to herself and always with a great deal of passion.

November 11, 2022 18:25

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