Sir There's A Waiter In My Wine ( Part One )
A Story of Love in Four Parts for the Inspiration Point.
“If you're heading down to Cornwall, the bottleneck congestion of traffic has come to a standstill during the August bank holiday weekend, gridlocked for at least ten miles,” broadcast the newsreader on the radio in an almost joyous manner, that suggested he was glad to be working.
It was the height of the season and holiday makers were out in force. Children screaming as they jumped through wave upon white foaming wave, while Mothers watched on, some standing at the waters edge with towels ready, others sat in deckchairs further up the beach watching on from a distance. A Father was being buried up to his chin by some laughing young girls and boys, pleased with their handy work as one young boy planted a white cotton hat on the man's head and ran off laughing like a lunatic, only for Dad to explode out of the sand and chase the youngsters who then ran screaming in different directions.
Further up on the walkway people either sat on benches or the seawall, while many licked on Cornish ice cream that tasted so delicious.
It was a scorching 70degrees on a Saturday afternoon in late Summer. Sixty Two year old Ellie couldn't fathom why anyone would want to sit in traffic on such a hot day, even to spend some time at the seaside, though she supposed she was lucky living in such wonderful surroundings all year round.
Hanging baskets hung with a mixture of geraniums, trailing fuchsias, begonias and lobelia, filling the atmosphere with an energy of life and color. The fragrance of wisteria wound its way climbing the pergola that surrounded her veranda overlooking the sea, each blossom enjoyed by visitors or a passersby, while the gentle flow of water from Ellie's ornamental fountain seemed to somewhat cool the atmosphere.
Ellie sat with her Granddaughter on the terrace, under the uplifting scent which surrounded her inherited Hotel, that overlooked the Cornish sea stretching on and on. Further down a path between some rocks, steps led to the beach where holiday makers also sunbathed. Ellie gazed as Fathers went exploring with their children who carried nets, climbing over and between crevices of boulders where rock pools had formed and left tiny fish that had been washed up.
Sipping green tea, Ellie's now long gray hair hung down her back in a single plait almost touching the wooden bench where they sat. Her once beautiful skin was now wrinkled and leathery from far too much sun, her aged beauty still remained in tact though.
Sixteen year old Mia was quite happily sitting with her Grandmother, wearing her best denim shorts that didn't leave much to the imagination, a white vest top that showed off her tanned arms. She loved to wear her ten friendship bracelets that friends had given her from school and her white Summer plimsolls, with a straw hat which covered long dark hair. She drank her green tea cold, preferring to suck through a straw than sip it like Gran. Nothing made Mia happier than spending time with Ellie.
Mia wiped her sticky fingers from eating strawberries her most favorite fruit in all the world. Granddad would grow them in hanging baskets during the early part of the Summer, spending one whole weekend lining and filling with compost at least twenty containers, it was a long process but Ellie knew it would keep her husband Brian busy. Mia thought they were the best, far superior to the ones her Mum bought at the Supermarket.
Slinky the cat jumped up on the wooden table eager to find out what all the fuss was about, she sniffed at the strawberries and winced as if to say, what the hell do you see in those?
Ellie not liking the idea of the cat's breath all over the food, shooed Slinky away. “Get down puss, it's not for you.” Slinky slid off the table and found her feet. She licked herself and sauntered off in disgust.
It was Ellie that had named Slinky because of her graceful walk and shiny black coat which resembled a great beauty. When she was a kitten she'd been named inky because of her color, but as inky got older the kitten had gone from a wobbling baby to a graceful mover.
They watched as Slinky turned and gave a meow before heading off for the kitchen door that led into Ellie and Brian's private quarters where there was a cat flap, a sure sign she needed feeding.
“Tell me about the first time you and granddad met.” Asked Mia taking a bite out of another strawberry. It didn't matter how many times Ellie relayed stories of her young life, Mia always enjoyed listening to her Grans adventures and Ellie enjoyed recounting them smiling and remembering the things she'd achieved.
“I'll just go and feed Slinky, then I'll be back out. You stay here and keep the table, okay?” There was a family sitting on the wall close by, Ellie felt sure they were waiting to sit down in the shade.
“Can I feed her Gran?” Inquired Mia jumping up determined not to be left alone. If there was one thing her Granddaughter hated, it was being left out of any situation.
“Yes, alright love, but bring your drink and bowl in with you.” Ellie didn't want to leave the table, she knew that as soon as they went in doors that family would take the benches and they'd loose their places in the shade, but there was always a walk down to the beach where they could sit in the shadow of the cliff face.
Making their way to the kitchen, Slinky was at her preferred place of eating and meowing by her bowl.
“Come on then Mia, I'll open the tin and you can dish it out.” As the food was spooned out, it was more than Slinky could cope with, for her they were going far too slow. “Meow! Meow!” She almost climbed up on the work surface in desperation.
“Get down puss!” Cried Ellie. “It's coming now.” Poor Mia was just too slow as she mashed up the food with the spoon in slow motion.
“That's enough mashing Mia, Slinky will eat it however it comes.” The child placed the food down as the cat started eating before it was on the floor. “Naughty Puss! Wait till I've finished.” Ordered Mia.
Ellie had to smile at her Granddaughter hearing her bossing the cat. “Come on lets go back outside in the Sunshine see if our table's still available.” As they left Slinky to eat in peace, Ellie first made her way to the hotel kitchen. Inside it was the height of activity with chefs cooking food and waiters rushing around with orders.
Ellie approached Head Chef telling him where they were going just in case there was a problem. She pondered if he was actually listening to her over the busy noise of waiters passing food orders, it was so hot in there Ellie pondered how they coped even with the air conditioning on. Fryers sizzled, spitting fat, while red hot ovens roasted joints of meat, while boiling pots steamed with intense heat.
Stepping outside into yet more of the sun's rays, as expected the table and benches they'd sat at were taken by the family of four much to Mia's disappointment. She looked at Ellie with a pout, shrugging her shoulders, swinging her arms. “What are we gonna do now?”
Ellie tutted and shaded her eyes looking out to sea. “Come on, we''ll head down to the beach, find a nice shady spot.” That cheered Mia up somewhat. She raced off excited about spending time with Gran.
Mia loved to run down the steps fast reminding Ellie of when she was young and how she would do the same having no fear of falling over.
“Be careful Mia, you don't want to end up tumbling over.”
Mia turned and smiled humming as she jumped down off the last step doing a cartwheel across the beach, watched on by an old couple who waited for Ellie to come down. Mia's straw hat came off ending up covered in sand. Picking it up she shook out the grains and placed it back on her head.
“She's certainly got a lot of energy,” said the old man, his wife agreed smiling. “Makes you wish you were young again, doesn't it?” Said the old lady.
Ellie smiled and agreed with them. “Where we gonna sit Gran?” Mia wanted to know, looking around for a shady place.
Shading her eyes, Ellie saw just the spot against the wall, just below where they'd been sitting outside the hotel, so they made their way. Mia was contented to be listening and Ellie happy to have someone special to tell her story to.
To be continued...