I think this chapter should be called ‘Amore’. This genuinely was the highlight of my Blackpool Holiday. A grown up night out for a little girl. This is a chapter about fun and the relationship between a little girl and her mum. It brought back good memories and made me remember how young and pretty my mum used to be. Enjoy!
She must have sensed my gaze as she opened her eyes, smiled at me and held out her arms, I went and snuggled in the little single bed next to her. My mum looked funny in the mornings because her teeth were steeping in a cup on the bedside table. As odd as it seems, back in the sixties, that was common. It was easier to get all your teeth taken out and have new ones made. When I was very little, I used to call her witchy face when she didn’t have her teeth in. I think I was the only one who saw her without them. I had seen my Aunty without her teeth too! She looked really scary without them (come to think of it, she looked just as scary with her teeth in). We snuggled for a few minutes saying nothing, until a knock at the door disturbed us. We heard the rattle of cups, and knew it was our morning cuppa, which meant it was eight o clock or so and time to rise and shine. My mum got up and brought in the tray of tea, she laughed and turned around to show me the bottle of Italian Soda with a little ribbon around it. I knew Maurice must have bought that for me. I didn’t need any tea, the Italian drink was just right. We washed and dressed. It was a nice morning but I was a little sad because this was the day we had to go home. I didn’t get many summer holidays so this had been very special for me. I had on my shorts and a nice t-shirt just as if I was going to the beach. My mum had on a pretty white dress with big green circles around the bottom of it, another dress she had made herself, she really was clever. We had our cases on the bed and were starting to pack them when there was another knock at the door. I ran and answered it before my mum could stop me. It was Tim, and he bent down and gave me a kiss on my cheek. That felt odd! It was the first time he had ever done that. He stood up and looked at my mum. “Lets go and get some breakfast” he said “there is a nice little place right on the sea front, so let’s go and end our holiday well, Maurice is still on the phone to one of our clients, but he will come and join us”.
We left the cases open on the bed and went out into the fresh air. It was only nine thirty and still brisk outside. Blackpool air didn’t warm up until eleven o clock at the earliest. The seagulls were noisy that morning, but I loved the sound they made, I was very sad we would be on our way home soon and I wouldn’t hear the seagulls for a long time. Tim and my mum were chattering away as we walked down the hill to the seafront. My mum held tightly onto my hand, making sure I didn’t go missing again. Half way down the hill I stopped, I heard someone call my name. I looked around and saw the lady who had taken me to the ‘Lost Children Van’ the day before. She was bustling towards me with ‘Alfie’ strolling casually along behind her. “Oh I am so glad you found your mum and dad” she said as she got closer. ‘Mum and Dad’ I thought, and then laughed because she thought Tim was my dad. She introduced herself to my mum and Tim, and then gave me a big smacking kiss on my cheek. “Alfie this is Sheila from yesterday, remember the little lost girl, she found her mum and dad, I was so worried, I am so glad we saw you” He smiled and introduced himself too. My mum thanked them and got quite tearful again. Doris gave her a bear hug, which probably squeezed all the air out of her lungs, and then grabbed on to Alfie’s hand and off they went. A comical pair! Alfie was tall and thin, and Doris was rather round, they made me think of the old nursery rhyme, ‘Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, and so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean’. I would always remember Doris and Alfie as Mr. and Mrs. Sprat! We carried on walking down to the café for breakfast. The sea air was making me hungry. I was always hungry these days.
We found ourselves outside a nice little café, it was whitewashed and had oak beams on the outside and when we walked inside we were in a lovely room with wallpaper on the walls that covered in roses. All of the waitresses had on little lace aprons and wore little lace caps on their head. We found a table by the window, so we could watch for Maurice coming, and we ordered a pot of tea while we waited for him. He was a long time, and I started getting a little worried. I had been a little jumpy since my sunstroke dream. A little bell rang as the door opened, and there was Maurice. No coat this morning, or hat. He looked very relaxed and wore a short-sleeved t-shirt instead of his usual shirt and tie. “We just got a big contract and breakfast is on me”, he said. Tim made a very funny “Yahoo?” type noise and clapped very loud. My mum looked a little embarrassed as everyone in the café looked in our direction. She didn’t like that sort of attention. I just wondered what a ‘contract’ was. “We fly to Lyon tomorrow morning” Maurice said. Suddenly I wasn’t hungry anymore! I wasn’t sure where Lyon was, I thought it might be in France, but I really didn’t want them to fly anywhere because I would miss them. Something else was bothering me too, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I must have looked funny because Maurice noticed straight away. He came and sat down, and while Tim ordered breakfast he talked to me. “We will be coming back you know, it’s only for a few days, a week at the most. Next time we fly out there, because we will be flying out there a lot, you can come if you like. You and your mum, we can try French ice cream, what do you think?” I had never really thought about flying before, even though my brother was a pilot. I smiled when I thought about my brother Bobby, being a pilot. He was daring, he used to fly over our little house and do all sort of tricks in the sky. My mum used to run inside and cover her eyes and ears, convinced he would crash into the farm buildings near our house. He flew panes off boats, so he had to be able to do all sorts of things regular pilots didn’t do. He flew pretty patterns in the sky, flying upside down sometimes, and sometimes flying so low I thought he was going to cut the tops off the trees in the forest at the bottom of our garden. My friend didn’t believe me when I told them that it was my brother who did all of those crazy things over our village. There were only two other kids in the little village I called home, but both of them came running out when that plane came over. They had to start believing it was my brother after my headmaster talked about him in one of our classes at school. He told them all about that type of flying, and how hard Bobby had to train to be able to do all of those things in the sky. Also how dangerous it was. For a while, I felt like I had a film star for a brother and everyone was jealous of me. My brother Bobby looked like a film star, he was very handsome.
Maurice left me to my thoughts, and I reasoned it all out very quickly in my head, the way kids do. I came back to reality when the waitress put a plate in front of me which smelled of bacon, nothing in the world smelled better than bacon. There was bacon, eggs, tomatoes, black pudding, and a nice crispy slice of fried bread. That put a smile on my face, and I looked up at my mum and said. “I would like to go to Lyon one day and get some French ice cream” That made them all laugh, and I pushed my scary thoughts away for a while and ate my sizzling plate of breakfast, well most of it, I don’t know if anyone would be able to eat all of that. I left the tomatoes and mushrooms, but it would have been a sin to leave any of that delicious fried bacon or black pudding, and I had to eat the fried bread because what else could I dip in the yoke of my fried egg. My mum hardly touched her breakfast because she was always on a diet. Usually for breakfast she had a slice of ryvita and a cup of tea. The two men devoured their breakfast like they had never eaten before.
We sat there for a while, drinking tea and watching the passers-by, and then Maurice paid the waitress and gave her a big tip, which she tried to give back to him, but he insisted she took it and then we all went out for our last walk along the sea front. It was another lovely day, made you want to stay forever and forget about school. I am sure my mum wasn’t thrilled at the thought of going back to work. She did seem very happy when she was there though. The beach was already filling up with happy excited children and their equally excited parents. The little green lost children’s van was parked and ready for the first customer. The donkeys were jingling along by the edge of the water. My bad dream was forgotten again and life was good.