Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Chapter 43 : The Blue Mountains (Sunday)


Breakfast room is crowded. Everybody is on an “all you can eat for breakfast” package and everybody aims for their money’s worth. Lots of big breakfasts. Some people survey the cooked food before plunging in.  It is possible to have a nourishing, healthy, enjoyable breakfast or an unhealthy pile of junk.  Everybody has a choice and nobody is assessed on how they do. Not initially. Maybe in twenty years’ time a heart attack will be some sort of judgement.

The young well-dressed staff hover. They noiselessly keep the bay maries full of food. They swoop on cluttered tables and clear away dirty plates and cutlery.  Quietly and without comment. They do this as we go back for more. 

We are off to the scenic railway.  The departure place is crowded with glum tourists who are controlled and managed by glum Red Coats.  The Red Coats look like they have heard and seen it all before. I’m challenged to say something they have never heard before.  I approach the nearest Red Coat and ask her, “What happens when we see an elephant?”


“An elephant.”

She can see a set-up and smiles as she says, “Run.”

I can see another Red Coat and I approach and earnestly ask him, “What do we do when we see a lion?”

“On the train?”

“Yes what do we do?”

He grins broadly and says, “You won’t see a lion.”

He now has something to talk about after he has finished his shift. We move from a cable car to the scenic railroad and back to another cable car.  We are in a crowd of compliant tourists. The Red Coats tell us where to stand or sit and when.  One announcer says the trees below us look like broccoli.  Later another announcer tells us to look down and when you see something that looks like broccoli it is actually trees. In one of the cable cars there is a final bump before we stop. A man yells out, “Unbelievable.”  The crowd laughs. He wins and gets all the bonus points. What he said was unscripted and far funnier than anything I said.

At tea I am told, “You’re looking tired.”

Somebody else also tells me I’m looking tired.

I’m upset because they are focusing on me because I’m old and have been sick. Bloody hell. I’m just tired from a busy day. And proud of it. Proud of my tiredness. 

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