“Today, ladies and gentlemen, is the most anticipated coach tour of this infamous time-traveling series. We have already seen the building of Stonehenge, enjoyed the jazz of 1920s New Orleans, witnessed the schooling of young Alexander the Great by Aristotle, and, best of all, spent some time with my old friend Archie, known to historians as the greatest inventor of all time, Archimedes. But I promise you that today’s tour promises to surpass them all. This is the one that has been most requested by you, my regular customers.”
“This is the one you have all been waiting for. Today, I am proud to announce that that we are about to depart for the beginning of the nineteenth century in Vienna. You are about to meet none other than Ludwig van Beethoven!”
Spontaneous cheering and clapping bursts out amongst the passengers. I can see that you are all sharing my excitement. I have been looking forward for this one for several weeks. LvB and I share our birth date, 16th December, although he was born a few years before me! He is also my favourite classical composer, and my Mum’s too.
I can see that Howard is already anticipating his chance to audition with his guitar in front of the great maestro. To be honest, I am dreading the prospect. I have witnessed Ludwig’s recent dark moods, and I am not entirely confident that he will enjoy Mister Loring’s special brand of music. However, Sheila and Mello are already jiggling around on the back seat as they sing along to Howard’s melodies.
As we leave Victoria Bus Station, I look around and I am delighted to see lots of the regulars: Itchy Quill, Dominique, Lucie, Wendy Kate, Sally, Tooty Nolan, Nydia, Carrie, Donna and Hugh amongst them.
Nobody seems too bothered as we take a small diversion via the beautiful Cretan village of Krista to pick up an extra passenger, Yvonne. She urges us all to stay to sample some of her freshly pressed lemon juice, but I insist that we must continue on our journey back across Europe and through time.
As we approach Ludwig’s unruly study, Teagan nervously approaches my seat at the front of the bus.
“I have heard about Beethoven’s moods at the time and even that he has thrown plates at his maids for such minor misdemeanors as presenting him with a cake that was not to his taste.”
“Yes. That is true,” I agree. “He does get upset rather easily. His fellows tell me that he is even more crotchety than usual these days”
She shows me a white cardboard box. “I’ve prepared a little present for him. I hope that he will like it.”
“What is it.”
“Oh! That’s between me and Ludwig,” she replies rather mysteriously before returning to her seat.
The Owl Lady, Brandy, Bec, CC and Almost Welsh Sarah are now encouraging the front half of the coach to compete with Howard’s renditions by singing the melodies of Beethoven’s symphonies. They are really getting into the spirit of the trip. It is becoming rowdy, but the tuneful battle is very friendly. Everyone is having a whale of a time. By the time we arrive in 1804 Vienna, the possible jet-lag between Australia and England is no longer having any effect on Sassycare.
Proof of the elasticity of time travel is provided as the fifty-two passengers disembark into our hero’s tiny study with plenty of room to spare. I am relieved that he appears to be very pleased to see us.
“You have arrived at a most opportune time,” he tells us. “Please make yourselves comfortable. I have just finished my latest masterpiece,” he tells us with total lack of modesty. “I was going to call it the Bonaparte Symphony, but I have just heard that Napoleon has crowned himself as Emperor of France. That is intolerable! I will call it simply ‘Eroica’, the Heroic.”
With that, he launches into what was probably the first public performance of his famous third symphony. We are quick to realise that we have happened into a very historic moment. Julz and Colleen almost faint with emotion.
Having traveled so far from the future, we recognise the enormity of this masterpiece and greet is with enormous applause. Beethoven is very pleased with our reception. He is even happier as Teagan sidles up to the side of his piano stool and opens her box to reveal a cake. Ludwig takes a slice and samples it.
“My dear lady. I wish you could stay here and now. This is the most exquisite cherry cake that I have ever tasted in my life. Apart from cherries, would you care to share the secret of the other main ingredients with me?”
“Certainly sir,” enthuses Teagan; “mascarpone and marsala.”
“Very nice. May I have another slice?”
“Yes. Of course. The whole cake is for you. I’ll leave it here.”
We all enjoy the rest of the day, especially when the maestro’s teacher unexpectedly enters to room. Although the relationship between Ludwig and Joseph Haydn appears to be a little frosty, they both appear to enjoy performing an impromptu duet for their time-traveling audience.
As we approach twenty-first century London, we all agree that it has been a truly wonderful day out. If only I’d thought to stock up on CDs of Beethoven’s music before we’d left, I could’ve made a killing. Then again, the experience that we’ve just had is worth more than a million CDs.
There is much speculation on where and when we might go on the next tour. My final plea to my passengers, and anybody else who wants to join us in the future, and in the past, is…
Just make your suggestions in response to this post and I’ll put together a new poll.