Friday, April 16, 2021

Holiday of a Lifetime by Elaine Peters

 They had excitedly planned the details for almost a year.  The trip to South Africa was to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary and there would be tours of the wine country, visits to animal reserves, and of course gardens featured prominently on the itinerary.

The whole experience had been wonderful.  The weather had been perfect, the scenery amazing, and the highlight for Linda had been the exotic plants they had discovered. It made her collection of house plants seem nothing special, although she was very proud of the rare orchid she had carefully nurtured for several years.

Sheila and Frank next door were in charge of looking after the house while Linda and Paul were away, bringing in the mail, checking the boiler was working, that sort of thing.

‘Don’t worry,’ Sheila laughed as they said goodbye.  ‘I’ll come over every couple of days and water the pots.’

Linda had bought Sheila a rather expensive gift as a thank-you, and Paul had selected a bottle of good local wine for Frank.  

As ever, all good things come to an end, and finally they were leaving paradise after four fantastic weeks.  As Table Mountain disappeared below the clouds Linda’s thoughts turned to home.  How would her beloved plants be looking?  The orchid had been budding when she left.  She was dying to see it in flower.

As Paul was bringing the last of the luggage in he heard a desperate cry coming from the conservatory.

‘They killed it.’  Linda was sobbing and for a moment Paul couldn’t imagine what ‘they’ had killed.  They didn’t have a pet and the children had left home long ago.

‘My orchid is dead!’ Linda cried wretchedly.  ‘Sheila is useless; I wish I’d never gone away!’

In that moment the holiday of a lifetime was forgotten. 


They had excitedly planned the details for almost a year.  The trip to South Africa was to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary and there would be tours of the wine country, visits to animal reserves, and of course gardens featured prominently on the itinerary.

The whole experience had been wonderful.  The weather had been perfect, the scenery amazing, and the highlight for Linda had been the exotic plants they had discovered. It made her collection of house plants seem nothing special, although she was very proud of the rare orchid she had carefully nurtured for several years.

Sheila and Frank next door were in charge of looking after the house while Linda and Paul were away, bringing in the mail, checking the boiler was working, that sort of thing.

‘Don’t worry,’ Sheila laughed as they said goodbye.  ‘I’ll come over every couple of days and water the pots.’

Linda had bought Sheila a rather expensive gift as a thank-you, and Paul had selected a bottle of good local wine for Frank.  

As ever, all good things come to an end, and finally they were leaving paradise after four fantastic weeks.  As Table Mountain disappeared below the clouds Linda’s thoughts turned to home.  How would her beloved plants be looking?  The orchid had been budding when she left.  She was dying to see it in flower.

As Paul was bringing the last of the luggage in he heard a desperate cry coming from the conservatory.

‘They killed it.’  Linda was sobbing and for a moment Paul couldn’t imagine what ‘they’ had killed.  They didn’t have a pet and the children had left home long ago.

‘My orchid is dead!’ Linda cried wretchedly.  ‘Sheila is useless; I wish I’d never gone away!’

In that moment the holiday of a lifetime was forgotten.


© Elaine Peters

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