• Charlie Murray

Doing The Lambeth Walk With Mrs Beeton

For many hours Vincent led the Autumn Parade throughout the land as they celebrated the return of The Yellow Café. Like the Grand Old Duke of York and his 10,000 men he led the parade up to the top of the hill and back down again. At the bottom of one particular hill, Winchmore Hill if you’re interested, the artist made a friend.

As the jubilations made their way back along the path to the café, Vincent, the flame red wonder could be seen, doing a strange walk, arm in arm with a man in a black fedora and brown sunglasses. The pair lead the parade in a raucous rendition of a song that could be heard far and wide.

‘Glory, glory Yellow Café, glory, glory Yellow Café, glory, glory Yellow Café, the doors are open once more!’

As they stomped triumphantly towards the magical building their footsteps echoed through the foundations of the earth, disturbing all that lay within. A cacophony of tiny footsteps could be heard and then suddenly life sprang from holes all around the ground.

‘Look!’ Exclaimed the man in the fedora, ‘Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!’

Laughter erupted along with more cockney singing as Vincent welcomed his new friend Chas into the café

‘It’s not Margate, me old china, but it’ll do,’ joked Chas as he straightened his braces and tipped his hat to a rather matronly woman who scowled at the pair.

‘Yes, Yes, you won’t stop talking, why don’t you give it a rest?’ she barked.

You see, dear reader, that’s the one problem with The Yellow Café, anyone is welcome, dead or alive and occasionally someone, such as this woman now, wanders through our pages to impart their knowledge whether it be desired or not.

‘There is a distinct lack of household management in this establishment’ declared the Victorian woman as she thrust a broom at Vincent.

‘No order whatsoever, how is one to throw a party with such an array of chaos, it just won’t do!’ snapped Mrs Beeton.

The broom in Vincent’s hand sprang to life, it freed itself from the artists grip, relieved to have not been used as a paintbrush, and proceeded to sweep the Autumn leaves outside. Whilst the besom swept, the books raised themselves up from the shelves and shook their pages as though they were Tiller Girls shimmying their feathers once more.

Occasionally a book shook itself too hard and a character fell from its pages. A Raven flew from a particularly dusty poetry book and sat atop the writing desk whilst, for a few confusing minutes, The Invisible Man fell from H.G Wells’ section of the shelves only to become tangled in Charlotte’s Web as he narrowly avoided being swallowed by Moby Dick. I suppose you could call it a ‘classic’ scenario at The Yellow Café.

Mrs Beeton, a very sensible and straight-laced lady knew something strange was cooking and brewing. When she wrote her advice columns on household management throughout the 1800s she could never have imagined that a book would come to life and clean itself, or that a broom might work unaided, as though it danced a Roomba. It all became a little too much for the poor woman and she felt faint.

‘Come on love, snooker loopy nuts are we, let’s have a cup of Rosie Lee before this lot pull down the final Richard Burton.’

With that, Chas led Mrs Beeton over to the sofa that had just finished plumping it’s own cushions and the pair sat rabbit and porking about gawd knows what.

The Raven left the writing desk with the age-old riddle still unanswered and flew straight into the heart of the record player. A few disgruntled spiders were evicted from the speakers, removing cotton wool as they did so, along with 18 months of dust and silence until throughout the Café Sandy Denny’s rendition of The North Star Grassman and The Ravens could be heard.

The cleaning continued until every corner of The Yellow Café glistened as new, well, every corner except one. In an effort to avoid the cleaning process, Vincent set up an easel in a quiet part of the café near to a window. He had decided that, rather than aid in the process, he would paint a picture of a clean room to indicate that he knew how to tidy, he just had no desire to do so. The floor around his easel was daubed with paint, biscuit crumbs, pieces of cheese and droplets of wine from the times when he overzealously waved his glass. In fact, he’d been so over enthusiastic with his tipple it forced him to paint the soft furnishings red to disguise the wine stain.

The artist sent the remainder of his wine flying into the air as, from behind him, he heard a knocking on the window. Fearing that Mrs Beeton had ceased her Lambeth Walk lessons with Chas and was now here to discipline him, he turned slowly, sheepishly, staring at his feet and deciding it best not to make eye contact with the woman lest he incur more of her wrath.

The fragile artist looked pleasantly surprised by what he saw, his cobalt blue eyes grew wide as he saw a familiar face. In fact millions of familiar faces shone before him.

‘Hello old friend’ beamed the Autumn Moon in the Starry Night sky, ‘it’s been a long time.’

Vincent embraced the Moon, and then stepped back in amazement as the Queen of the night sky kissed the path to the café, opening the gates and sending a flotilla of people along it’s caress, straight into the waiting arms of the café.

Written & Narrated by Charlie Murray with Music Composed and Recorded by Richard Digance