Rhiannon is a published author with Penguin Random House and worked in non-fiction publishing for many years before becoming a freelance editor and ghost-writer. History enthrals her, from Regency sea captains’ diaries to stories of the social fallout from 20th century conflicts. Since learning about her Cornish and German ancestors who arrived in Australia in the nineteenth century, and great-grandparents who lived in India during the British Raj, she’s been fascinated by family histories. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she now lives in London.
As a Story Terrace writer, Rhiannon provides professional ghostwriting services to capture customers’ life stories through carefully crafted anecdotes. Below is an anecdote of her own. Get in touch today to work with her!
The Wrong Shoes
‘I think we wore the wrong shoes,’ I said, shielding my eyes from the glare of the sun and looking up at the cascading waterfall hundreds of feet above the village.
Charlotte looked down at her sandals, then my own, chewing her lip. Our footwear was more suited to strolling through Hyde Park or shopping on Bond Street, not scaling Moroccan mountains. Turning to our Berber guide, she asked, ‘Up there? Really?’
Our guide, a wiry, soft-spoken young man in a black-and-white windcheater smiled his encouragement. ‘Yes, all the way up. It is easy, I will help you.’
‘Okay, Hussein,’ Charlotte said, and shot an oh-here-we-go grin at me. Hussein set off, leading us along the dusty, twisting track through the village and across narrow foot bridges without handrails. Icy water roared beneath.
We were in the Atlas Mountains south of Marrakesh. The drive up had been idyllic. It was spring and the lowlands were carpeted with wildflowers. Our driver noticed how I lavished attention on the restaurant cats at lunchtime, and told us how a Muslim must wash his hands before prayer after touching a dog, but not after touching a cat; they were ‘clean’ animals.
As we passed out of the village and the climb steepened, Charlotte mentioned the jewellery we’d bought in the souk the previous night: several silver necklaces, rings and earrings each.
‘Do you think we overpaid? We overpaid. I could have haggled him down.’
I laughed. She’d said this to me several times already. ‘Maybe we did, but it’s all part of the experience.’
‘My father taught me better!’
Then we couldn’t talk anymore – the path had all but disappeared and we had to scale boulders with our bare hands. Hussein stood atop each rock, reaching down to help us up. He was slight, but he was very strong.
I looked up at the fourth rock face and despaired. ‘I can’t. It’s too steep.’ Charlotte, who had gone up before me, shouted down her encouragement. Hussein climbed down partway and extended his hand, friendly but firm. ‘Yes you can. Come on.’
I squeezed my eyes shut a moment. If I slipped and I was unlucky I could fall quite a way, as we were high above the ravine now. It would be no one’s fault but my own – and my ridiculous shoes. I couldn’t go down, either. Down was harder than up. I took a deep breath and reached for Hussein’s hand.
I made it up onto that boulder, and all the way to the top of the waterfall. We took an exultant photo by the rushing water, surrounded by cold, refreshing spray.
Before we walked down – via a much more sandal-friendly path – we stopped at a tiny café clinging to the mountainside and drank mint tea. The view was spectacular, and we watched the other hikers, as small as ants, struggle up the path we’d just taken.
‘Amazing,’ Charlotte said, snapping photos on her camera. And then a moment later, ‘I still think we overpaid.’
I just grinned at her.