TG Universes & Series:
“You are going to Harburg?”
“Er yes,” I agreed.
“I’ve ordered your dress, should be here midweek, fitting Friday four o’clock.”
“We’ll not have you shown up by the Taxis,” Greta blustered on.
I wonder how much it’s going to cost me this time?
Dot and Greta joined the three of us for the walk back to the Weihnachtsmarkt in the shadow of the St Laurentius Kirche.
“Can I get some photographs for the Chamber of Commerce please?”
The questioner was a chap encumbered with numerous cameras and associated paraphernalia.
“Don’t see why not,” I allowed, “guys, photo’s!”
Today would be the only time all twelve of us would be here together so we made quite a crowd and attracted one. Mr Photographer took quite a few shots including some with the ladies of Eloise Couture. The market officially opens at four thirty, so we pulled the shutter down and our posse and assorted helpers headed over to the stage where the local luminaries were gathered for the usual round of platitudes before the Mayor does the honours.
“Who’s that woman at the back?” I asked Max; well he was stood next to me.
“Blonde, light coat, boots.”
“Looks like Freja, why?”
“Freja Topfler, she’s on the tourist board I think.”
“Oh right, saw her in town the other week, thought I recognised her from somewhere.”
“Probably at some function or other, I think she’s related to the Preiser’s.”
“So without further delay I pronounce the Ahrweiler Weihnachtsmarkt open for business!” the Mayor pronounced.
“Cue us!” Pia mentioned.
We hurried, well the others hurried, I’m wearing heels, back to the cabin, the lads soon had us opened up and with me and Con manning the counter we were ready. With so many bodies available Mart had suggested doing flyers so half our merrie bande departed to promote our wares and charity. The first customers weren’t long in arriving and we started doing steady business with the takeaway stuff, it was nearly an hour before we got our first sit in sale – and that was Frau Boxberg!
“Milk coffee and I’ll try these mince pies please Gaby.”
“Coming right up, you want the pies warm?”
“However you suggest.”
She sat herself down and removed some of her winter wrapping, that flippin’ snow’s back, but thankfully only a few flakes. We’d decided that two mince pies were equivalent to a slice of gateaux or Stollen, Con sorted out the food whilst I made the coffee.
“Here we are, coffee and mince pies,” I placed everything on the table.
“Danke, well don’t they look good.”
“Hope you enjoy them.”
I retreated to the counter cum kitchen area.
“Should we put more in the warmer?” Con asked.
The warmer I should point out, is effectively just a glass box with a halogen lamp, another one of Herr Sebenschuh’s equipment donations.
“Lets see if we sell any more, don’t want to waste them.”
“I’ll eat them,” Con stated.
“But that’s not taking money for the Kinder Haus,” I pointed out.
“Very,” Frau Boxberg allowed, “in fact I’m very impressed, getting sponsorship was a very good idea, I take it the pies are your idea Fraulein Bond?”
“Er guilty,” I admitted.
“And Herr Thesing made them for you?”
“We’ve done all the baking,” Con told our guest.
“Biscuits, Stollen, the lot,” I confirmed.
“I’m more than impressed, I’d best try a bag of Spekulatius then.”
“On the house,” I proposed.
“Whilst I appreciate the gesture Gabrielle, you are here raising money for a very worthy charity, you can’t go giving your wares away, now how much?”
“Two for the biscuits and four for the coffee and cake please Miss.”
“That’s better,” she passed me a ten euro note, “put the change in the pot.”
“I’ll see you on Monday no doubt, good luck girls, have a good evening.”
“And you Miss.”
“Who was that?” Mand enquired coming into the hut for a warm having been outside with Mart and Ralf on collection duties.
“Frau Boxberg, our headmistress,” Con advised.
“Thought you said she was a right dragon Gabs.”
“I might have.”
“Seemed alright to me, put a twenty in the collecting tin.”
“How’s it going out there?” Con asked.
“Slow and cold.”
“It’ll be busier tomorrow,” I suggested.
“I hope its warmer at least, it’s quite cosy in here.”
“My feet are cold,” Con complained.
“You want a coffee?”
“Best not, it’ll go straight through, I’d best go back out.”
“Ask the others,” I requested.
It might have been coincidence, the fliers or just the snow but whatever the cause, after Frau Boxberg’s visit we had a steady stream of visitors for coffee and. The extra bodies, the Gaggia and a stream of warmed mince pies all contributed to making the tiny cabin quite cosy. Okay, we had some parents, mine, Nena’s and Mart’s mum, but the rest were genuine punters and the feedback was mostly positive.
The market was open until nine, we had customers up to the last, which had at least made the evening pass quicker, we actually had to recruit Pia and Max to serving the takeaway stuff, we were so busy.
“Glad that’s over,” Brid opined.
“How’ve we done?” Steff asked.
I counted down the notepad page (we’re counting how many of what sells), “thirty three sit ins and…twenty six bags of biscuits – nearly two hundred euros.”
“Not bad,” Pia mentioned.
“Remember we have to pay for the ingredients,” Con told the assembled collective.
“Still, when word gets out,” Nena suggested.
“We need to get off,” Mart told us, “Mum’s waiting.”
“See you Sunday Mart,” I offered as he left with Max in tow, I’m guessing von Strechau’s conned a lift.
That was the signal for everyone else to depart, Nena’s rents still have the Sharan so Pia and Brid joined them, Freddy and Ralf both live in Ahrweiler anyhow so that left the Dernau contingent.
“How are you getting home Anna?” Dad asked as he checked the cabins locks for the second time.
“Taxi I guess, Mum was supposed to come but one of her ladies has gone into labour.”
“Don’t be daft, we can squeeze you in.”
Which is how I discovered that Mand has bony knees and the back of a C Klasse isn’t really big enough for four girls in long frocks.
Apart from two cups of coffee and half a mince pie I hadn’t eaten since lunch so when we walked in to the unmistakable aroma of a good old English stew I was nearly in ecstasy.
“Thought you guys might be cold and hungry,” Mum advised as she checked the slow cooker’s contents.
“Of course, now get those dresses off and something warm on.”
It wasn’t so much that the dresses are cold, Dottie’s extra lining makes them reasonably warm but after being out in the cold, well they sort of suck up the cold. Getting the things off is another matter, Mand had to help me although she squirmed out of hers without assistance. A sweater dress and fluffy slippers warmed me up; I left the thermal tights in place as my stomach was now rumbling.
“What time do you need to be there tomorrow?” Dad asked.
“We’re doing two until close,” I advised around a mouthful of stew.
“Really?” Mand queried.
“I did tell you.”
“Well its not like I’ve got anywhere else to go.”
“I’ll do you a thermos of soup to take, can’t have you getting cold again,” Mum stated.
“We can get a sausage or something off the market,” I suggested.
“And what if you are busy and can’t leave your cabin?”
“Soup would be good Jenny,” Mand mentioned.
Saturday arrived crisp but dry and with a wall-to-wall blue sky. The overnight fall of snow had come to nought; if it warms up a bit the accumulation will probably all melt by mid afternoon. Once again I joined Mum and Mand in the garage for an indoor session on the bikes, once more it nigh on killed me – I really, really need to get some bike time this week or I’ll look a right plonk next weekend.
Of course, Mum’s off to London this afternoon for SPOTY tomorrow evening, wonder how I’ll do in the junior edition?
“Right, I’ll see you guys Monday,” Mum told us as we decanted from her A Klasse just after one thirty.
“Okay, good luck.”
“I’ll need it! Tschuss!”
“Bye Mrs B,” Mand added.
She’d barely pulled away before my Handy started doing its thing.
“Gab, has your Mum gone?”
“I just got a call from the Beeb, they’ve arranged a local TV crew to come and do a slot with you, bit of background for the SPOTY tomorrow.”
“But I’m supposed to be here.”
“Leave it with me.” He ended the call.
“Yeah, looks like this afternoon’s gonna be interesting.”
Maddy Bell 11.02.16
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