TG Universes & Series:
Of course that didn’t mean there was no climbing just a lot less. Mum and Caro took turns pushing me up the rest of the climb then we dropped to Ampleforth, the road climbed steadily but at a low grade through Wass, past Byland Abbey (I knew there was an abbey around here somewhere!) and on to Kilburn, the white horse invisible from below the escarpment. We dropped through Bagby into the wide basin of Swaledale, we had fifteen minutes to cover five miles – it was gonna be tight!
Mum took the lead and got her head down, I was tucked behind, Mand on my wheel with Caro acting as sweeper. The road was flat and we were all puffing as we rode onto the platform literally seconds before the 15.05 local drew to a halt. We loaded ourselves on board with some assistance from the conductor guard chappy.
“Where to ladies?”
“Crossgates please,” Caro requested.
He busied himself with his ticket machine, “hard ride?”
“Up from York to Helmsley, took us a bit longer than we thought across to Thirsk,” Mum noted.
“That’s a fair old ride, takes me all my time to ride to work, that’s twenty six eighty please.”
It wasn’t the newest train, a two-car diesel but there were seats available for which I was grateful.
“You okay Gab?” Mand asked.
“I think so, I am so out of condition,” I admitted.
“That last bit was pretty intense.”
“No kidding,” Caro agreed.
“We made it didn’t we?” Mum pointed out.
It only took fifteen minutes to get back to York, after a brief stop we were on our way once again. Even with stops it only took another twenty minutes to reach our stop, once outside it took another fifteen minutes to get to Roundhay. It was almost spot on four and not far off dark when we reached the Apollinaris bus, once more out of breath and decidedly dishevelled.
“I was just gonna ring to see where you were,” Dad observed, “everyone okay?”
“Just about,” Mum told him, “Gab is a bit the worse for wear.”
“How’d the girls get on?” Manda asked.
“They both podiumed,” Dad beamed, “Anita top and Erika bottom, Carsten’s with them at the post race.”
“Cool!” I allowed.
“There showers Dave?” Caro enquired.
“Some of those Porta shower things,” he advised.
“Come on then girls, don’t want to be stinky on the plane!”
Dad dropped the three of us off at Leeds Central fifteen minutes before our train was due.
“I’ll see you two in the New Year,” Caro told us.
“You’ve got the presents?” I asked.
“I’ve got the presents, they’ll have them before the day, don’t worry.”
“Good to see you again Caro,” Mum mentioned.
“Go on or you’ll miss your train,” Dad opined.
Dad was dropping Caro off then they were straight down the M62 to Hull and the ferry home. It’s a bit weird that they leave Hull at almost the same time we leave Manchester, we get home tonight, they’ll get back about lunchtime tomorrow!
We hadn’t got as much luggage going home, Dad was taking our cases so it was literally just coats, handbags and ourselves. It seemed a little weird heading to the airport with no luggage, there was us and then there were the multi case passengers filling the doorways with luggage. I fell asleep on the cross Pennine journey, not that you could see anything with the darkness beyond the window pretty complete.
I woke when we reached Manchester Victoria then sat in a nervous state the rest of the way out to the airport. Why did they build the station so far from the terminals? We had time but you know what its like, everyone wants to get checked in as soon as possible. I had a panic when I couldn’t find my passport but of course it was hiding in that safe pocket – grrr!
After all the rushing our flight was then delayed – it was annoying but it did give us time to get a burger and fries, we haven’t eaten for hours! Eventually, well about forty minutes late, our flight was called and it felt like we were going home.
It was of course now after ten when we finally cleared customs in Dusseldorf.
“I need some coffee before we set off,” Mum advised.
“Okay,” I agreed.
“There’s a place just along there,” Mand pointed.
“Come on then.”
We walked along to what turned out to be a restaurant.
“Anyone hungry?” Mum enquired.
I didn’t see much after we joined the southbound autobahn an hour or so later, talk about dog-tired.
“Gab love, we’re home,” Mum’s voice broke through my torpor.
“We’re home kiddo.”
I stretched and looked around me, “where’s Mand?”
“Already inside, we left you until we had the place open.”
“Time is it?”
I gathered my stuff then followed Mum into Schloss Bond. I needed no encouragement in heading to my eyrie; I was asleep again almost as my head hit the pillow.
“You look like poop,” Steff observed as I slid into the booth.
“Thank you for pointing that out.”
“Just saying,” she defended her statement.
“Take it you got back late?” Nen suggested.
“After one,” I told them, “the flight was delayed and then we ate before we set off from the airport.”
“The jet setting life,” Brid mentioned.
“Good trip though yeah?” Con queried.
“Different,” I allowed, “How’d the cabin go?”
“We should clear two thousand?” Pia suggested.
It’s Chrimbo week, we only have school until Thursday and I don’t suppose we’ll be doing much anyway. My legs still feel boneless today, I can’t believe I struggled to ride eighty k’s yesterday and that was so embarrassing coming out of Helmsley, I’m glad no one else saw me.
“Oh its you, what’s up?”
“Okay I guess, so?”
“Oh right, er dad wanted to know if your lot want to come for dinner next Sunday.”
“I’ll have to ask when I get home, my Gran’s coming over.” I mentioned.
“That’s cool,” Max allowed.
“You helping take the cabin down later?”
“Yeah, we’re gonna store the stuff in one of our stables.”
“Ready for next time.”
“As long as you girls don’t want to change everything, oh yeah what are we doing with the costumes?”
“Not sure, I’ll ask the others, we should probably wear them when we go to the Kinderhaus on Thursday.”
“You’re probably right, thought I’d seen the last of wearing hose.”
‘Wish I had,’ I mumbled.
“Er nothing, just thinking.”
“Are we wearing the costumes to the Kinderhaus?” I queried as I unpacked my lunch.
“I think we should,” Steff opined.
“We get the boys in hose again!” Brid cackled.
“Don’t be mean,” Pia mentioned, “they’ve been good sports.”
“And we might need their muscles again,” Con suggested.
“Okay!” a chastened Brid allowed.
“So that’s yes then?”
“Agreed,” Nena answered.
“I’ll let the lads know then,” I proposed.
“We’re invited to the Strechau’s on Boxing Day,” I told my parental units.
“You do remember your Gran will be here?”
“She’s invited too,” I advised.
“Well it would save me cooking,” Mum supplied.
“Who cooking?” I seem to recall I’ve got volunteered to cook on Sunday.
“Okay it’ll save you slaving over the stove.”
“So can we go?”
“You seem very keen,” Dad pointed out.
“Well Wilhelm is a good cook.”
“No other reason young lady? A certain young man perhaps?” Mum teased.
“When do you go home?” I asked Mand as we sorted out the weekends washing.
“Thursday, its gonna be a bit weird.”
“You’re gonna miss the presentation at the Kinderhaus.” I told her.
“Bum! Oh well I’m sure you guys can cope without me.”
“Its not fair, you’re missing all the fun.”
“I promised mum I’d go home for Christmas.”
“Still, it won’t be the same without you.”
Maddy Bell 05.03.2016
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