Christmas Calamity Part 1

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*Part 1*

“What do you mean you can’t get anyone out for three days?”
“Its Christmas and the weekend, what can I say,” Bill sighed.
“Grrr, so we’re stuck here in back of beyond until Saturday?”
“I’ve already spoken with the hotel, they’re alright you staying but their chef has already left for the holidays so you’ll need to sort out feeding everyone.”
“Joy, can you let Jules know, we’re supposed to be going to her parents on Boxing Day.”
“Will do, speak to you later.”
“Yeah,” I agreed before breaking the connection.
Of course it might not have been so bad if Bill hadn’t convinced Chris to reprise Nena the Elf again and the easiest way of doing that was to be Nena for the whole trip. Jules of course had thought it was a hoot so not only was his hair Nena trademark blonde but it was cut into the cutest, girliest do that his collar length hair would take – he’d need a number one to stand any chance of looking like himself again any time soon.
And now, now the bus was kaput, going nowhere, a broken drive shaft effectively marooning them and of course their passengers in the sleepy town of Ahrweiler a few miles west of the Rhein.
“So?” Den enquired.
“Bugger, so what’s the plan?”
“The hotel’s officially shut, the chef and so on have departed for the holidays but Bill’s sorted us staying on but it’s gonna be self catering.”
“Best break it to the punters.”
“Yeah, sorry folks Christmas is cancelled, its crisps and soft drinks for three days.”


“What you up to Gab?”
“Just popping round to Con’s for a bit.”
“Back for six, your Gran’ll be here,” Mum mentioned.
Gab dragged the Schauff out of the garage, it was dry but cold, snow was forecast but not until Friday. It’s not far to Thesing’s of course but why walk when you can ride? She dumped her bag in the basket, pulled her head warmer down and set off for the two-minute ride.
“Shoulda put your ski jacket on,” Con suggested leading the way up to the apartment.
“Didn’t look too bad.”
“Yeah, chocolate?”
“You bet!” the tiny teen agreed.

“Well that went better than I expected,” Den noted.
“No kidding, I was expecting histrionics.”
“Guess we need to sort out feeding them then, I’ll try the other hotels if you can try the restaurants Nen.”
“We could cook,” the girl suggested.
“I can burn water and where exactly do we get the food?”
Thirty minutes later and things were starting to look a bit dire, of the hotels two were booked out and the others closed and the restaurants – well its Christmas and cooking for forty extra mouths wasn’t going to happen. Not only that but Christmas Eve in Germany has the shops closing early too, those crisps were starting to look like an option.
“Guess we’ll have to try further afield,” Nena suggested.
“We might be able to wangle a car to fetch stuff I guess,” Den proposed, “I’ll try Remagen if you want to do further up the valley.”
“Lets get to it then,” Santa’s helper prompted.

Brrrrng, Brrrrng! Brrrrng, Brrrrng!
“Can you get that Connie luv,” Therese Thesing asked her offspring.
“Sure, abend Thesing…oh hi Pia…nothing much, Gab’s here stuffing Stollen…yeah…Saturday? I’ll ask her,” she covered the mouthpiece, “P want’s to know if you want to go to Bonn Saturday, her Dad’s volunteered to drive.”
“I think so, have to check though with my Oma here.”
“She says yes,” Con told our friend, “yeah okay, Fröhes Weihnacht.”
“Fröhes Weihnacht!” Gab called out.
“Who was it?” Frau Thesing enquired from the kitchen.
“Only Pia.”

“Any luck?” Nena enquired of Dennis.
“Nope, same story everywhere, either closed for Christmas or booked out.”
“Running out of options up the valley too, might have to head to Maccy D’s.”
Den shuddered, “McDonalds for Christmas, there must be somewhere can help.”
“Danke, its worth a try,” Nena sighed as the owner of the Schloss restaurant finished explaining how he’d love to help out but didn’t actually have any supplies, they only use fresh bought each day.
“Another rejection?”
“Very apologetic but yeah - although he did suggest trying the Weinstube in Rech.”
“Its worth a try I guess.”
The phone was answered and she told the story for the twentieth time.
“Hmm,” Herr Sebenschuh allowed, “give me your number, I’ll make a couple of calls, I’m sure we can sort something out.”
“Thank you so much,” Nena gushed before relaying the number.
“Give me fifteen minutes, tschuss.”
“So?” Den enquired.
“I think we’re on, he’s gonna ring back in a few minutes.”

“I’ll ask them Helmut, hang on.”
Tomas went out into the apartment to find his daughters, both actual and adopted.
“You girls fancy earning a few euros?”
“Always,” Con replied.
“Sure,” Gaby agreed.
“Helm? Got two volunteers here…okay, see you later, tschuss.”
“What’s up love?” Therese enquired from the kitchen where Weihnachts dinner was coming along nicely.
“That was Helmut,” Tomas told the assembled females.
“I got that, what have the girls volunteered for?”
“If you’d let me finish, apparently a Reisebusse has broken down in Ahrweiler, they are stranded for a couple of days and need feeding. Helmut has food but needs extra hands.”
“Waitressing?” Con proposed.
“That sort of thing,” Tomas agreed, “he’ll pick you up at five to take you down.”
Sugar! I’m supposed to be home to meet Gran at six!

Nena put the phone down, “yes!”
“And there’s me looking forward to a Big Mac®. So what’s the score?”
“He’ll come down about five thirty, dinner at six.”
“In that case I’ll let the punters know the score, they can have a couple of hours around the town, I’m sure there’ll be a bar or two open.”
“I’ll see if I can find a bank.”

“You’re back early spud,” Dad observed as I rushed in.
“Er yeah, where’s Mum?”
“Gone to fetch your Gran with your sister.”
“What’s up kiddo?”
“Erm, I’ve got a job.”
“This evening, Pia’s dad needs some bodies for a couple of hours.”
“And you volunteered I’m guessing, what about dinner?”
“I should be back before then.”
“I was meaning cooking it? You’re mother has put the meat on, you were supposed to do the roasts and veg.” He pointed out.
“If you can get them out while I change I’ll do them before I go.”
“What time does Helmut want you?”
“He’s picking us up at half five.”
Dave looked at the clock.
“Get on with you, I’ll do them or you’ll never get there.”
“Thanks Dad,” Gaby enthused before bussing him on the cheek and scrambling upstairs.

Most of Ahrweiler was shut for Christmas but Nena found one of the budget supermarkets still open. Whilst the hotel was accommodating them for the extra nights there was no one to man (or woman) the Stube so she filled a trolley with assorted bottles of beverage alongside some other stuff to make the next couple of days a bit more palatable for all the castaways. With no transport it was a long trek back to the hotel pushing a heavy shopping trolley, where’s Den when you need him?
“She’s here now,” Den mentioned, “Bill,” he whispered passing the handset to me.
“Wotcha boss.”
“Den says you’ve got everything under control?”
“Well they won’t starve at least. I’ve just fetched some booze so that should cheer them up.”
“I was just telling Den, Mike’s gonna bring fifty three out to you, should be with you lunchtime Saturday.”
“He paddling the boat himself?”
“I had to put him on Hull Zeebrugge, everything out of Dover is booked out what with the issues with the tunnel.”
“Oh you probably haven’t heard, they’ve closed it again, bunch of immigrants broke in this morning, hit by a Eurostar, five dead and several injured.”
“Bugger, so we coming back Zeebrugge?”
“Dunker Queue, seven o’clock boat.”
“Well at least we won’t be chasing across Belgium.”
“Look, gotta go, the missus is looking at me daggers, we’re going to her mothers for dinner.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Happy Christmas.”
“And to you.”

Why the girls had dirndls would take too long to tell, in fact Gab owned more than one but they’d agreed it would be a sort of festive thing to wear them for the evenings waitressing. She’d be dropped off at home later so the youngest of the Bond clan pulled her ski jacket on for the walk around to the bakery. There was certainly a chill to the air, if the snow holds off until Saturday it’ll be a miracle.
“You look nice Gaby,” Frau Thesing noted.
“Thanks, I always feel a bit of a fraud wearing one of these.”
“Well I’m not even German for starters.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Tomas supplied joining us from the bakery ‘kitchen’ with a tray of comestibles. “You speak deutsche better than the locals, you are part of local ‘society’, you do German exceedingly well for someone who claims not to be German.”
Part of local Society, not sure that’s a positive. Just because I’ve been to a couple of fancy weddings, am friends with Max and spent a year as Weinkönigin doesn’t make me a toff. Lets face it, the Bond family is pretty ordinary, two working parents, we didn’t even have a family holiday this year.
“Connie!” her dad yelled upstairs, “get yourself down here.”
Right on cue the rattly roar of the Sebenschuh Weinstube minibus reached our ears as Helmut and Pia arrived.
“Helmut,” the two men shook hands.
“Thanks for joining me in this.”
“What are friends for eh? If you tell them I’ll be down with this pair and frühstuck at eight in the morning.”
“Will do, what have you there?”
“Thought some strudel would go down well eh?”
“Spot on I think.” 
Maddy Bell 25.12.15

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