TG Universes & Series:
“Ja, call me Helmut please, Nena yes?”
“Yes, you really are a lifesaver, Helmut, thank you so much for this.”
“Pleased to help, let’s get the food inside.”
Nena followed out to the van where a trio of teenage girls were unstacking boxes in the back of the elderly minibus.
“Girls, this is Nena the Reisemeisterin.”
“Hi!” the trio chorused.
“The one in the bus ist mein Töchter Pia und dieser ist ihr freund Connie und Gaby,” Helmut indicated each one in turn.”
“Nice to meet you all, thanks so much for helping.”
“Thank us afterwards,” the tiny blonde suggested.
The food was quickly taken inside and through to the kitchen.
“I’m afraid its nothing fancy, Grießklößchen suppe to start, Wiener schnitzel, Rotkohl und croquettes for main with strudel for dessert, I’m guessing you have access to Getränke?”
They’d moved into the dining room, a typical semi rustic décor, hunting paraphernalia mixed with some farming equipment – well what would you expect in the Hotel Grüner Jäger?
“It all sounds good to me,” Nena grinned, “we can do coffee and I bought beer and wine so I think we’re covered.”
Helmut’s face sank, “You have shop wine?”
“Er yes, what’s wrong?”
“We can’t have that, let’s get the girls organised and we’ll sort it out.”
“Get the fryers on Pia, Gab, Connie if you can make a start on the tables, how many have we?”
“With Dennis and myself forty?”
“So I think four tables, you will eat with the passengers?”
“Sure,” Nena agreed.
“Let’s shuffle some furniture then.”
“I’ll get Den.”
“She’s got a funny accent,” Pia observed after Nena and her father left the kitchen.
“And an apple,” Con mentioned.
“Eh?” Gab queried.
“You know, Adamsapfel,” she pointed to her throat.
“I didn’t notice, so she’s a he?”
“Well I don’t know any madchen with the apple,” Con pointed out.
“Cute haircut,” Pia offered as she checked the oil level in the fryers.
“You girls okay?” Helmut asked a few minutes later.
“Sure, what’s up?”
“I need to pop back home, I’ll be thirty minutes so put the soup on, bread in baskets on the tables, Pia you know the routine.”
“Okay, I’ll be as quick as possible.”
“Seems a nice chap,” Den mentioned as he helped his colleague in the present wrapping marathon.
“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting him to bring help, I thought we’d be serving.”
“At least the punters are saved that,” Den chortled.
They were running slightly late but timetable hadn’t allowed for Helmut’s dash back to Rech.
“As we will be,” Gaby stated.
“Pia, drinks orders, you pair start on the soup then help Pia with the drinks, let’s go!”
The stranded tourists were a little taken aback when three pretty girls in traditional costume emerged from the kitchen. Clearly these weren’t the regular staff, they’d worn plain black tops and trousers – practical but in no way nice. With the lights down and seasonal music in the background the three smiling girls lit the room up with their colourful outfits and carefully braided and coifed hair.
It made sense for Connie to carry the tray of ready filled soup bowls out to the diners, Gaby then delivering them to table. Pia meanwhile started on the drinks orders, a limited choice of cola, lemonade, beer or red wine, her father moving to act as barman after the soup was all decanted. Pia wasn’t great at English, Herr Viessner despaired at some of her pronunciations, but she managed to make herself understood.
It didn’t occur to anyone until much later that Gaby should’ve been tasked with the job – after all she had the most experience with the language! The girls were actually enjoying themselves and the diners were soon laughing and cracking jokes.
“This is better than we’ve had the rest of the week,” Den noted as he mopped the remains of his Grießklößchen up with yet another piece of fresh bread.
“Guess you get what you pay for,” Nena allowed.
“Not only that but we get to have a drink, this red is excellent.”
“Helmut fetched it, wouldn’t let us use the stuff I bought.”
“Oh, er yes thank you, Gaby.”
“They speak very good English,” Den noted.
“Can’t imagine kids in say Harrogate speaking German as well,” Nena stated.
The Wiener sauce was happily bubbling away, Rotkohl simmering beside it, only the croquettes and schnitzel needed flashing to be ready to serve.
“How we doing, girls?” Helmut asked as his helpers returned to the kitchen with more dirty dishes.
“Just a couple left, Papa, a few empty glasses,” Pia reported.
“Fine, food first then refills.”
The first fryer dinged announcing the first batch of schnitzel was ready.
“Okay, Connie if you clear the last suppe please.”
“Sure,” she agreed heading out to the dining room.
“Right, Pia, you do the kohl and sauce, Gab if you can serve to table.”
Gaby readied herself with a cloth; the plates would be hot having been warming for nearly an hour. Helmut started the line with the croquettes and schnitzel, Pia adding cabbage and sauce in a fashion that didn’t say dumped on the plate. There was nearly a disaster with Con nearly colliding with the first plates as she returned with the last soup bowls, only Gab’s quick reactions saving the accident.
“Oops!” Con mentioned.
“Next time,” Gab offered.
“More speed, less haste,” Helmut suggested.
“Uh huh,” Con agreed.
“Last plates!” Helmut announced.
“Thought we weren’t ever getting there,” his daughter stated.
It had seemed never ending to Gabs too, twenty laps, the next plates waiting by the time she returned to the kitchen.
“Glad that’s over,” she sighed as Con took the last delivery out.
“Not yet,” Pia noted, “refills.”
“I’ll get the vanilla sauce started,” Helmut added.
It was another fifteen minutes before the girls had a chance to catch their breath with a glass of Sprite® but it was only a brief respite before the main course clear up began.
“Dunno where you found them, Nena,” Jake Brown mentioned, “but the girls and the food are excellent.”
“Better than me cooking,” his wife Mary added.
Nena just smiled, it had been a fraught morning and Sebenschuh had been Hobson’s Choice , despite that it had certainly turned out really well.
The strudel was a simpler job for plating up, Helmut had half of it done before the main course clear up began leaving just the sauce to add on the way to table. Not much food returned to the kitchen, which after thirty years in the trade Helmut was gratified to see, there’s usually ten percent waste but a couple of spoons of Rotkohl and a few bits of schnitzel was exceptional.
“You want to do the coffee, Gaby?”
“’Kay,” the wunderkind agreed.
“Last round, let’s go!” Helmut enthused.
“If you can put the glasses and coffee stuff in the washer when you wrap up.”
“Sure, thank you so much for the meal and if you can thank the girls too.” Nena replied, “The dirndls and their enthusiasm really cheered everyone up.”
“Of course, I’ll be down about eight with frühstuck.”
“Brilliant,” Nena smiled in reply.
“You got anything organised for tomorrow?” Helmut queried.
“To be honest I hadn’t thought much past getting some food organised,” the blonde admitted.
“I have an idea if you like.”
“Well I could ferry you all up to the Stube, have a bit of a party, nice dinner later then get you back here afterwards.”
“That’s very generous of you Helmut, can I confirm later but that would be brilliant.”
“You have my number, I’d best get these girls back to their families, it is Weihnachts after all, Frohes Weihnachts!”
“That sounds like her now,” Jen opined hearing the kitchen door clunk shut.
There was a short delay and then a blur of colour launched itself into the lounge.
“Whoa! Calm down, Gab, you’ll knock your gran over,” Dave opined.
Josie held her youngest grandchild at arms length. Gone was any semblance to the uncertain tomboyish child she’d last seen back in the summer, no this was a girl child and no doubt about it from the German dress to the happy smiling face.
“Gis a hug.”
Gaby didn’t waste any time in wrapping her self around the family matriarch.
“I’ve missed you, Gran.”
“And me you.”
“Can we eat now?” Jules interjected.
“Helmut? It’s Nena Ziegler from Global?”
“Sorry to disturb your evening, if the offer is still on we’d quite like to take up your offer.”
“Fine, I’ll get things rolling, we’ll talk details in the morning.”
“Brilliant! Thank you again for all this, enjoy the rest of the evening.”
“And you, tschuss.”
“You look like the cat with the cream,” Den offered when Nena returned from reception.
“It won’t be a turkey dinner but there will be Christmas for these folks.”
“In that case I’ll have another glass of red.”
The Bond’s, after the delayed start to proceedings, enjoyed a very traditional Weihnachts meal – traditional German that is. No turkey, no pigs, no heavy pudding, for the families third German Christmas they’d gone native big style at least as far as the food went, the exchange of presents would still be the following morning. They were just assembling to walk round to midnight mass when Dave’s mobile started trilling.
“Bond, oh hi, Helmut… just off to mass…oh that’s alright…tomorrow morning?…ten o’clock, should be fine…I’m sure she will, hang on.”
Covering the phone he looked about for his youngest, “Gab? You want to work tomorrow?”
“After your presents, Helmut’s entertaining your coach people up at the Stube.”
“I suppose so.”
“Yes or no,” Dave pressed.
“Yes, I’ll do it.”
“She says yes Helmut,” Dave told the caller. “The Grüner Jäger at ten…see you then…I’ll tell them…Fröhes Weihnachts.”
“Everything okay, Dave?” Jenny queried.
“Sure, I’ll tell you later, come on guys let’s sing some carols.”
Maddy Bell 26.12.15
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