I started to push my now incompetent means of transport along the path; at least there was a path. In the distance the down train sounded it's horn, I'm gonna have a long wait when I do get to the station, which is also the site nearest public phone. It was quickly turning dark, a bit earlier than usual then the reason became apparent as it started to rain, a few spots at first then escalating quickly into a downpour.
By the time I got my jacket on I was already like a Rattus Drownificus, drowned rat that is! Shitza. I trudged on starting to feel quite sorry for myself and after about fifteen minutes I finally reached the edge of Ahrbruck and the Bushaltestelle with its vaguely welcoming offer of shelter. I parked the Schauff at one end and slumped dejectedly onto the bench beneath the intermittent light of the single fluorescent tube.
I miserably surveyed the skies and the occasional car splashing along the road. I'll give it five minutes then I'll push (huh!) on to the Bahnhof, maybe the rain will ease off.
So of course the precipitation got even heavier and the light level dropped to almost dark. Bum! I'll have to get a move on if I'm gonna get there for the next train. I hadn't gone more than fifty metres before I received the final indignity, a drenching from a passing four-wheel drive. Now what? It screeched to a halt and reversed back towards me, shitza, now what do I do?
“Sorry Fraulein, didn't see you.”
“Hey, its Drew!” a voice I recognised joined the drivers.
“What's up? You okay?”
“Puncture and apart from wet I'm fine.” Ish.
“You want a lift?” the driver enquired.
“Course she does Dad, I'll get the bike.”
“You'd best get in Drew.” Herr Preiser instructed.
To be honest, at this stage I didn't need a second invite. Martin took charge of my bike and I gratefully climbed into the huge old G Wagon. I was still trying to find the seatbelt when the back door slammed shut and seconds later a bedraggled Martin climbed in.
“So, where to?” Herr Preiser enquired.
“I was heading to the railway station? I can get the next train back home in like half an hour.”
“Don't be daft girl, where do you live?”
“Dernau Dad.” Mart advised.
“Its miles out of your way, just drop me at the station.” I added.
“It won't take long, we'll have you home before the train even gets here, can't have a pretty thing like you catching her death.”
He revved the engine and we set off.
“What happened to the others?” Martin asked.
“I er sent them on ahead, but I had a second puncture.”
Preiser senior whacked the heater on and I shivered a little as the warm air hit my wet legs. I gently shivered as we sped down the valley past the train terminus.
‘I hope Drew gets here soon, he shoulda been here ages ago.' Connie hugged her knees and contemplated the wet beyond the shelter on Ahrbruck Gleis 1.
“The first house on the left.” I advised my saviours.
The drive had only taken thirty minutes – not enough to dry out but I was at least warm. We pulled up and Martin jumped out to get my steed from the back.
“Thanks Herr Preiser, its much appreciated.”
“No problem Drew, we'll see you at the party then.”
“I guess, g'night.”
I climbed down and recovered my bike from Martin.
“No sweat, say hi to Bernie for me.”
“See you in the week, bye.”
He clambered into the car and the Preiser's headed off belatedly towards their farm up in the hills.
“I didn't think you'd be back for another half an hour.” Mum stated as I sogged into the kitchen.
“I got a lift from Martin and his Dad.”
“I hope you thanked them?”
“Well duh! Course I did.” I relieved myself of the Gore-Tex ® and sank into a chair to take off my squelchy footwear.
“Didn't think the train was due yet?” Bern stated joining us.
“I got a lift.”
“She was waiting for you at the station, you didn't see her?”
Just then the phone went.
“Yes…no he's here…a lift…stay there, we'll fetch you…half an hour, tschuss.” Mum ended the call.
“Yup, you change now, we're going to fetch her.”
“Yes Mum.” I sighed.
I shot upstairs and peeled off my sopping jeans and top and quickly towelled off. Hmm, clothes – socks, jumper, where are my other jeans?
“Coming.” I grabbed the denim from the top of the pile of newly washed stuff on my chair. Sugar!
“And do something with that hair.”
“Yes Mum.” It's not my fault! It looked like my jeans, it was denim! I didn't mean to put on a miniskirt – like I would! I tugged at my messy locks, about all I could do really was put it into a messy braid.
“Its a good job we have the bus, and why didn't you have your phone with you? Didn't you think anyone would wait for you?”
Geez she was really getting on my case tonight.
“And I've got to drive to Arnhem in the morning…”
I tuned out and tried to make my skirt reach my socks with little success.
“See you tomorrow Gabs.”
“Yeah, nite Con.”
I climbed back into the bus and Mum set off for Bond Acres. Eight a flippin clock. At least Dad and Bern had dinner ready when we got back and boy was I ready for it, I've only had a bit of strudel and some snacks since breakfast.
“Duh dup, duh dup, duh dup.” My hand slapped the alarm off and I cracked an eye to look at the time, six thirty, urgh.
“You getting out of that nest young man?” Dad yelled up to my eyrie.
Why the hell am I getting up at this hour? Oh right, Brohltal.
I looked in the mirror and for the umpteenth time checked my makeup. I looked a bit weird, all done up like a dogs dinner but wearing cargo's and an oversize shirt. I was not looking forward to this morning; I get to sit on the back of a farm trailer for a couple of hours, waving and grinning at the burghers of Brohl. Even though we are only guests the Weinkönigin and her retinue have to be tarted up and if you like looking like the dress fairy got the patterns mixed up you're welcome to the satin nightmares we'll be wearing. I am not wearing that any longer than I have to!
“Ana, can you pin this sash in place for me?”
“Just a minute Gabs, I'm glad I'm not walking far in these sandals.”
You can say that again. The Weinkönigin committee generously supplied not only our Karneval frocks but our footwear too; I reckon they were on sale in Deichmann's! I guess I shouldn't be ungrateful, they saved me having to buy more girl shoes and the dresses could have been worse, like pink, royal blue is kinda restrained I suppose.
Herr Sebenschuh came to check on us.
“You girls okay, the parade'll start in a few minutes.”
“So its up to Burg on here then back down on the train?” Connie checked.
“Yes, lets hope the weather holds.”
Yeah, I could do without another soaking. After last nights downpour this morning had at least started out dry and bright although the forecast was hinting at showers later. With any luck the bit of breeze will keep it dry for this afternoons racing which is on a short circuit around Niederlützingen above Brohl itself.
“Break a leg Gabs!” Bernie yelled over, I gave a quick wave back as our tractor lurched forward.
“Geez!” now I knew why we had makeshift seatbelts strapping us to the already uncomfortable thrones.
The crowds were out and determined to enjoy the parade made up of the local ‘glee' clubs, youth groups and anyone else who wanted to enter a float. The Brohltal Königin led the parade riding in relative comfort on the back of an old truck. Then came the visitors, ourselves and the current incumbents of the Karneval Queen title from Bad Breisig, Andernach, Sinzig and Remagen. Following behind us were the twenty or so decorated trailers, cars and trucks that formed the bulk of the parade interspersed by an Oompah band, the local marching band from the school in Sinzig, the THW and Fire brigade.
It wasn't really so bad except we couldn't do much in the comfort stakes and Analise was right, the sandals were murder, even being just sat the straps were uncomfortable and after an hour I was loosing feeling below the waist! We chugged slowly up the road, it was only eight kilometres or so but it was eleven thirty when we reached the station at Burg Brohl.
“Whoa, I feel sea sick.” Connie announced as she was helped to solid ground.
“My feet are killing me.” I moaned as I tried to rub some life back into them.
The weather had at least stayed dry. So okay it had clouded over but so far at least, the promised showers hadn't appeared. We made our way up to the huffing steam train and soon found ourselves inside one of the pre-war carriages with their, joy, wooden slat seats. At least our tormentors with the frocks hadn't added crinolines to our misery; even this hard seating was better than our trailer mounted perches.
I'd survived my first Spring Karneval; the bad news is that we're scheduled to take part in about ten more! The train deposited us back down in Brohl and after a quick raid of the buffet we were free to enjoy the rest of the day's frivolities. For me that means a change of persona for the bike racing, first job of course is to lose the dreaded satin frock.
“Hi Roni, Kat.”
“You see the parade?” Roni enquired.
“A bit.” I allowed.
“Some of those carnival queens are quite pretty.”
“I guess.” I shot Kat a look, she was close to bursting.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 15.06.09 © 2009