Skirting The Issue
We haven't even got to Cottbus yet and I've got the squiggles. Ever tried sitting in a car wearing a short, I mean really short skirt? Let me offer a word of advice – don't, don't even think about it unless your idea of comfort involves sitting on a lumpy hem. It's not like the leggings offered much padding, in reality they were pretty much like thick tights, not even fully opaque! I eased the offending hem out from under me, which actually allowed a bit more slack at the front where crotch exposure, well in theory at least, was a real possibility!
“Left or right?” Dad enquired.
“Left I think, no straight on.”
“Yup, then right at the end.”
“If you say so.” to be fair, it was rare for Drew to get it wrong.
The girls tuckered me good and proper. Once it was decided I would wear the skirt my fate was sealed, Roni didn't even mention my wearing of a bra - I guess I have some explaining to do on the way home. So if I was going to be wearing the skirt and leggings I ‘had' to wear Roni's matching pink boat neck top which in turn meant my own sports bra ‘had' to be swapped for one of Bernie's more um decorative affairs which I was not happy to discover I filled rather too well. I did escape with my trainers, after all Air Rifts â are worn by both sexes.
“Cottbus Flughafen Museum.” I read off the sign.
“Fancy a look?” Dad offered, “girls? We won‘t be stopping much after we leave the Luchow‘s.”
“Put like that, why not.” Ron agreed.
“Sure.” I allowed.
We pulled into the car park and decamped from the Saab. Whilst the place was open the cash desk wasn't manned, a board told us to pay in the exhibition hall.
“We can have a look on the way up to the office.” Dad instructed us.
There's one universal rule for airfields, well two I guess, they are generally pretty flat and there always seems to be a gale blowing across them! Cottbus was no exception and whilst the aircraft nearer to the car park were fairly sheltered the nearer we got to the airfield proper the stronger the wind got. Despite the blue skies this meant that we were subjected to a chill wind which wouldn't have bothered me earlier but dressed as I am now, brrrr! The planes were a mixed bunch of military stuff, mostly dating from the Communist period, MiG jets, turbo props and an impressive collection of helicopters.
When we reached the exhibition entrance, housed in the old barracks building, I for one was glad to get out of the wind. I'm not really into this stuff but it was quite good, not on the scale of somewhere like Duxford of course but pretty interesting none the less. Dad as usual was engrossed, me Bern and Ron were round pretty quick so we went outside to wait for our chauffeur.
"So what did your dad mean earlier?"
"Back at the Knidle , he said something about the outfit not being your usual style."
Course he did, he's Dad after all!
"Well I don't usually dress like this do I?"
Bernie stifled a giggle.
"Come on guys, spill." Roni begged.
"They all think I'm a girl at school." I sighed, there was no point in hanging it out.
"Where would they get that idea?"
Bern was being no help, giggling away like a schoolgirl.
"They kinda just assumed I guess."
"Why? Were you wearing a dress?"
I started to colour up.
"You did!" Roni exclaimed.
"I didn't, I mean I wasn't."
"That time." Bern mumbled.
"You do make quite a good girl I guess." Roni noted giving me the once over.
"She's the spit of her cousin back in England." Bern offered.
"I don't look anything like Mad."
Bernie squinted at me, "you're right, you're prettier."
This set Roni off with the giggles.
"There you are, you looked 'round the rest?" Dad enquired joining us.
"We've been talking Herr Bond, girl stuff." Roni told him.
"Anyone fancy a quick squint?" he went on without demur.
"Yeah, why not." I offered.
What was I saying about airfields earlier? About the wind? Well once we were clear of the little bit of cover offered by the trees around the airfield it whipped not just my hair about but I found myself girlishly trying to hold my skirt down against the invisible pervert! I traipsed around behind Dad who oohed and aahed over the remaining exhibits oblivious to my plight. The others had taken a rain check; I think Bern was filling my teammate in on my double life.
“Enough everyone?” Dad enquired when we rejoined the girls.
“Sure.” Roni allowed.
“Well let's get on to the Luchow‘s then.”
We headed back to the car and remounted our trusty steed.
“Left I take it?” Dad asked as we returned to the road.
“Yeah then along to the end.”
“Right.” Dad noted.
“No left!” the girls chorused from the back seat.
The drive to our next stop took barely five minutes even with a slight detour due to road works on the ring road.
“Hi guys.” Gret enthused joining us in the parkplatz.
“Why are you wearing that getup Drew?” Tali enquired. “Not that it doesn't suit you.”
“I'm sure Bern and Ron will delight in filling you in.” I sighed.
“Give us a hand Gab's.” Dad requested.
The Luchow‘s, well Frau Luchow supplied us with some brötchen and fruit for the journey and after an all too brief stop we were back on the road, at least ten hours drive in front of us.
“So like the village made you the Weinkönigin?” Roni pressed somewhere near Magdeburg and several hours later.
“I didn't even know I was entered.” I insisted.
“I wish we had stuff like that in Mettmann.” Roni let out a deep sigh.
“It's not like I wanted to get the job.”
“But it's well cool.”
“Yeah, don't knock it Gabs, look at all the stuff you get to do.” Bern put in.
“Like getting my feet stepped on by the mayor and visiting the crinklies at Christmas.”
“I bet you look cute in your Dirndl.” Roni mentioned.
“She does.” Dad dropped into the conversation.
“Daa-aad!” I complained.
“Well you do, quite the archetypal German mädchen.”
“I never wore one but even if its not fashion I like to see them worn.”
“I think I'd prefer lederhosen.”
“Now that is like soo gay!” Roni exclaimed. “Grown men in those leather shorts and all that bum slapping.”
“Yeah well that is a bit much,” I agreed, “what I meant though was that it'd be more appropriate for me to be wearing that than a dress.”
This conversation was bringing up issues I was trying to keep on the back burner.
“Toilets in five.” Dad stated.
We skirted Hannover around four o'clock and covered the 250km to Roni's pad in just under three hours including a stop at Gütersloh for petrol and a bite to eat, Frau Luchow‘s picnic having long since been consumed. Of course you can't stop at the Grönberg's without Angela feeding you so it was turned eight when we started the last leg of our journey home.
“Wake up kiddo, we're home.” Dad's voice cut through my woolly head.
“Hmmm? Oh right.” I stretched and yawned loudly.
“Shush, you'll wake Bernie.” Dad hissed.
I looked into the back of the car, Bern was curled up like a cat on the back seat, a blanket tucked round her, snoring lightly with a grin on her face.
I climbed carefully out of the car and joined Dad who was unstrapping my bike.
“We leaving her here?”
“For a bit, at least until we're unloaded, here, put your bike in the workshop.”
I took my steed and headed into the garage.
“WHAAA!!!” the combined screech was enough to wake the dead.
The light flicked on.
“Gabs? What are you creeping around for, I thought we'd got bunglers.”
“I wasn't creeping and why didn't you put the light on first?”
“I wanted to catch whoever it was and give ‘em what for.” She hefted my old cricket bat.
“Didn't you hear us pull up?”
“I was watching telly, where's your Dad and Bernie?”
“Bern's asleep in the car and Dad's unloading.”
“I'll go stick the kettle on.”
Mum retreated back upstairs; I shook my head, whatever!
“So what was all the screaming about?” Dad enquired when I returned to fetch our luggage indoors.
“Mum thought I was a burglar.”
“You're too pretty.” His face dropped, “oh sod, look sorry kiddo, I didn't mean…”
I cut him off and pulled him into a hug, “I know Dad.” I held him tightly as the tears started to flow down my cheeks, ‘I know'.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 28.05.09 © 2009