“Well done girl!” a voice broke my musing.
“I er thanks.” It was the armpit that kept dissing me during the race.
“Hans.” He held out a hand.
“Er Gaby.” I told him in my confusion.
“Well timed, you don't look like you've got it in you. You know that foreign kid?”
“Er yeah.” I admitted.
“Could you like introduce us?”
“I guess so.”
Just then half the problem was solved as Josh Waugh joined us.
“Way to go bro!”
“Er thanks. Where'd you get?”
“I scraped third, I think your mate here got second.”
“Oh right, er Hans, this is Josh from England, Josh meet Hans.”
“Can you tell him well done Gaby?”
“Hans says well done and like good ride.” I told Josh.
“The same back I guess.”
“He says well done to you too.”
“Danke.” He grinned and offered Josh his hand.
“He is a good friend eh?”
“He's lucky to have you, I must go, see you about.” With that parting shot he left.
“What was all that about man? And like why've you got girls nails on?”
These flippin' nails!
“I'm not sure about him, the nails are coz I'm playing a girl in this thing at school. So how come you are racing in darkest Germany?”
“Dad's stationed at Burgen, you know on the tanks?”
“So you are living here?”
“For now, I might go back to Newky and stay with Uncle Joe.”
“There you are kiddo!”
“Heya numero uno!”
“Look who's here?” I pointed to my companion.
“Hello Mr Bond.”
“Josh, good to see you, what are you doing here?”
“Me Da is stationed at Burgen so I'm staying for a bit.”
“To be honest, I was just saying to Drew, I'm thinking of going back home coz like I'm out of the loop here, this is the first event I've got into since I arrived a month ago.”
“Can't be having that, you found a team over here?”
“I'm under Army C.C. today.”
“How'd you fancy joining our little team?”
“You mean like Apollinaris?”
“That'd be great but aren't you guys based like miles away?”
“We are but the other team members aren't, talking of which here they come.”
“Well done Gab.” Tali announced.
“Girls, meet your new team mate Josh Waugh.” Dad switched to English to finish the introductions, “Roni Grönberg, Tali Schmidt and Greta Luchow.”
“Er Gooten targ ladies, feck my German is crap.” He was clearly a bit embarrassed by that.
“Hallo Josh, Drew she has been told of you before von England.” Tali's mangled English brought a grin to the Tynesider's face.
The MC did get my name right at the presentation, it was Josh he fowled up, how he got ‘Woof' I've no idea. Hans is apparently the Schleswig-Holstein champion so he's a good scalp to claim.
“Well I'll call you tomorrow evening Josh.”
“Thanks Mr Bond, I'll have the stuff all to hand.”
“Bye Drew, girls!” he waved as he set off to ride the kilometre or so back to the British Army base.
“Wiedersehn!” Greta called back.
“He's a bit of a dish.” Tali noted.
“Right, we'd best get back to the hotel.” Dad suggested.
“Do you mind if we go in here first?” I requested indicating the building across the car park.
“I wondered if you'd realise where we were.” He noted, “Sure, I was going to suggest it but didn't want to force it.”
“What is it?” Bernie asked.
“Bergen Belsen concentration camp.” Roni advised.
“Anyone else want to come?” Dad enquired.
In the end we all went in, it's free of course but we each left a donation in the box inside. The exhibition itself was quite distressing, the ‘park' no less so. The low mounds surrounding the area appeared innocuous until you read the plaques, ‘Here lie 60,000 souls, here lie 100,000 souls', Tali was reduced to tears and I must admit to not being far off myself.
“Come on Kiddo, shower then dinner eh?” Dad grasped my shoulder and walked me back outside.
“Any idea what those cars were parked up for in the tank zone?” I enquired a few minutes later as we headed back down to Celle.
“Didn't notice.” Dad shrugged.
“Something like ‘seven stone houses' on the sign.” I noted.
“Sieben Steinhauser?” Angela piped from behind us.
“Yeah that was it.”
“I got you a hand out thing from the guard house Dave, its some archaeology thing, only open at the weekends apparently.”
“Just my luck.” Dad sighed.
It wasn't far back to Celle, Tali was in with the Luchow's, her train home goes from Celle about seven. The hotel had generously let us leave our stuff there and Dad had arranged for a room so we could shower and change before travelling home.
“So what're you wearing to eat?” Gret enquired.
“Jeans?” I offered.
“Hmm I guess that's okay as long as you wear those sandals and a nice top.”
Well they didn't throw the teddy but I wish they'd go easy on the dress up bit!
In the end I arrived downstairs in the aforementioned sandals, jeans and another borrowed top. It could've been worse I guess, I got away with doing my own makeup – much to the girls amazement, so at least that was quite restrained.
Once we had the cars loaded up we drove into the town proper, to a square surrounded by restaurants that were even open at three on a Sunday afternoon. Dad selected a likely looking establishment and we claimed several tables on the pavement.
It was too late to call it lunch, too early for dinner but we were all ready for a decent feed. Angela went inside and confirmed we could get proper food, thankfully the answer was positive.
“Anything on the lunch menu and there's stuff on the specials board too.” She advised.
A waiter was soon in attendance and leaving us to peruse the menu went to fetch our drinks order.
“So what do you think of our new recruit?” Dad asked.
“Well cool.” I enthused.
“Quite a hunk.” Tali voiced again.
“You've a one track mind Thalia Schmidt!” Roni chided.
“I take it you know the lad Dave?” Dieter enquired.
“Yes, he raced at the highest level in England and was on the development squad.”
“So a good palmares.”
“He doesn't place much but he's a good team rider, I think he'll do better in a good team.”
“Hmm, yes. I take it he'll be on my roster?”
“For now I think so but maybe he'll join Roni in the summer when Drew's away.”
“Yes.” Dieter mused.
Our drinks arrived and the waiter guy took our order. This is one bit of racing I really enjoy – the post event feast! The waiter gave me an odd look when I ordered the liver special, not sure why its special, it just says its served with potatoes and Erbsen mit karotten, pretty standard fare.
The others went for more standard fare, schnitzel, steak and so on, boring load of farts!
“So what happened to you guys?”
I'd not heard about the girl's race what with one thing and another, well I know Tali took the girls prize of course.
“After you took off it was mayhem.” Roni stated.
“Yeah, no one wanted to work, not that we were gonna chase you too hard but like it was ridiculous.” Gret agreed.
“By the time there was a big enough group you lot were gone” Tali continued.
“Yeah we were holding a good pace, up to fifty in places.”
“Told ya.” Gret mentioned to Roni.
“Anyway,” Tali went on, “we stuck it for a lap then a bunch of us upped the pace, we thought we were catching you guys but it was just the ones you blew out.”
“Interesting course.” I noted.
“That hill's not even that big.” Roni mentioned.
“Must be because it's so flat for the rest of the circuit.” Gret suggested.
“I wouldn't call it flat.” I replied.
“Okay, rolling then.” Gret allowed.
The food's arrival ended the discussion, my liver was huge! Pan-fried with caramelised onions a huge pile of sautéed taters plus the peas and carrots with thick gravy. Even my eyes bugged out!
“You gonna be okay?” Dad checked with Tali for the umpteenth time.
“Yes, I told you so before, I can get the five o'clock and change at Uelzen, I'll be home well before you guys.”
“Call when you get there okay?”
“Sure, now go.”
Dad climbed back in the car.
“Okay, next stop Mettmann!”
“I hope there's a toilet stop before then.” Bern stated.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 12.10.09 © 2009