Night of the Realm
“How did you manage that?” Sophia asked, arriving at our table as my dance partner left.
“Dance with Prince William of course!”
“I know his girl friend?”
“Every girl in the room has been trying to snag him and you get him for two dances.” She sighed.
“It's not like I asked him.” I pointed out.
“That's even worse; just wait until I tell Maria von Trapp.”
You don't catch me twice.
“ The Maria von Trapp?”
“Well obviously not that one dippy, but she is related.”
“Come on Gab, my ears are going numb.” Max stood, hauling me to my feet at the same time.”
“What was all that about?” I asked once we were on the dance floor.
“She is such a gossip, ‘wait till I tell Maria'.” He mimicked.
“Well I dare say you'd be telling your mates if you were in her place – Max, you cannot tell anyone about tonight!”
“Why not? I mean it's not like there's anyone to tell – oh I get it, the rest of the Ahr Angels don't know do they.”
“Ahr Angels?” I enquired.
“Er, um, it's like what everyone calls you guys.”
“Well ah - um you know like the guys at school.”
My flow was interrupted as I collided with another dancer.
“Oops sorry Gaby, I'm sure this klutz does it on purpose.” Kate apologised.
“I'm cut to the quick my love! Sorry Gabs, I just seem to keep bumping into beautiful women.” William added.
I turned a colour that clashed sharply with my dress.
“Give over Will, the poor girl's about to burst.”
“Till we meet again fair maiden.”
“I reckon he fancies you.” Max suggested.
“Don't be daft, he's just having a bit of fun, you know, joking?”
“If you say so.”
“I need a drink.” I stated before the conversation got any further.
The newlyweds left the festivities about 23.00 and our party weren't far behind, several minibuses awaited passengers and I have to admit I was not the only one to catch a few z's on the ride back to Augsburg. I was absolutely bushed by the time I got to ‘my' room, I kicked my foot torture devices off and with a bit of wriggling the dress went too. The corset however was another matter – Heidi had made a rather better job of locking me into it than the ladies in Ahrweiler last Saturday, there was just no way for me to get out unassisted.
“You look awful.” Sophia mentioned when I emerged from the bathroom.
“I feel awful.”
“You slept in the corset?”
“I couldn't undo it and there wasn't like anyone about to help.”
“Turn around.” She commanded. “Hmm, I see, the dresser has done a double knot so it doesn't loosen…hang on a mo….there!”
The relief was almost immediate, without the knot the laces slackened off easily and I was able to escape the corset's iron grip.
“Phew thanks, I can get a shower now.”
“You are going home today?”
“That's the plan, we leave after breakfast.”
“Best get a move on then it's already seven thirty!”
I was in and out of the shower like - well it was quick, my poor bod still sore from the corset but at least clean. Dress – well actually denim skirt and a loose blouse by which time Sophia was ready as well so we both headed for the breakfast room.
Unlike yesterday when I got here much earlier, today the room was much busier so I ended up eating with the rest of the von Strechau party.
“So Gaby,” Gran enquired, “did you have a good time last night?”
“From what I remember.”
There was a general chortle; I don't think I was the only one with a sore bonce this morning.
How they manage to do it I'll never know but by the time I'd eaten and paid a quick visit, not only were my bags packed but stowed in the Porsche for the trip back north.
“Are we ready then?” Gloria asked?
“Get on with it woman.” Gran testily encouraged.
And so we were off – well away from the Schloss at least as we then got caught up in the city centre traffic for nearly half an hour before we could get onto the autobahn towards Ulm. After the glorious day for the wedding, today was looking somewhat more sombre – not raining or anything but certainly cloudier and by the looks of the trees, windier.
“So Gaby, how did you like the wedding?” Gran asked as we settled down.
What kind of question is that?
“Well it was a bit grander than I thought it would be when Max sprung it on me.”
“He can be a little short on detail sometime.” His mother opined from the front.
“Yes, he never really did tell us everything about the dress the other week?” Gran noted.
“He did Mother, it was a fancy dress dance eh Gaby?” Gloria prompted.
“Oh right yes, loads of lads had to dress as girls – and vice versa of course.”
“Erm well everyone drew a character out of a hat.”
“So why didn't you have separate ‘hats' for the girls and boys?” the older woman pressed.
“Well that was part of the fun, no one knew what they'd get and not only that, and there are far fewer male characters anyway.” I explained.
“Max says you do this ‘costume playing' thing a lot Gaby.” Gloria put in.
“Well not as much as I used to back in England.” I allowed somewhat wistfully.
“Seems a strange thing for a girl to do.” The Countess mentioned.
“Well maybe, but there again racing bikes isn't so ‘normal' either."
“I guess not.” she conceded.
“Everyone okay to go straight through to Rothenburg, Mother?”
“Yes I'm not incontinent yet.” She rumbled.
“I'm fine.” I added.
And so Gloria put her foot down a bit heavier and we zipped northwards.
I must've fallen asleep; well I woke up with my face pressed against the side window anyhow.
“You okay eating at the Fleece?” Countess Kate asked.
“Hopefully the soup will be hot today.” Gran mentioned.
“I'm sure it will.” Gloria put in.
We drove through the impressive southern entrance to the old town – rebuilt or not I'm sure Dad would love this place. We dodged through the numerous grockles and pulled up outside ‘The Golden Fleece', a rather upscale looking restaurant bar.
“Table for four ladies?” the maître D enquired.
“Please Michael.” Kate replied.
“This way please.”
He led us to a table and seated us – one bit of being a girl I can enjoy!
“White for myself,” Kate started, “Evelyn?”
“Oh just lemonade for me.” Gran told our server.
“Same for me.” Gloria added, “I'm driving.”
“Gaby?” Kate enquired.
“Um a spritzer if that's okay?”
“Certainly fraulein.” Michael agreed before leaving us to our menus.
My eyes nearly came out on stalks when I looked at the prices - €10 for soup!
“You okay Gabrielle?” Gloria enquired.
“It's a bit pricey.” I whispered.
“I'm paying Gaby,” Kate mentioned, “so don't worry about that, my treat eh?”
I've always been taught not to look a gift horse in the mouth but at the same time, not to take advantage.
In the end I decided on the spätzle followed by lambs liver, potatoes and ‘seasonal' vegetables. The rest of our ladies ‘doing' lunch had a variety of stuff, I have to say stuffed artichoke didn't sound particularly appetising but I'm sure it's nice enough. Well I'm not going to bore you with a mouthful by mouthful break down just to say that the spätzle was good and the main course was mmmm!
“Schneeballen everyone?” Kate asked as Michael cleared our plates.
“You have to ask?” Gloria noted.
“So four and coffee please.” Our hostess instructed the help.
“Erm, I don't want to sound dim but what exactly are schneeballen?”
“You don't know schneeballen? You haven't lived Gaby!” Gloria exclaimed.
“Tell the girl then.” Gran prompted.
“Okay, well schneeballen are a sort of donut but instead of a solid lump they are spun to make a kind of nest and usually covered with sugar but for the tourists they do chocolate too.”
“I'll try anything once.”
“I have so got to take some of these for the girls.” I enthused as I prepared to eat the last mouthful.
“Don't worry, we'll stop at the backerie after we've dropped Kate off – my boys wouldn't forgive me if we went home without some!” Gloria almost giggled.
“I can't see why that son of mine can't make his own.” Gran grumbled.
“He's tried Mother but somehow they're just not the same.”
Countess dropped off, buns bought we returned to the motorway to resume our journey home. I watched the countryside for a while but a good lunch and the gentle rocking of the Porsche soon had me making a bit of a nest to catch forty winks – there was after all about another three hours travelling before us.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 25.05.11 © 2011