"It can't be." I spluttered, "I woulda remembered."
"Well okay kiddo, it's actually Saturday but today's the nearest we could get together."
"Phew, I've got your prezzie at home, if you'd said I could've brought it."
We were interrupted by Max reappearing with the wine. I've never really given Max working here much thought, though watching him do the whole waiter thing was a bit amusing really – yet who am I to talk? I work as a Bäckerei waitress after all. I'm sure Max was goggling my booblets as he waited; he certainly had a grin on his face.
"So what are we eating?" Dad enquired.
"Soup, followed by the liver and röstii, we'll talk dessert later." Mum told him - where does she put it, she's thinner than me!
"The um small salad then the liver." I like liver and its good for you - especially with my er condition.
Dad motioned for our waiter - I'll give him some stick tomorrow, and placed our order.
"To my wife, happy birthday!"
"Happy Birthday , Mum!"
We chinked glasses and took a draw.
"Hmm, not bad." Dad allowed.
"Now don't you go drinking too much , Dave Bond, it's my party and if anyone is gonna drink it'll be me." Mum stated.
"Yes dear." Dad allowed which had me and Mum giggling.
At the prices the von Strechau's charge to eat in a converted barn the food should be good and it didn't disappoint. Dad had steak, which looked absolutely delish, but I was more than happy with my liver and the way Mum put away hers she was either starving or enjoying it.
Mum regaled us with 'tales of the peloton' and I added some of my recent experiences to the table's discussion. All in all we were having a great time.
"Pudding?" Dad suggested.
"Ooh I could murder some sticky toffee." Mum sighed.
"Or bread and butter pudding with custard." I added, my taste buds warming to the theme.
"We might be pushing it for those options." Dad noted signalling for the staff.
"Dessert menu please , Max."
"Of course , Herr Bond."
Max had a weird look in his eye when he returned and handed out the carte and I swear he winked at Dad.
Mum finished her tale of sweaty bras and punctures and opened the menu card.
"What's going on , Dave Bond?"
"Wassup , Mum?"
"Have a look at the menu."
I flipped my own copy open, what's this : Rhubarb crumble, chocolate pudding, there's most definitely something weird going on here.
"It's got to be a joke." Mum opined.
"I've never seen anything more than ice cream on the dessert menu over here." I agreed.
" Let's see." Dad feigned surprise.
I passed over my menu.
"Hmm, you don't spell Rhubarb that way."
"Dave! I wasn't checking the grammar."
"I know my sweet, looks fine to me."
"Dad, you knew about this." I accused.
"Might have, so what do you fancy?"
"Just you wait , Dave Bond." Mum grinned.
"Rhubarb!" we both requested before starting a giggle fest.
"Everything okay?" Herr von Strechau asked a moment later.
"Fine." Dad allowed.
"So which was it?"
"I win, the rhubarb."
"Damn! I felt sure the triple chocolate pudding would do it."
"I can read this pair like a book." Dad chortled, I'll take the same please?"
"Be about fifteen minutes, coffee?"
"Ladies?" Dad broke our giggling fit.
"Er sure, thanks Wilhelm." Mum allowed.
"Can I have tea please?"
"Ooh make mine tea too please." Mum requested.
"Two teas and a coffee then, I'll get Max to bring them right over.”
"Cheers , Wilhelm."
"Next you'll have one of those dishy first year pros jump out of a cake." Mum joked.
"Bugger, I knew I'd forgotten something."
Mum went all soppy and leant over to give Dad a kiss.
"Get a room already."
"I'll remember that young lady!" Mum noted breaking her suction on Dad's face.
I just rolled my eyes, parents!
Max arrived with our drinks, which at least temporarily had my olds return to a level of sanity more suitable to public dining.
"Gabs." Max hissed from behind me.
"Just thought I'd warn you, Mum and Gran'll be here in a few minutes."
"Er thanks." I whispered back.
That's all I need, the local head of aristocracy, she already thinks I'm marriage material for her grandson, if we're not careful I'll be walking down the aisle of Köln Dom in a white dress!
We talked about this and that whilst we waited for our pud, the subject of Japan at the forefront of said discussion. As an ex geography teacher Mum was in her element and only the arrival of what looked deceivingly like one of Jules' crumble creations halted tonight's lecture. Talking of the Dark One, where is my sister?
The portions were generous and the communal jug contained ‘proper' custard, not that thin excuse that you generally get in my adopted home but a substance doing an excellent impersonation of Birds ® from dear ol' Blighty.
“Hmm, s'good.” I mentioned, catching a dribble of custard off my chin.
“Hmm.” Mum agreed with closed eyes and a look of ecstasy on her face.
The smooth, creamy custard worked as perfect counterpoint to the slightly acidic taste of the rhubarb and that unique semi caramelised crumb topping. The three of us tackled the pudding with gusto and short work was made of the offering.
“That was just like Jules'.” I opined.
“Talking of which, where is number one daughter?” Mum asked.
“Doing the washing up I'd imagine.” Dad supplied.
“Yes , Gaby, washing up, that bit of eating that you always somehow manage to avoid.” Dad noted.
“And just why would Jules be washing up , Dave?” Mum enquired.
“Well the reason it looked and tasted like Jules' crumble is that it was – Jules' crumble that is.”
Mum and me must have been looking at him weirdly as he hurriedly continued.
“She's been coming up to help Wilhelm with his new English menu.”
“I wondered why she was getting away with coming home so late.” I mentioned.
We were interrupted by a ‘presence' .
“So we meet again Gabrielle Bond.” The Baroness boomed.
“Mother!” Gloria von Strechau hissed.
“Um good evening , Baroness.”
“I told you before , gel, it's Grandma to you.”
“Sorry um , Grandma.” I flushed in embarrassment.
“These your pater and mater?”
What the, oh right, parents.
“Er um yes, um Mum, Dad this is Max's Gran, Baroness von Strechau and that's his Mum, Gloria.”
“Nice to meet you , your Grace, I'm Jenny and this is Dave.” Mum always was better at introductions than me.
“We meet at last , Jenny Bond, your daughter here sings your praises continually.”
“Thank you for lending her to us the other week.” Gloria added.
Geez, I feel like a side of beef!
“Er, thank you Gloria, I hope she wasn't any trouble.”
“Quite the opposite, she has been the talk of society ever since.”
I have? That's just not right.
“We have tried to teach our children good values.”
“If only some of the aristos did.” Baroness Grandma sighed.
“Mother!” Gloria hissed again.
“Oh right, yes well that son of mine has promised a special treat for supper, ‘toad in the hole', some English concoction from what I can gather, sounds more like those Frenchies eating frogs and the like.”
“Güten nacht , Frau, Herr Bond, Gaby.” Gloria offered.
“Yes good evening to you all.” The Baroness added.
“Good night.” Mum offered in a slightly bemused daze as the entourage departed for parts of the restaurant beyond our ken.
“She's a bit full on.” Dad noted.
“No kidding.” I agreed.
“Happy Birthday Mum!” Jules squealed grabbing said parent into a hug.
“Let go of your Mum Jules, she's turning blue.” Dad suggested.
“Oh um sorry, you enjoy your surprise?”
“The pudding or the Baroness?” Mum replied.
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 27.09.11 © 2011