I know its only been six months since I was here but so much has happened, all the stuff with Bern, society weddings, loads of racing, the trip to France oh and my diagnosis as a card carrying woman in waiting.
"Flibbidy flobby blabbery guh?"
"Blippidy flab? Aarty libbery Drew?"
My brain still wasn't caught up, what is Mad on about and why is she speaking foreign?"
"Speak English Mad, I can't understand what you're saying."
"Lilly blem anoon." Uncle Pete offered.
"Wallabloo!" Mad huffed.
Without the foreign chitchat from Mad I needed little encouragement to drop off.
"Come on Drew, we're home."
I stretched theatrically before replying, "I needed that."
"Well at least you aren't speaking German now."
"Yeah, I was talking to you at the airport and you kept saying 'sprechen ze Englische bluh bluh bluh.'"
"Really, you know I don't understand it." Mad huffed.
"You two coming in?" Aunt Carol enquired from the door.
Aunt Carol enveloped me in a hug as soon as I was inside.
"Er yeah, a bit." I didn't really want reminding, now if it had been up it would've been cool.
"You're in the spare room, get yourself settled in and I'll rustle up some tea."
"Spag bol ok?"
My eyes lit up, "oh yeah!"
"I'll give you a hand." Mad offered.
"You've not brought much,” my cousin noted as she surveyed my case.
"Not much, what do you call this lot?"
"That's cycling kit," she pointed out, "you won't be riding all the time."
"I've got jeans and cargo's."
"No dresses or skirts?"
"I suppose you can borrow some of mine."
"And just why would I need to?" I've learnt to smell a rat and this has the makings of a doozie.
"You never know." she shrugged.
Rat, a big one!
"Five minutes girls!" Aunt C called up the stairs.
"I wasn't going to."
"Wait here a sec."
She wasn't gone a minute before reappearing brandishing a hanger.
"Here ya go."
"Ma-ad." I complained, I've only been here half an hour and she's at it.
"See ya downstairs!"
Geez Louise. I should just go down without changing, hmmm. I looked at the garment that she'd thrust into my hand, a dress of course, summer, one of, for the use of. I've got a similar one at home except mine's yellow and this one is pale pink. What the heck!
"There you are, we were about to start without you." Aunt C offered.
"Someone," I glared at a speechless Maddy, "said I should change."
"Very nice too." Uncle Pete opined.
My cousin was still goldfishing; I think I've called her bluff. Yes I was wearing her dress but you don't spend a couple of years appearing as a girl and not pick up a thing or two like taking your makeup bag everywhere and I'm a dab hand at braids and quick fix hairdressing. Oh yes, the Weinkönigin has arrived - well okay, ex but you know what I mean.
"You not eating Mad?"
"Oh and cheers for the dress, I should've packed something more dressy."
"You didn't need to dress up Drew." Aunt C noted.
"I'd never get away with jeans at home." I fibbed, rubbing it in.
"Maybe you should follow your cousins example Maddy,” her Dad suggested, earning a look of disapproval from his daughter.
"Help yourself to sauce Drew." Aunt Carol instructed as she passed me a plate of steaming spaghetti.
The food was every bit as good as I remembered, pasta just so and the bolognese sauce just the right consistency to coat the pasta and not spray everywhere. I did have to rescue some from my chest when it slipped off my fork but I think I avoided getting a spray on my dress, well Mad's dress.
"Aah!" I allowed sitting back from the table.
"Someone enjoyed that." Aunt C smirked.
"Anyone would think she doesn't get fed at home." Mad pouted, clearly still upset by my dress ploy.
"Its different when someone else is cooking." I noted.
"You cook at home Drew?" my aunt enquired.
"Well it's usually just me an' Dad and he can burn water!"
"You have a lot of beans on toast then." Mad surmised.
"Not likely! Dad'd go ballistic, I do a mean schnitzel you know!"
"Those flat things?" Aunt Carol confirmed.
"Yeah," I sighed, "I wonder what they'll feed us in Manchester?"
"Chips and black pudding." Mad suggested.
"Not every meal I hope." I replied with a straight face.
"You are a one Drew!" Mad's mum chortled. "Tell you what, why don't you invite the others round during the week and you can demonstrate your culinary skills."
"Yeah, you can make snotty or whatever it is." Mad suggested.
"Schnitzel." I corrected. Bum, what have I landed myself in now?"
"I'll look forward to that." Uncle P opined.
I tried to stifle a yawn.
"Er sorry, long day."
"You slept all the way from the airport." Mad observed.
"Let her alone." Aunt C instructed.
"I was only saying." Mad almost whined.
"You'll have to excuse your cousin Drew, she's been a right pain lately,” her Mum offered.
"Have not!" Mad snapped.
Aunt C just rolled her eyes.
"You coming up?" Mad asked."
"Shouldn't we do the washing up?" I suggested.
"Its alright Drew, you're excused tonight." Uncle P stated.
"Come on Drew." my cousin insisted.
No escape then, I shuffled out of my seat and followed Mad upstairs.
"So come on Drew, what's with the makeup and everything, I thought you weren't doing that stuff now?"
"I wasn't going to, it was you insisted on the dress."
"Well I didn't expect you to wear it."
Like I believe that.
"So what's all the rush about?"
"Nothing really, Mum's been on my back lately, do your homework, tidy your room, don't wear that , last week she made me miss Chrissie's party!"
Didn't sound like Aunt Carol, I'm betting Mad is doing a Juliette, remember all that hassle with the scooter and stuff last year? And who is Chrissy?
"Anyhow, what's the goss?"
"Well you know."
I wish I did. At one time we used to work on the same wavelength but now, I don't know.
"You won't know anyone."
"I guess, so what was it like at the wedding?"
"I told you on the phone."
"No, you skimmed over most of it, I want detail."
"Come on Drewbie, nothing ever happens 'round here." she moaned.
When I look back, I guess compared to Dernau Warsop is pretty quiet.
"Okay, well it all started...."
"Geez Drew, you couldn't make it up." Mad exclaimed a couple of hours later.
"Who'd want to?"
"Well its more exciting than a walk t'Fisheries."
"A lot more hassle too."
"But you even danced with Prince William."
"Me and half of Germany."
I engaged my cleats and pushed off from the Peters' drive, I got to the main road before realising I was on the wrong side of the road. Oops, whata mistaka to make-a! It wasn't that early but the roads were quiet, the occupants of Meden Vale clearly favouring their beds over fresh air. I didn't have a set route in mind but I started towards Fanny's Grove, which is as good a direction as any.
It was a fine morning promising some heat later, a swirl of mist doing its best to hide the river across the fields. Yesterday the Eifel Mountains, today Sherwood Forest, considering how long I lived here it feels...alien, a little off. It could be the terrain, its just so flat here, well not Lincolnshire flat but compared to back home where its either up or down North Nottinghamshire is tame.
I caught a bit of Thoresby traffic at the Grove, but I managed to dodge the procession of 4x4's and started up the Worksop road. I only realised that I'd climbed a bit when the road started to drop down to the Clumber crossroads. I swung left towards Cuckney and settled into a steady mileating cadence, the familiar yet not countryside shrouded more fully by early morning mist.
Rather than loop straight back to Warsop I hung a right at Norton to head towards Creswell via a stretch of the Cuckney 10 course. I got down into a tuck and thrashed the pedals around for a comfortable forty kph but only until the Creswell turn; I was quickly back to a more manageable thirty. Left towards Cuckney and up the mad mile before hitting the series of bends that take you back to Cuckney village.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 30.03.12