Whilst a ride this morning was pretty much obligatory, I reckon that last night's exertions let me off from anything too strenuous. There's a nice little loop up to Clowne so I headed out up the S ixty towards Cuckney where I took the A616 towards Creswell. The road bobbles about a bit before dropping down the ‘Mad Mile' to the village; even at stupid o'clock in the morning they're doing their best to kill themselves with dodgy overtaking and too high speed. Some have clearly succeeded judging by the collection of mini shrines along the verge.
I kept it nice and steady around to the Whitwell turn then gave it a bit more welly on the climb up to Clowne. Whilst you can miss the traffic lights you can't avoid the squiggly bit through the centre, I nearly ended up in Tesco's car park as they've altered stuff since I was last here. There is a back lane down to Whaley but I wanted a faster ride so selected the Bolsover road.
Not that you get much of a view but the road follows the top of ridge with the M1 to the west and a gentler slope eastwards. It's by no means flat but the climbs are short, the drop's unimpressive allowing you to keep a fairly steady cadence. You miss Bolsover and I nearly missed the turn to Langwith too.
Turning up the power I made the most of the long descent keeping a bus at bay all the way to the lights at the railway viaduct. Once out of Langwith the road heads to Cuckney but I took a right to short cut back home. There's a bit of a climb up through the woods then you drop into the mining village bit of Church Warsop – not that there's a mine anymore. I had to wait ages to cross the Sixty, all the commuter traffic, but I was still at Peters ' central just after eight.
I checked the comp, just over an hour for 28km, not super quick but a reasonable workout nonetheless.
“Come on Drew,” Mad encouraged with some vim.
“What's the rush?”
“We're meeting the others at the Morgan's?”
“And?” It's not like we're going anywhere today, well not that I know of.
“I said we'd be there at ten.”
“It wasn't me who crawled from her cave gone nine,” I felt compelled to point out.
How did she turn that around?
“Come on then.”
It'll be good to see Sylv again and of course Rhod. I don't suppose I'll ever find out everything that happened in Wales, I'm just glad that things turned out okay – I think.
The walk isn't long, along the main road past the College, into the centre before turning into the rows of terraces that run down towards the river. Mad was gabbling away but I wasn't paying attention, instead my thoughts were focused on how Sylv's salon has impacted my life over the last couple of years. What with waxing, makeovers and extra piercings not to mention the stuff with Rhod / Em it's been quite interesting.
"Thought you two weren't coming." Ally commented as we reached the familiar frontage.
"Someone was playing on the computer," Mad accused .
"Someone didn't get up 'till after nine," I countered.
"She needed a wee so she's already inside," Al explained.
"Come on then," my cousin enthused pushing the door open.
"Hiya girls," Sylv called out.
"Morning." Ally replied.
"Hi Sylv," I added.
"Gaby ? Is that you?"
"I think so."
She left her bemused pensioner client and I was soon engulfed in a hug.
"No one said you were coming girl,” she noted giving Mad a hard stare.
"I er forgot Sylv."
"So how long are you here for?"
"Just till the weekend, I'm joining the squad over in Manchester on Sunday."
"You've certainly filled out girl."
"The others out back Sylv?" Al enquired before I could reply.
"Yeah go on through, I'll finish Mrs Brown and I'll be through."
"Come on Gabs." Mad grabbed my hand and started dragging me through the salon.
At least I'm not getting any 'treatments' this time.
I was barely into the Morgan's lounge cum dining room when I was assaulted by a veritable whirlwind of girl and engulfed in a hug. Given she was taller than me by at least twenty centimetres meant my face was pretty much thrust into her chest. I was held in her vice like grip unable to do much more than grunt for a small eternity before being released.
"You are a wag Gaby Bond, who'd you think it would be?"
"Er Rhod?" I suggested.
"Hey Em, you got any Sprite?" Mad enquired from behind me, apparently unfazed by the appearance of this girl formerly known as Rhod.
"In the fridge," she offered with a distinct Welsh lilt.
I'm confused now, last time I talked with Rhod, albeit by email and a couple of months ago, Rhod was back, Mfanwy wouldn't be returning and I got the impression there would be no return to Wales. Instead of the slightly gangly youth I was expecting to see, I'm presented with a bubbly red head dressed as girly girl as is possible, within the confines of the denim shorts phenomena. And gauging by the cute pixie cut and nail extensions, this was no short-term dress up for fun.
“So erm, how's it going?”
“Pretty good, but look at you – I'm so jealous.”
“What of she asks, Gaby Bond, you are so cute and I bet that bosom is all you.”
“I am not cute,” I got out through gritted teeth.
“If you say so girl, but I'm right about the bits in your bra aren't I?” she pushed.
“Yes worst luck.”
“Mine are like a pair of fried eggs,” she lamented.
“Ostrich eggs,” I observed remembering the greeting hug.
“Hardly, cos I've been over with Da and Cherys I've got my falsies on, flat as a pancake without ‘em.”
“I thought you weren't doing that—this,” I motioned to her attire, “anymore?”
“It's a long story which can wait, come on, Mam's giving us a lift.”
“Are you girls ready, I've got thirty minutes before Mrs Drake's due,” Sylv called through.
“Coming Mam,” Em replied, “come on you lot, time to go.”
The others came through from the kitchen dressed in the ubiquitous shorts teamed with a variety of hosiery and upper garments.
“You staying like that Gab's?” Helen, she of the thunder thighs, enquired.
‘That' just happens to be my good jeans and a baggy T, which does a reasonable job of hiding my chest.
“Yes,” I replied, facing down her query, “so like where are we going?”
“Dur,” Mad started, “skating at the new place in Sheff, we agreed last night.”
Maybe I wasn't part of that conversation.
“Come on Gab,” Em encouraged, “or we won't be going anywhere.”
I couldn't see how Sylv was going to get us to Sheffield and get back here in half an hour – it's about that each way on a good day. Anyhow it looks like I'm going to reacquaint myself with the ice, something I'm not so sure I want to do. We all piled out to Sylv's Multipla and soon we were heading at a rate of knots down the A60 towards Mansfield.
Instead of going right into the centre Sylv took the Mansfield Woodhouse road to cut the corner to the Chesterfield road.
“Here you go, I'll pick you up at five, be ready eh?”
“Yes Mam,” Em sighed.
“On with you then, the bus'll be here soon.”
By the time we got across the dual carriageway and along to the bus stop, our transport was itself waiting to cross the lights. The fifty-three isn't the most logical choice but it does go fairly directly to Sheffield via Bolsover, Renishaw and then into the newer southern suburbs of Steel City with a stop dead opposite the skating rink. The biggest problem is that it goes through three different counties each with their own fare elements, which meant that even the half fare cost £2.30 . I'll have no money left at this rate.
We couldn't all get seated together, the bus was pretty full, I ended up with Rhod several seats back from the others on the top deck – a bit of a novelty for me as the buses back home are all single deck.
“So how come you're still Em? I'm sure Ally said you got back from your dad's yesterday. Am I missing something?”
“Well kinda,” she admitted.
“I sort of get the dressing up at your Dad's but I thought you wanted to be Rhod now.”
“Look it's okay for you, it's not like you have to even try to be a girl, you're just so…natural. I know I can pass okay but it takes a lot of effort you know, well I guess you don't but there's stuff that makes it easier.”
“Boobs,” I observed.
“For one, but like people see what they want, you know?”
“Ducks,” I sagely agreed.
“Right, so the hair and nails add to the illusion.”
“I get all that, but why aren't you back in guy mode now?”
I know I would be given half a chance.
“Well Dad an' Cherys are taking me to Spain next week so it sorta makes sense to stay in Em mode.”
“They still don't know you're a boy?”
“Shush. Tell the whole bus, why don't you? ”
“‘Course they know, but like all the Welshies know me as Em and it's not like I hate the idea.”
I shook my head, me, if I had the chance to never put on another bra or skirt I'd be grabbing it with both hands. Rhod on the other hand seems to turn like the tide, first it's girl then boy, maybe a bit of each, maybe he's not really trans. I kinda get the logic with the boobs and nails, the girlie haircut too I guess so it sort of makes sense that Em is sat next to me.
“So how come you've got such a rack, they got you on ‘mones?”
“You know, like oestrogen.”
“Sort of, “I admitted, “I'm on the pill.”
“Didn't think they used that for TGs,” she offered.
“It's not to grow my boobs , dumbo, it's for , like , girl type reasons?”
“To stop you getting preggers? Don't be so soft you can't.”
“The docs think I could,” I supplied with a sigh.
“You're jesting, only girls can get pregnant.”
“Duck?” I suggested.
It took a moment but the penny eventually dropped – I think.
“So it makes it look more like you're a girl?”
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
“I am a girl.” There I've said it, it's not like I can ignore all the test results and stuff but this is the first time I've told someone.
“Really, two X's, these are the real McCoy,” I indicated my chest.
“I bet they've had some help.”
“Hang on two X's? That means…”
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 01.06.12