The Secret's Out
"Buy anything nice girls?" Gran enquired as we joined her at the table.
"This and that," I offered.
"There's some interesting shops," Mand chimed in.
"So you've enjoyed yourselves then?"
"I guess," I allowed with a shrug.
"Gaby Bond, sometimes," Gran admonished.
"Won't be a minute," Mand chirped.
"What'll it be ladies?" a spotty youth in an apron enquired. (I refuse to call a coffee waiter by any kind of pretentious Italian name.)
"Cappuccino for me, Gaby?"
"Er latte for me, same for Mand."
"One Cappuccino and two Lattes coming right up."
“So are you two okay?”
“I suppose so.”
“Ta da!” Mand announced rejoining us.
“The new OK magazine.” She brandished the offending magazine at me.
For those of you outside the loop of celebrity OK is one of several UK versions of Bild and Stern that the girls back in Dernau are addicted to.
“You never read that rubbish.”
“It can be quite interesting.”
“The lives and homes of the fameless.”
“There's other stuff.”
“We've ordered you a latte.” Gran broke in.
“Ooh yummy, how did you know?”
“You've had one out of that machine at the hostel every night this week.” I observed.
“Got me. Ooh look, William has been to some wedding thing in Munich.”
“That was months ago,” I sighed .
“How'd you know that?”
“It was, erm, in the Stern. ”
“What's that then?”
“Like the German version of that rag.”
“Thought you weren't interested in this stuff?”
“I'm not but my mate Con gets it all the time.”
We were interrupted by the arrival of our beverages. I took a sip and nearly spat it out.
“Geez, that is pretty disgusting.”
“Tastes okay to me.”
“They've not used fresh beans or enough.”
“You some kind of expert Gab?”
“I do most of the coffee at work.”
“I do a few shifts at the bakery, I'm a dab hand with the Gaggia™.”
“Wow, she can ride a bike and make coffee.”
“It pays to have a trade away from two wheels.” I offered.
“Everything okay ladies?” spotty enquired.
“No it's not, this latte is like bilge water, we'll have fresh and don't spare the beans this time.” Mand told the beleaguered youth.
“A, er, um, yes um, right away.” He picked up our cups and took off back inside.
“That was a bit harsh.”
“Well it's only what you said.”
“I know but still.”
Gran chuckled, “For what they charge Gab it ought to be drinkable, I don't suppose most patrons have your expertise in matter's coffee.”
The replacement coffees arrived much quicker than the first, our waiter type actually waited until I'd taken a sip and given it the okay before scurrying back inside.
“Hmm, that is better, more erm…”
“Body?” I supplied.
“Yeah.” She agreed smacking her lips.
"You want to look in the bike shop before we head home?” Gran asked as we departed the bookshop.
“Cappings?” I queried.
“I think it's called something else now.”
“I wonder if they've got any shammy cream*?”
“Your mum used to spend hours in that place.” Gran supplied.
It wasn't a long walk; the former ‘Capping Cycles' still resided in a double front store just at the point where town centre becomes residential.
“I think it's just a name change,” I pronounced.
Like many businesses, someone clearly thought that ‘Capping Cycles' sounded a bit fuddy duddy so the frontage now stated ‘Pro Bikes'. I think it was Dad who pointed out that professional riders never bought their bikes and machines with pro in the name were in the same league as ‘executive' coaches, they never were! The windows were however full of fancy looking bike kit, road and that curious UK disease, ‘mountain' bikes.
“We going in then?” Mand enquired.
“Sure, you coming Gran?”
“Well I'm not waiting out here.”
We don't really have shops like this back home, it's all stuff like my Schauff with all the bags, baskets and so on associated with them. If you want racing stuff there are a few specialist shops, but nothing like this.
“Mrs Peters; long time no see.” A chap about Gran's age announced when we'd cleared the doorway.
“Phil, we weren't sure it was still yours.”
“We scrape by, so who have we got here then?”
“My granddaughter and her friend, they're staying the weekend.”
“How time flies, it doesn't seem that long ago that she was riding with the Wheelers.”
“And spending all her mum and dad's money in here,” Gran added.
“She was keen on getting all the new stuff wasn't she, I think she bought the first pair of Look™ pedals we ever had.” Phil recalled.
“Well I think Amanda here is after something.”
“Er do you have any shammy cream?” Mand asked.
“Sure luv, let's see, the tube is three quid but it's only five fifty for a big tub.”
We looked at each other and replied in unison, “Tub.”
“So you girls ride?”
“They're both on the National team,” Gran boasted, “and Gaby is the National champion back home in Germany.”
“Like mother like daughter.” Phil allowed, I think he was more surprised than anything else.
“I'd heard Jenny had moved over there.”
“Left her old mum in sleepy Nant',” Gran hammed.
“Have you got any energy bars, I coulda done with some this morning.”
“Gaby.” Well I could hardly tell him Drew dressed and looking like this could I?
“Gaby, what flavour do you want?”
Well when Mand joined in we ended up discussing the relative tastes of the stuff on offer, personally I can't stand the chocolate flavour but Mand prefers it to banana, my fave.
After we settled up Phil continued our discussion, “So I guess you girls are out riding tomorrow then?”
“Yeah, our coach will go ballistic if we don't get a few miles in,” Mand told him.
“The Wheelers have got their club twenty five in the morning if you're interested?”
“We haven't entered and we'd need parental consent anyhow,” I mentioned.
“It's only a club event; we usually have a few private rides**.”
“We'd still need the forms,” Mand noted.
“Uncle John signed for me last week,” I told them.
“Mrs P? I've got some forms here somewhere,” Phil offered.
“You want to ride girls?”
Girls ? Oh bum; I was only supposed to be Gaby for this afternoon maybe we should take a rain check.
“Yes please Mrs Peters,” Mand enthused.
“So where is this Buckley crossroads Gran?” I asked as the bus made its way back towards Gran's place in Burland.
“Bulkeley, it's just out through Faddiley, only a couple of miles from the house.”
“Phew, when he said about Whitchurch I thought it was miles away.”
“I saw signs for there this morning.” Mand put in.
“I guess we can ride out then, but seven thirty ?” I moaned.
“Oh give over Gab.”
“And that's another thing, I'm supposed to be Drew, remember?”
“No one here knows you so what's the problem?” Mand enquired.
“Whatever.” I sighed in defeat.
“I'll come out in the car, give you a cheer,” Gran suggested.
“That'd be cool, Mrs Peters.” Mand beamed.
With a time trial in the morning, when we got back to base guess who got the job of team mechanic ? Yup yours truly.
“So do you think we should wear our BC stuff or our club strip?” Mand asked as she hovered over my ministrations.
“Not sure BC'd be too happy if we ride like it's official.”
“You have a point I guess.”
“Don't you ever clean this chain?”
“I oil it.”
“I can tell, you should clean it regularly, it'll last longer, Dad does it after every race.”
“I don't think mine knows which end you sit on.”
I didn't mean to preach, I know that not everyone has their own dedicated mechanic, but like chains, its basic maintenance. Luckily Gran had got some GT *** and I've always got a bottle of lube in my seat pack so I managed to do something of a rescue job.
“Wow, I'd forgotten what colour it was.”
“Girls.” I muttered under my breath.
“Dinner girls,” Gran called from the kitchen door.
* Chamois cream – a greasy substance which some riders put on the pad of their shorts. Its supposed to prevent saddle sores and reduce friction. The name refers to the fact that in days of yore the lining was actually made of chamois leather and the ‘cream' helped prevent it drying out too much and going hard.
** Sometimes known as semi open events, a non-member can get a ride in another clubs event for a small fee but won't be included in any awards.
*** Weaker version of WD40!
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 07.09.12