So of course sleep was the last thing my head wanted to do. Instead my thoughts raced about, jumping from my friends to racing to me and anywhere in between. I had to use the facilities, about two o'clock I think and it was only when I returned to my bed from that that I finally hit slumberland.
“Come on, Gaby, up and at ‘em!” Dad yelled up the stairs to the attic.
“Hmm, coming.” I mumbled without opening my eyes.
What's all the fuss for? I don't remember the bed being this comfy, they must've changed their laundry, the bedclothes smell different, fresher. I cracked an eye to look at my clock, eh? A wall? This isn't the hostel, hang on…
“If I have to come up there…” Dad threatened.
Dad, bed, Dad – shitza, I'm at home in Dernau!
“I'm coming,” I called down, much more awake than a few moments before.
“Well make it snappy or you won't get breakfast,” Pater advised.
I hadn't got time to lose the nail paint on my toes but at least I had my own socks and shoes on when I reached the kitchen.
“Finally.” Dad sighed.
“Hi erm, Gaby.” Mand greeted me.
“Thought we were having breakfast?” I observed scanning the kitchen for signs of frühstuck.
“We are, just not here. Got everything?”
I patted myself down, “Handy, wallet, head, legs, yup seems like it.”
“What about you, Amanda?”
“All here, Mr Bond,” she waved her bag.
“Let's go then.”
We went out through the garage, the alarm is easier to set from there, and found seats in the Mercedes. Dad stowed our bags before locking up Chez Bond and climbing in himself.
“Where we having frühstuck?”
“At the bakery.”
I checked my watch, don't ask me why, of course it's open, I sometimes do the early shift from silly o'clock, seven thirty is even after the first rush.
Mand was unusually quiet, I realised why when she did speak.
“If I didn't know, I'd think you were German.”
“You speak it so easily.”
“Just now, geez you don't even know you're doing it, when I did French at school I had to really think about everything, it was hardly speaking the language, just repeating phrases.”
“You kind of have to learn quickly when you live here, they think I'm good at languages coz I get good grades in English!”
“I should hope so.” Dad opined as we drew to a halt outside Thesing's.
“Go get a table, Gab.” Dad instructed once we were inside.
“Sure, hi Herr Thesing!”
“Well hello, stranger, fancy doing a couple of shifts?”
“Sorry we're off to Italy today.” I replied as I steered Manda to the Angel's regular table in the corner.
“It was worth a try, morning Dave.”
“Morning Tomas, whilst I remember I need to cancel the bread order until the thirtieth.”
“Sort of, a riding camp for the girls, at least it's a change from the usual four walls.”
“Ja, so what'll it be?”
Being a sometime employee of the bakery I found myself refilling our coffee cups at the Gaggia when a squeal rent the air.
“Gabeee!” I had to put the coffee pot down as she grabbed me in a bear hug. “You never said you were coming.”
“I didn't know myself Con, it's only like a pit stop, we're off to Italy once we've had frühstuck. Make yourself useful, bring the other cup over, you can meet Mand.”
“Tag, Herr Bond.” Miss Thesing greeted Dad as she slid in beside me.
“Mand, this is Connie, I think I told you about her when we were at Gran's.”
“She hasn't any German?” Con enquired.
“Not a word.”
“Good morning.” Con got out in her best English. “The frühstuck, it is good ja?”
“Froostuk oh breakfast, yes, excellent thank you.”
Dad had ordered the big breakfast for all of us – no not the fried gut buster that would be supplied in the UK but a mixed plate of rolls, croissants, cheese, meat, tomato, jam and coffee.
“When are you back home, Gab?”
“End of the month.”
“You've missed some great parties.”
“So Christina told me.”
“You've seen Chris?”
“We had dinner at her rents place last night.”
“So the racing is good, yes?”
“Pretty cool, did I tell you that I go to the Weltmeisterschaft in Denmark next month?”
“Several times.” She grinned, “So you race in Italy?”
“Just training, we're racing in Switzerland after then I come home for the new term.”
“Don't remind me. How is Bernie?”
“Mother and daughter doing well last time we spoke.”
“Good, it was amazing you were there for the birth.”
Not exactly what I'd call it.
We chatted as I ate, catching up on our respective news – you don't realise how much has happened until you try telling someone else.
“Sorry to break things up you two but its time to go.” Dad told us.
I glanced at the clock behind the counter, sheesh, nearly eight fifteen.
“Can we get some cake for later?” I enquired.
“Good idea, no guessing what I suppose?”
“Thought so, Con do you think we can get fifteen slices?”
“Sure, Herr Bond.” She agreed slipping out of the seat.
“We off?” Mand enquired.
“Yup, Con's just getting some travel rations for us.”
“Well I'm pretty stuffed, you have this all the time?”
“Not always, often it's just coffee and a bun.”
“Probably better than a bowl of cereal.”
My goodbyes with Con were necessarily short and by twenty past we were heading down the valley towards Ahrweiler.
“Sorry about back there, with Con.”
“It's alright, she's your friend.”
“So are you.”
“I should hope so, Gaby Bond!”
“Dad, she's picking on me!”
“You're a big girl now, I'm sure you'll live.” Dad supplied.
“Um, about that, I'm being Drew on the trip so erm.”
“Drop the Gaby.” Mand stated.
“Er yeah, please, Dad?”
“No problem kiddo, Drew it is.”
Jemma and Caro were waiting outside the flat when we arrived so it was a quick pick up and on to the Ibis to meet with the others.
“Can I have everyone's attention for a minute?” Herr Direktor requested.
We quieted to hear him out.
“We've got about seven hundred and fifty kilometres today, down through Germany, across Switzerland and into Italy. With luck we should get to Lake Como about seven. We'll be having comfort stops regularly and we'll stop for lunch most likely around Basel. Questions?”
I put my hand up.
“Can me and Mand ride with my Dad?”
“Sorry but I want you all on the bus for now, maybe later. Anything else?”
It was disappointing but I guess I could see his thinking; it would look like we were being favoured which could breed dissent.
“In that case, let's make a move, Dave, I'll ride with you, there's stuff we need to discuss.”
So he gets the comfy leather seats and aircon, sneaky sod!
“Okay campers, buckle up, destination Italy!” Steve cheerfully declared.
I had reclaimed my seat at the back where I recovered my ‘stolen' footwear and returned my ‘borrowed' examples. Dad led the way out of town, out past the Apollinaris plant, under the autobahn, past Heimersheim to pick up the southbound E31 at the Löhndorf intersection. I spent the first few minutes looking for familiar landmarks, Nurburg Schloss, Olsberg – when we crossed the Mosel I gave up and turned my attention to what the girls were discussing.
“Is that true, Drew, your garage is full of bikes?” Laura enquired.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 10.06.13