book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 45
Prelude to Party

"You okay Drew?" Dad asked

"Yeah sure" I returned my attention to the passing fields.

In truth I was anything but fine. Yesterday was a disaster to put it mildly. Looking back I think I really did over react to what was, lets face it just an overdone makeup job. It wasn't even what I was dressed in and lets face it that should have been enough. No it was the make up and how it made me look, it seemed I was okay with looking like a girl, but girl wearing lots of makeup just flipped the switch. Go figure!

I think, no I know I really upset Maddy, she didn't mean anything by it and I really blew it up, which in turn got Mrs P annoyed with Mad. Guiltily I glanced at my new helmet lying on the back seat. That seals it! After Wednesday no more Gaby! Ever!



"What road do we want?"

I checked the map on my lap.

"A64 to Malton then it's the Pickering road"

"You sure you're okay?"

"Just feeling a bit off colour"

"You want to go home then?"

"No!" I almost shouted, "sorry, just a bit tetchy this morning"

"Hmm" Dad sounded less than convinced

Oh yeah forgot to say, we're on our way to a time trial near Pickering, which is not far from Scarborough which is on the Yorkshire coast. (Note from writer Maddy - have a look at to find out more, I know you want to). It's only a ten miler, but after Tuesdays 25.03 PB I'm quite hyped up.

Its quite a drive up from Warsop, about two hours, for just a ten but Dad okayed it as we can do the tourist bit afterwards. I watched the Yorkshire countryside slide past and wondered again how Yorkshire ended up so big, I mean even with the new roads it takes about two hours to go from north to south and it must be at least three hours from east to west! Not impressed? Well the next biggest English County is less than half that size!

"Nearly there Drew"

I roused myself after my daydreaming, now eagerly checking out the road over which I would shortly be racing. It didn't look much like postcard Yorkshire in fact Lincolnshire sprang to mind! It looked almost billiard table flat although I could see the moors rising behind Pickering in front of us. Of course the main reason I was racing so far from home was Mums tenet that variety in location and competition was good for you.

The HQ was easy to spot with the number of cars and bikes parked around the pub car park! I retrieved my number and got myself ready before going for a warm up past Flamingo Land, Dad said it was once just a nice zoo but over the years it has added other attractions like an Imax cinema to keep the punters coming. At ten o'clock on a summer Sunday the main park traffic was still an hour away!


Here I was setting off on another race against the clock. There was a stiff easterly breeze across the north south course, not much help either way, but I guess that means not much hindrance too! I realised quite soon that the course had a bit more 'hill' to it than I thought not helped by a quite bumpy surface. In fact the rise up to the turn had me quite breathless.

There was a strange hush as I rounded the island turn then wahoo! Downhill and little sprocket time! I was keeping up a steady twenty-five mph for over a mile before it flattened off but I could smell the finish now, well the sewage farm just over the road. And as quite often happens on new courses, there it was much sooner than I thought. Seeing the chequered flag I made a last big effort failing to even gasp my number and there was Dad.

"How'd it go then son?"

I checked my computer,

"I got 25.07"

"I know it's not another PB but that shows Tuesday wasn't a fluke eh"

"Yeah" I wheezed

Dad wheeled me along to the car, then left me to change while he returned my number to get my 'free' drink. He returned hands full of cups and cake with a huge grin on his face.

"I think we need to get you an accurate clock, you were miles out"

Despite his smile my heart sank

"Much?" I asked

"Ten seconds I'm afraid"

"25.17" I sighed, "that's still my second best"

"No it's not"

"It is" I stated

"Who said it was 25.17?"

"You, I mean I thought, you said"

"I said you were ten seconds out" he interrupted, "it's 24.57!"

Well I tried doing Tuesdays jig on my own then started choking.

"Calm down and drink some of this" Dad gave me a cup of squash (orange and peach flavour) which I sipped at in between grins.

I missed out on best improvement because of Tuesday's ride but I did get first boy, it was only five pounds but I was pretty chuffed anyway. Out of 74 solo riders and 8 tandems there were 33 PB's which left a lot of happy people right out on the edge of North Yorkshire this Sunday.

Not knowing any of the riders, we left fairly quickly and we drove the mile or so into Pickering to get some lunch.

After getting a sausage and mash dinner, you can't beat traditional fare can you, Dad walked us up to the Castle. I like castles, there's something, I think romantic is the word about them. I know in reality they were cold, draughty places but I tend to think of colourful costumes, jousting and all that stuff. Well that's me. Dad sort of collects castles, if we go anywhere with a castle we have to go in, remember Germany? It's ok mostly, they're all different and you get a chance to get great views just like they would 8 or nine hundred years ago! That must have been really impressive at the time.

Anyway I left dad to explore while I climbed to the top of the motte (the mound bit plebs!) which at Pickering is right in the middle of the bailey (that's the other bit) with a deep ditch around it. Kewl! I went back down and explored the walls with their arrow slits; it would take an accurate shot to shoot into these! Dad was happily snapping away so I sat down to wait for him.

I was soon daydreaming about living here say five hundred years ago...

"Ah here she comes, the lovely Lady Gabrielle!"

"Who is that with her sir knight?"

"That is her lady, Madeline"

"They are both so fair!"

"Indeed your lordship, the finest beauties in all of Yorkshire!" the knight boasted.

The most beautiful ladies in Yorkshire!
Madeline and the Lady Gabrielle

"Drew, Drew are you awake?"

I was jolted back to the present by Dad's question, that was one weird dream!

"Are you ready?"

"Sure dad"

"Okay then how's about we have a look at the trains?"

"Great" I enthused. I like trains; well the steam variety anyway and there was one of the oldest preserved lines at the bottom of the hill.

We walked down to the grandly named North York Moors Railway or N.Y.M.R. at the platform was a hissing, gleaming tank engine fresh in from its southward trip. I walked up and down admiring the carriages and loco whilst Dad disappeared off somewhere.

"The next northbound is at three thirty, we just missed one" Dad informed me on his return, "we'll come up in the summer and have a ride"

"We could bring the Americans, I'm sure they'd enjoy it" I enthused

"We'll see. The woman inside suggested we go to the Roman camps while we're here, what do you reckon?"

"What Roman camps?"

"She said they're called Cawthorn and they're up on the edge of the moors. And they are free" he related

Well I knew history mad Dad wanted to.

"Okay, but can I look in the shop first please?"

"Go on then, ten minutes, I'll wait out here"

This was more my sort of shop, books, models, and posters, ooh boy heaven! I browsed the shelves and displays studying the model trains and their incredible detail then checking out the prices. Phewee! One of them was over two hundred pounds! I'm sure I was longer than ten minutes but I left with a poster of 'The Mallard' for my bedroom.

"Come on then, we can get a guide book at the National Park office according to the ticket lady."

So that's what we did. The drive up to the camps took about fifteen minutes; there were only a couple of other cars in the car park so at least that was easy. Dad had brought a flask of tea so we had a cup before following the way marked path through the woods to the camps.

Wow, I was expecting a little square thing but these were something else. They are huge! And all the more impressive because the experts think some of the banks were only dug for practice! I tried to imagine marching all the way up here and then digging these ditches just for the night. Sounds like hard work to me but the Romans apparently did it all the time. That's right they did it in that book I read a while ago, what was it now? Something about a lost legion.

Dad was at his photography bit again and I wandered along in his wake. It took us nearly three-quarters of an hour to walk round.

"Drat I've dropped my camera case!" Dad exclaimed

"Do you know where? I can get it" I offered

"I think so but it'll be quicker if I fetch it. Here" he gave me the car keys, " go and get in the car I won't be long"

I hummed to myself as I walked back through the woods.

"It is, it's Dee" I heard timekeeper John's voice from the car park

"Hi Dee, didn't expect to see you up here young lady" he greeted me

"My Dad brought me after the race this morning"

"Oh down on the Malton road eh?"


"What did you do then? You look quite pleased"

Well to be truthful is was good to be able to boast of my ride


"Oh well done young Bond. You'll follow in your Mum's wheeltracks alright!"

"John, come on" a woman's voice called

"The wife, she's an archaeologist"

"Like on Time Team*" I asked

"Sort of I guess, but without Tony Robinson**" he chuckled

"John!" she called him again

"I better go Dee, nice to see you, are you out on Tuesday?" he asked

"Should be"

"Well see you then, bye"


He trotted off to find his wife while I opened the car.

"Who was that Drew?" Dad asked a moment later

"John, he's the timekeeper at Cuckney"

"Well it's a small world eh?"

"I guess"

We set off for home a good two hours away. Phew what a day. I went through the day's events as we negotiated the lanes towards York. My PB, now that was really cool, and two bests in one week! And that castle was pretty neat too; I recalled my daydream, Lady Gabrielle? Why the hell did I think that? It must have been Maddy's dress from Friday Sheesh! It's a pity we missed that earlier train, which would have been ace chugging across the moors on a steam train. Still the camps were ok too. But how freaky was that seeing John up there. Even wearing jeans and a sweatshirt he thought I was a girl! Ah well I'll tackle that one later.

We avoided the motorways on the way back, stopping at Selby for a late tea before finishing our trip. What a day!

Monday and at least I had a lot more to put in my diary this week! Mad caught up with me before the bell.

"Are you still coming tonight Drew?"

"Yeah, why wouldn't I?"

"Well I thought after Saturday..."

"Look Mad, I sort of lost it a bit. I'm sorry if it spoilt your day, I didn't mean to"

"I know Drew. Mum really tore into me when she got back from dropping you, I really should apologise to you."

"I thought that was what the helmet was for?"

"Well it was sort of but look I'm really sorry for doing that to you"


"I still think you looked quite cute"

How can you be angry with her?

"I was, am and shall never be cute!" I tried to fume

"You so are Drewbie" she stated

I rolled my eyes as she retreated to her form room.

"What was that about?" Clive asked joining me

"I think she was teasing me"

"Girls" he stated shaking his head, "I bet her cousin Gaby wouldn't tease a guy"

Oh boy, I'd forgotten about Clive's crush on Gaby.

"No I don't suppose she would" I agreed with him.

The rest of the day was uneventful, Mr Wood's spies had failed him this weekend and the cricket team had won by a hundred and ten runs. At least I missed that embarrassment.

"Hi Rhod, Drew" Ally called

"Hi Al" I called back, "where're the others?"

"Behind you" Bernie called

We carefully avoided mentioning Saturday as we walked to Palace Peters; Mad made sure she walked with me though, which was nice.

"Did I tell you guys that there's some emails from America arrived?"

"It must have slipped your mind" Rhod emphasised his sarcasm.

*: Popular UK Archaeology programme where they do real digs over three days. Back to text

**: Presenter of the aforementioned Time Team, famous for his roles as Baldrick in the Blackadder series (do a search!) and as the Sherriff of Nottingham in Maid Marion's Merry Men (do another search!). Back to text

Maddy Bell 02.10.03 Secret
© 2003

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