book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 62

As Girls Go

It was just gone nine when my brain registered consciousness. First day of the holidays! Mum's home!

"Okay Carol, I'll see you in an hour, bye" Mum was just finishing her call when I surged into the kitchen.

"Morning Mum, why didn't you wake me?"

"Morning Drew, I thought I'd let you sleep in, what are you doing today?"

"Hadn't given it much thought"

"Well I'm going to see Carol, Maddy's mum this morning, how about we go for a ride this afternoon?"

"Yeah that'll be excellent!" the cog's whirred, "can I come to the Peters with you, I need to talk to Maddy."

"I don't see why not, Carol and I are going into Mansfield, on our own, so don't even ask"

"Where's Jules?" I asked

"She's gone to Worksop with Anna and Charlie, something about needing to get something"

"I think she's a bit pissed at me"

"Less of that language young man!" Mum retorted

"Sorry Mum, but she is"

"Hmm, I'll have to have a talk with her later, but right now you need to get your breakfast if you're catching a lift, I'm leaving at quarter to"


I ate a quick breakfast and dived back upstairs to change, pausing only to ring Mad to tell her I was coming.

"We'll be back about one" Mum shouted after me as I passed Aunt C on the way to her door.

"Kids!" I heard Mrs P state with a chortle.

"Hi Drew" Mad greeted me

"Hiya Mad"

We went through to the lounge.

"Well?" Mad enquired

"Well what?"

"Der! You were in a rush to get here to tell me something?"

"Oh yeah, Robot Wars - cool" Craig and Phillipa, the hosts appeared on the screen.

I wasn't quick enough to avoid the cushion she aimed at my head

"Hey!" I exclaimed

"Tell me" she threatened

"Okay, I can go to the fair thing"

"Kewl!" she exclaimed, "we'll have to sort out some costumes"


"Well dur, you don't think we're gonna wear jeans do you? Even Mum and Dad are dressing up" she informed me

There was a bright flash from the screen as Matilda pushed a competitor into the pit.

I slumped back into the sofa.

"Come on, we need at least three costumes, maybe four" Mad enthused

Half an hour later I was starting to regret agreeing to go.

"There's not much choice is there?" I whined, "I mean if you're a girl there's loads, but most of the male options are big he-men"

"Hmmm" Mad mused

The look she gave me was not comforting.



"How about doing girl costumes? Lot's of guys do at the cons"

"Oh no! I - am - not - doing - that - again," I said with some deliberation

"But Drew" she started, "we could use the stuff from Easter for one set,"

I interrupted her

"How about if you use the costumes and I go in jeans?"

"No way!" she stated brooking no argument

I could see by the look in her eye that I was fighting a losing battle here.

"How about if we did Harry Potter?" she offered, "I could be Hermione and you could be Harry. Then if we used our Chii costumes we only really need one more."

"Why do we need so many costumes?" I had to ask

"Well we're there for three days and on Saturday there's a costume party too. Only total dorks wear the same costume all weekend!" I was informed. Sounded a bit harsh to me.

"What about something like Star Trek?" inspiration hit me

"Earth to Drew, this is Obicon, not a Trekkie convention. You wouldn't get in the door. Come on Drew, be a sport" she gave me that look.

The thoughts flashed through my mind. Change my mind and don't go - I don't have to dress up but I also don't get to be with Maddy. Go and dress up, hate myself afterwards but have a good time with Mad. Option three - there is no option three!

"Okay, I'll do it" I eventually agreed

I was smothered by Maddy and received a smacker on my cheek too.

"There's conditions," I continued, "we do Harry Potter, I'll go with the Easter costume but anything else has to be more restrained"

"Yes!" Mad punched the air.

We spent the next hour trying to decide on at least one more costume each and I was getting pretty cheesed.

"I'll probably regret this, but what if I leave the costumes to you. I'll help if you want but this is getting us nowhere" I finally declared

"Okay, I'll get Mum to help"

"Right, now that's settled, you got anything to eat? I'm starving"

"Where are we going" I asked Mum some time later as we headed towards Ollerton.

"I thought we'd ride down to Newark, we can stop for a drink then come back through Southwell (pronounced suthall people!)"

"Sounds good"

"So what's it like, winning all these races?" Mum asked

"It's only four! You've won loads!"

"Doesn't matter how many it is" she stated

"Well I guess it does feel really good, especially when I've beaten the older riders"

"Nice feeling?"


"Adrenaline." Mum stated

"I guess so"

"You get so high on it that you want to repeat that feeling, often"

"I guess"

"The time to worry is when you don't get that 'high'. Did you feel the same on sports day? Carol was telling me earlier all about it"

"I suppose I did, I kept trying harder because it felt good when we won"

"If you don't get that high, it's not bad, it just means you're tired, going through the motions"

We dropped down to Ollerton roundabout and slipped into single file to negotiate the junction.

"Are all the girls off this week?" I asked when Mum arrived back next to me.

"Yes, George thought everyone should get some relaxation after the excitement of the Tour"

"So everyone is hungry for the adrenaline rush?"

"Got it in one!" Mum agreed

The road rolled along towards our destination and we kept a comfortable, for me, pace going. Then the tractor pulled out in front of us.

"Come on" Mum told me as she dropped a sprocket


"The tractor dummy" she informed me as she stood up to chase the farm machinery.

I could do little other than give chase to Mum's fast disappearing rear tyre. Mum quickly crossed the gap and snook in close behind the trailer and settled back down. It took me somewhat longer to get there, but I made it thanks to a bit of uphill slowing the leviathan. The tractor was one of those Fastrac things, so it has a fair turn of speed but we were just comfortable in the trailer's slipstream. The road became wider and we could smell the beet factory on the wind, a glance up confirmed that was where our host was headed.

The engine note changed as we started to descend and the speed started to pickup, I glanced at my computer, wow nearly 35 miles an hour! The road flattened out and finally we heard the tractor change down gear and start to slow. Mum started to freewheel along and following her lead we fell back from the trailer so that at the junction we were about twenty metres behind, far enough that we could safely negotiate the island.

We sprinted back up to the tractor but he was in no hurry now as he was approaching the sugar factory. We pulled around him as he turned to join the queue at the weighbridge and I'd just about got my breath back when we got to the bypass. Another couple of minutes and we were crossing the Trent into Newark. Mum led the way around the town finally stopping outside a small tea-room on the bottom of the market place.

Once inside and seated, I felt much better. Mum on the other hand had hardly broken sweat!

Jenny no sweat
Mum hadn't even broken sweat!

"You ok?" Mum asked seeing my flushed face

"Fine, I'm not used to that sort of speed, we were doing thirty five plus down that hill!"

"I might have got a bit carried away, we usually race close to that speed or faster unless it's uphill"

"What would you ladies like?" the waitress asked

I gave Mum a look!

"Tea for two and two toasted teacakes* please" Mum ordered

The waitress departed with our order.

"Mum! Why didn't you say anything!"

"Oh come on Drew, no one else seems to worry about it, why should I"

"But I do!"

"Okay, when she comes back"

"Here we are ladies" the waitress appeared with a tray of tea things, "mind the pot's they are scalding hot" she advised before leaving us arranging cups and saucers.

I was too preoccupied to notice her departure, so another opportunity was missed.

"What did you do last week?" I asked Mum

"Well we drove home on Monday"

"To Bad Neunahr?"

"Yes" Mum confirmed while checking how the tea was mashing**, "then on Tuesday we had a presentation for the German press in the morning and the local Sports Council threw us a small reception in the evening."

"Two teacakes" the waitress announced depositing the plates and departing all in one fluid movement.

Mum poured the tea and I started on my teacake.

"We had a training session on Wednesday" Mum went on

"Training? After two weeks of racing?"

"No rest for the wicked and they all seem to think I've been very wicked" mum winked and smiled at me.

"I thought you'd be resting"

"No such luck, on Thursday we had an evening criterium in Frankfurt as well!"

"Did you win?"

"No, I only did a few laps, just to show off my champion and yellow jerseys to the crowds"

We both returned to our food and drink before Mum went on pouring a second cuppa.

"Then on Friday, we all went to the Kursaal, where we had that meal remember? to sign temporary extensions to our contracts, you want another teacake?"


Mum turned to catch the waitress's attention

"Everything okay?"

"Fine thanks, can we have another round of teacakes please"

Our top up order went on its way and Mum was interrupted by my phone beeping

"Hello? Oh hi Dad...Newark...a couple of thirty, I'll tell her... bye"

"Your Dad I take it"

"Yeah. He said to tell you that he's booked a table at Salvatore's for seven thirty"

"He said he'd take us all out but I didn't think it would be tonight"

Our second plate of teacakes arrived interrupting our conversation again

"So what have you got planned for the holidays?" Mum started a new track

"Not much I guess. There's the thing with the Peters and then the exchange people come the week after so there's really only this week and next to sort out."

"Well I thought I'd take you and Jules to your Gran's on Thursday, I've got to go to Manchester tomorrow, I guess you could tag along"


"Okay that's settled then. I want to take Jules out on her own on Wednesday and on Friday the Comic is coming to do an interview"

"Wow" I stated dribbling melted butter down my chin

"Come on finish up, I know it's not far but we'll need to get ready as well when we get home. We'll need to leave by seven to get to Worksop!" Mum advised

We were soon re crossing the Trent to start our ride home. Instead of retracing our outward route we bore off towards Southwell and our cross-country route back home.

"So what's with you and Maddy?" Mum asked once we were clear of the busy junction.

"Nothing!" I started to colour up

"Come on Drew, I'm your mother and despite what you might think, Carol isn't blind either!"

"We're just friends"

"Carol seems to think you two see a lot more of each other than the rest of your group"

"Maybe" I allowed

"You went to the end of term dance with her"

I thought I could scotch this conversation now.

"I was wearing a dress! I hardly went as her date in the end"

"Maybe she likes you in a dress?"

"Get real mum! Why would she?"

"Some girls like girls" Mum stated

We rode up into Southwell and past the pretty Minster and then the steady climb out of the town. Mum was comfortably spinning the pedals but by the top I was breathing heavily.

"You mean like lesbo's?" I was amazed at what Mum was hinting at

"That's not a very nice expression, but yes like lesbians"

"Maddy? Give over Mum!" I stated

"Well I'm inclined to agree with Carol, you make a very good girl as girls go"

I was stunned to silence by my mother's statement.

A few minutes riding later and we picked up the road to Mansfield through Blidworth and Rainworth. Mum directed me around some back streets to avoid teatime Mansfield and we were quickly on the A60 back to Warsop.

"So you think Maddy is a lesbian?"

"I didn't say that. She might just like boys that look like girls"

I wasn't sure how I felt about this revelation. I like Maddy, no scratch that, I really like Maddy, she's cute, fun supportive and a great friend. On the other hand she does seem to constantly find ways to get me to appear as Gaby. But there again Ally and Bernie don't exactly discourage it! Maybe they are all the same, what if Ally starts getting Rhod to dress up?

"You okay Drew?" Mum asked

"Just thinking"


"Yes. What do you think?"

"I think you've got a really good friend there. If I were you I'd play it by ear, Carol's keeping an eye out for both of you, if you feel uncomfortable, talk to your Aunt Carol or you can always ring me you know"

"Thanks Mum, I guess I don't want to lose her as a friend and I do really like her"

We rode up our drive straight into the garage where Dad was tidying up.

Salvatore's Italian Restaurant
The best Italian restaurant I know.

Salvatore's is an excellent Italian restaurant. Monday night anywhere is pretty quiet but tonight we were at one of only two occupied tables. The speciality at Salvatore's is the pasta buffet, straight, long, curly, short, green, white, wholemeal - well you name it, it's on offer. And they do pizza. Not only that but the choice of dressings and sauces is incredible too, we don't come very often but it's worth the wait!

"Here's to Jenny Bond, may the rest of the season be as good as the first half!" Dad toasted Mum. We all clinked glasses and started our meal.

One of the waiters kept giving us a funny look though, quickly turning away when he spotted me watching him. We were waiting for our desserts when he came over to us.

"Every thing is a okay?"

"Yes thanks" Dad replied for us

"I am sorry to disturb, but I have to ask, are you the cyclismo Jennifer Bond?" he asked Mum

Mum looked a bit taken aback

"Er yes"

"I tell Guido, he no believe me!" he went on excitedly, "we watch you race, belamisimo!" he dramatically kissed his fingers. "I am sorry, to interrupt your meal, is a unforgivable"

He left a bemused table of Bonds and the other customers looked at us strangely. Dessert arrived and we were onto the coffee when the first waiter and a second who I presumed was 'Guido' came up to our table.

"I am sorry for my earlier behaviour Mrs Bond. This is Guido and I am Stefani, we are big fans of you riding. Please would you sign for us?" he proffered a ten by eight picture of Mum winning that mountain stage.

"Er okay" Mum took the picture and Guido supplied a pen.

Jules and I started beaming like idiots, which brought a stern look from Dad. Mum finished with the picture and handed it back to Stefani

"Thank you, thank you, we will hang in the restaurant, pride of place you say?" Guido nodded to Stefani's statement. When the bill came a short time later it was much less than Dad was expecting but as they say, never look a gift horse in the mouth!

"Ah pleese a sign theese" Jules mocked as we walked back to the car a few minutes later

"Less of that young lady" Dad admonished

"Well you have to admit it was a bit strange Dad" I put my twopence in.

"It happens all the time on the continent" Mum informed us

"What? Like strange men asking for autographs?" Jules asked

"Men, women, kids - there's often a crowd at the finish and last week in Frankfurt, the polizei had to control the crowds" She stated matter of factly

Until then I hadn't really realised the significance of Mum's race wins. In Europe she was fast becoming a sporting icon, at home she was still unknown outside of the cycling world.

*: Teacake - can either be, as in this case, a fruited sweet roll usually served toasted or a chocolate covered marshmallow affair. Back to text
**: Mashing - North Midlands / Yorkshire term for making/brewing usually tea but sometimes coffee. Back to text

Maddy Bell 22.11.03 Secret © 2003

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