book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 82

Gaby Everywhere

I woke up with a start and it took a moment for me to work out where I was, my temporary 'home', the spare room! Groaning I turned over and hid my head under the pillow but sleep wasn't coming back anytime soon. Then it occurred to me, three teenage girls in the house, I'll never get into the bathroom! Grabbing my dressing gown I dived out of bed and made my move, out through my door and grabbing the handle for the bathroom in one move. Damn! Beaten to it, ah ha downstairs!

Emerging into the kitchen fifteen minutes later I was embarrassed to find Debbie going through the cupboards under the worktop.

"Er morning Debbie"

She jumped about a foot!

"Jeez Drew, don't do that."

"What're you looking for?"

"I was gonna make coffee but so far all I found is a tea kettle, where's the coffee pot?"

"Er we make it in the cup. Coffee's in the middle cupboard, mugs the next one along and milk in the fridge"

"What's 'mugs'?"

"You know big cup, no saucer?" I went into the cupboard and extracted said piece of crockery with Bart Simpson on.

"Oh you mean like coffee mug" she stated

"Well we just call them mugs, hardly anyone uses cups except in café's or if they've got visitors"

"hey don't we count!"

"we're not trying to impress you"

"I'm hurt!" she pretended to pout, "You want one?"

"I'll have tea please, the bags are next to the coffee. I'll just go and get dressed"

I beat a retreat back to my 'room'.

When I returned to the kitchen I found both the Walter's sisters sipping coffee.

"Morning Drew" Britney greeted me brightly

"Hi Britney"

"I didn't make your tea Drew, I wasn't sure how you take it"

"Hot and wet by preference!" I joked "anyone for breakfast?"

"We usually just have coffee" Debbie advised

"Mum reckons you should always eat something, even if it's just toast" I got myself a bowl and the box of Weetabix. The girls watched as I poured milk over three of the biscuits and shoved it into the microwave.

"What is that?" Britney asked screwing up her nose

"Weetabix? Sort of a bit like shredded wheat" I was interrupted by the micro.


I retrieved my breakfast and sprinkled some sugar onto the steaming mush.

"That is so gross!" Debbie stated

I just shrugged and started mashing my tea.

"Are you mashing Drew?" Dad called as he passed the kitchen


"Thanks" he came back from the hallway with the post, "you girls having breakfast?"

"Coffee's just fine thanks Mr Bond" Debbie mentioned

"Well there's cereal, toast, eggs and fruit if you want anything. Don't wait for us just dig in"

"Thanks Mr Bond, we will" Britney confirmed.

Jules eventually appeared, I could tell she was a bit pissed, probably the bathroom situation!

We left to walk over to Mad's just after nine.

"Erm Drew?" Britney started


"Sorry about the whole girl thing yesterday"

"No sweat"

"As long as you're not pissed at me"

"'Course not"

"So is Maddy your girlfriend?"

"Sort of" I blushed

"They're like twins - inseparable!" Jules mentioned from behind us

"I wish I was going steady" Britney sighed

My phone started to ring, 'Skater Boy', Maddy!

"Cool phone" Britney stated

"Hi Mad, whatsup? Linden Avenue...okay we'll see you there, bye"

"Maddy?" Jules asked

"Yeah, her and Sabrina'l meet us at the crossroads"

"So guys, what are we doing today?" Debbie asked

"Dunno really" I mentioned

"Well I'm taking Deb to meet Anna"

"I thought Dad said you couldn't" I accused

"Well if you don't say anything he'll never know will he? And anyway she was supposed to be sounding the two K's out remember?"

The two Americans gave each other 'what gives' looks, they'd find out later.

Normally with five of us we could go shopping and stuff but with ten we were a gang! And only three boys. None of us were used to such a big group and it was quickly evident that we were breaking into two groups, Mad Britney Sabrina and me in one with Ally, Bernie, Darla and Amy in the other. The guys, Rhod and Dan, weren't quite sure where to go, I was the attraction in our group and Ally in the other. Interesting times!

"See you guys later" Mad called as the rest of the gang headed towards Sylv's.

"What're we doing?" Sabrina asked

"I'm sure Mad's got something up her sleeve" I mentioned

"Moi!" she did her best Miss Piggy, which even got the visitors giggling.

"So?" I asked

"Well Mum did say she was going to Retford this afternoon"

"You sure she'll want us guys along" Britney queried

"Well she mentioned it" Mad pointed out.

We were soon at the Peters mansion.

"I still can't believe the size of your houses" Britney mentioned

"Rhod lives in a little terraced house behind his mums shop" I pointed out

"And neither of the others have got big houses"

Sabrina wasn't saying much.

"I know Britney lives in a town house, what about you Sabrina."

"It's alright Sab, they're cool" Britney told her friend

"Okay. Look guys it's embarrassing right, me and mom, we live in a trailer"

"What like a horsebox?" Mad mentioned

"Eh? You know like a camping trailer. Like that over there but bigger" Sabrina pointed to the drive opposite and the caravan parked there.

"A caravan!" Mad exclaimed

"Mobile home." I mentioned

"Yeah, Drew's got it, mobile home. We got the 'lectric and plumbing an stuff but it's not exactly a des res." She went on

"Some of the kids at school live on the Caravan Park on the Mansfield road"

"I told you they were cool" Britney stated

"Back already?" Aunt C called from where she was weeding the flowerbed

"Yes Mum, it wasn't much fun, there were too many of us"

"I suppose ten can get a bit boisterous" Mrs P suggested, "so what are you up to now?"

"We were wondering if we could go to Retford with you?" Mad suggested

"You girls okay with that?" she addressed the visitors


"Sounds like fun" Sabrina added

"I don't know about fun" I mentioned

"You don't have to come Drew" Mad pouted

"I'd better otherwise you'll corrupt this pair"

"What is this Retford?" Sabrina asked

"A little market town, it's about fifteen miles away"

"Miss Bell was telling us all about Robin Hood and stuff, she kept going on about Work Sop?" Britney told us

"You mean Worksop, we'll go there maybe later in the week" Mad replied

"Who's Miss Bell?" I asked

"She takes us for History and Geography" Sabrina supplied

"And she's Debs homeroom tutor. You'll meet her later, she's one of our chaperones." Britney added

"You'll like her," Sabrina went on, "a bit over the top but pretty cool!"

"I'll just wash up and we'll get off" Aunt C advised us on her way into the house.

I told you about Retford before I think, when we went with Mrs Rose? The American duo were pretty taken with the place, all the 'cute' shops and 'awesome' market stalls. Don't they have markets? They were fascinated that the market is on the street and the variety of stuff available. Just wait until we go to a real market!

Mrs P dropped Britney and me off back at my place a little before four.

"Come on Drew, shake a leg" Dad admonished when we walked indoors, "this reception thing starts at five"

"I thought it was six, I'd best ring the others, I told them to meet us at ten to six!"

So several frantic calls later, things were all square and I could get ready myself.

"Welcome everyone, before we go any further a few introductions are in order." Mr Wood started, "my name's Mr Wood, I'm headmaster of the school here in Warsop. You'll meet the other staff over the next couple of weeks. For the benefit of my pupils, the gentleman on my left are Mr Frederick's and Miss Bell from Augusta High School. Without further ado I'll pass you over to Councillor Bates who was kind enough to organise this evening for us."

Well you don't want to hear that boring speech, She finished by thanking "John Peters for getting this whole thing going, John?"

Mad's Dad stepped forward a step and gave an embarrassed little wave.

"Well I'm sure you don't want to hear any more from me, so please have a pleasant evening"

"Just before we finish with the announcements, a quick news flash for the Bond household, Mrs Bond has taken the lead after today's stage of the Tour Mallorca." There was a spontaneous round of applause - how embarrassing. Mr Wood went on "for the benefit of our visitors, Mrs Bond used to teach at our school before leaving to race bicycles professionally, a decision, which by her recent successes in France and Germany was obviously the right one. Now that I've embarrassed the Bond's, it's time to party!"

How does he do it? He always knows what I've been doing and it seems what Mum gets up to too!

Miss Bell
Miss Bell certainly didn't look your average teacher!!

Not that I've been to a lot of receptions but this was pretty typical I guess. The olds stood around chatting while us kids gravitated towards our own peers, Americans at one side, English the other! The guy doing the music decided to stir things up a bit so in quick succession we had Avril Levigne, the Chilli Peppers and Dido. When he played 'The Young Ones', not the original but the one from the old comedy series, it broke the ice and we were soon bopping transatlantic.

"Come on Drew, time to get up"


"Breakfast's ready. I'll see you downstairs" Dad advised

I looked at the clock, five thirty. FIVE THIRTY! I leapt from the bed and donned skinsuit and tracksuit before creeping downstairs.

"I'll go and load the car while you have breakfast" Dad told me


I'd forgotten about this morning, the Rutland middlemarkers twenty-five on the O2. I start number 73, not quite seven fifteen. I got my Weetabix and was just about done when Dad came back in.

"You ready?"

"Just about"

Five minutes later we were on our way up to Blythe, it's a good job it's a local course, if we were going much further we'd have had to left much earlier. It's not very often that slower riders like me manage to get on a course like the O2, all the fast blokes want to ride it! It was really strange, just me and Dad driving up, it's been ages since just the two of us went to a race, the last few times Mad and the gang have come along, today just seems odd.


"Dig in Drew!" Dad shouted as I passed him barely 20 metres from the start.

I might not get the chance to ride this course very often, the last time was with Mum on the tandem, but various 'bits' of the route get used as other courses so I know the road fairly well. I was soon settled into my usual position and turned my attention to getting around the course as quickly as possible. The light breeze was directly in my face as I climbed under Blythe Bridge, which was not too bad; I could look forward to some assistance on the way back!

I started humming in my head, Mum says it helps her keep cadence, I reckon it just helps pass the time! As I started the drop towards Ranby I could clearly see a couple of riders in front and vowed to catch them quickly. I kept getting glimpses of riders heading back north on the other carriageway, by how they were riding; the slight breeze was definitely offering some northbound help.

Dropping towards the Five Lane Ends roundabout I caught the first rider, number 69, either I was flying or she was really slow! The next leg is very deceptive, it either takes forever, like this morning or you zip down the undulations really fast. I could see that I was catching another rider and the longer climb to the 'top' of Elkesley allowed me to gain over 200 metres on number 72. The long sweeping bends past the village kept him in front but the little kick up before the Walesby turn was enough for me to catch and pass him.

The turn here at Markham Moor can be a bit tricky, the roundabout is huge but this early on a Sunday the traffic was still quite light. I checked behind and pulled to the outside lane spotting the rider wearing number 70 just leaving the island. Checking the computer I was on 29.35, mercifully I didn't get held up and I kept an even pace all the way round and then popped out onto the A1 north. 30.29, excellent I reckon I was only about a minute and a half behind number 70, cool!

I got myself settled again and managed to keep a fairly big gear rolling most of the way up the climb back to Elkesley. I glanced briefly right to Gamston airfield, remembering the trip to Paris a few weeks ago. I felt the temperature drop as the road turned to the right then out of nowhere I was being pelted by hailstones. Not just hailstones but huge hailstones! It sounded like someone was bouncing marbles off my helmet and I was glad that I was wearing glasses as several lumps hit my face quite painfully. What traffic there was pretty much stopped but I continued plugging away through the sudden gusts and frozen rain, passing a stopped number 71 in the process. As quick as it started, I was out of it; I could feel my exposed arms and legs stinging.

The breeze picked up behind me, flinging me up the rest of the rise and there in front were three riders all within about a hundred metres of each other and less than thirty seconds in front. I slipped into the top sprocket and with renewed enthusiasm set out to catch them. The undulations were aiding me as I clawed my way towards the rearmost of the three, number 68 just as the roundabout came into view. The traffic was already heavier than my first pass in the other direction, I just hoped that I could get round cleanly. I saw the next rider in front squirt himself onto the island and I started to concentrate on what all the traffic was likely to do. Cursing, I thought I was going to have to stop as a car started signalling to come across me but as I reached for my brakes he turned down the A1 south exit leaving my way clear.

Slotting myself back into the inside lane I realised that I had gained quite a bit on the rider in front, number 64.

"Come on Drew, you'll get number 70!" Dad shouted from the lay-by as I once again got settled. Cool. I took 64 over the railway bridge and snicked the gears back up as I started the downhill stretch. The six miles to go marker came and went and number 70 was still an elusive hundred metres in front. The bit past Ranby is always deceptive and we held station onto what Dad calls the 'Chicken Farm', the last climb! I kept the big gear rolling almost all the way up and gained about 50 of those metres by the top. Three miles to go and the tail wind started to kick in as we started the approach to the finish. I saw Dad flash past and pull up the Blythe turn off.

"Come on son, UP! UP!"

70 was dangling in front of me but I wasn't making any impression. Round the bend and the mile to go marker flashed by, one more corner then a short downhill to the finish. My breathing was starting to get a bit ragged as I pushed harder; I glanced at the computer 57.45, nah that can't be right! I couldn't check as I had to line myself up for the turn, tricky as the road swings back at @120°. I went round barely twenty metres behind my rabbit.

"Go Drewby!"

"Dig! Dig!"

The cheering from the small crowd stirred me as I dragged out my last reserves in an ever-increasing red fog. I could see the chequered flag and got out of the saddle in a last desperate lunge for the line.


"Sevknee three!"

I passed him yards later as we both started to freewheel

"Wha?" he managed, I guess he didn't realise I was so close behind, "shit!"

I remembered to check the clock, 59.03 oh wow! That's twice I've been under now, well cool! I got myself turned around in the village and slowly made my way back past the finish to the A1 and the HQ on the other side of the island. Spotting Dad and the car I rode down and collapsed onto the grass.

"You alright son?"

"I could do with one of Mad's leg rubs"

"Well I'll have to do, lay back and give me a leg"

I lay back and he took a foot and wedged it on his hip.

"What happened to your legs? There's red marks all over them"

"Nothing" then I remembered the hail, "there was a hail storm at Elkesley on the way back, might be that"

"Well that would fit, they must have been big hailstones"

"They were bouncing all over the road," I pulled my sleeve up to check my arm, "wow there's even marks through my skinsuit!"

"At least we know what it is then"

For the next ten minutes Dad worked wonders in preventing the cramps in my calves getting too bad, if anything he was better than Mad!

"So what do you think you've done? Did you catch 70?"

"A short 59 I think and I passed him on the line just about"

"He won't be best bit chuffed!" Dad mentioned

"He nearly fell off when I passed him!"

"Come on then, get yourself dressed, I'll stow the bike"

Dad busied himself deflating tyres and wiping my snot off the bike, while I pulled my skinsuit off in the relative privacy of the back seat.


"As I will be" I replied

We made our way to the tea tent and results board; I swapped my number for a tea and a bit of lovely, stodgy bread and butter pudding. Dad bought himself a coffee then we went to look at the results. There was a quite animated conversation going on between several observers who were blocking my view of the board.

"Excuse me"

"Oh sure young un" they moved to one side and I finally got to see the board. Helpfully all the 'ten' starters were in red so it was quite easy to locate number 70, no that can't be right, 1.00.54, if I caught him for three minutes he should have a long 1.01 at best.

"Well done Drew!" Dad exclaimed which caused the gallery to all swing round.


"Your time?"

I checked down, 57.54. So I was a few seconds ou...

"WHAHEY!" it sank in, not a few seconds but over a minute!

"I guess this must be Bond's girl"

"Not much to look at"

"Takes after her mum"

"Mick said there was a hailstorm"

"Did you see Jenny on Eurosport last night?"

"Like mother, like daughter!"

I barely heard the comments as I was leaping around, hugging Dad and generally enjoying myself.

"Whoa, whoa, calm down. Watch" which chose that moment to leap from his hand!


"Sit over there and calm down for a bit" Dad ordered

I sat on the kerb and got personal with my handful of stodge. How did I make such a big timing error? Then I remembered, I started the computer on my minute man, dur!

"Well Drew" Dad came over from the board, "there's only about another twenty to come in and only a few of those stand any chance of beating you"

I was missing something here.

"What do you mean Dad?"

"You're fastest so far the next best is 58.23"

I picked that moment to pass out.

"Is she alright?"

I could hear various mumbled voices

"Just excitement" I heard Dad tell someone.

"Here, get this down her"

I felt a cup of something cool at my lips and let Dad pour some into my mouth. I started choking as the tart liquid hit my throat.

"Easy Drew" Dad patted my back

I tried another sip and found it went down better this time.

I could still hear various other voices then one I knew broke through.

"The youngster okay?" John asked

"Excitement I think" Dad mentioned

I blinked my eyes open to find myself surrounded by concerned looking adults.

"Back with us then Gaby" John stated

"Wwwhat happened?"

"You fainted" Dad told me

I heard a voice over the general hubbub, "Marsden's only got a short 58, no one else can beat her now"

"Looks like you've won" John had heard too.

All this and it's not nine o'clock yet!

Half an hour later I was approaching Five Lane Ends for the fourth time today. This time as winner of the event! No one else got under 58 minutes and the fact of me being a juvenile had everyone excited too.

"You feeling okay now?" Dad queried

"Yeah, that Mars bar made a big difference"

"We'll have to watch that, maybe get the doctor to have a check"

"What for?"

"Well you could be diabetic, low blood sugar"

That hit me like a Grimsby cod.

'I hope not, "he went on, "but it won't hurt to check"

"Does that mean I'll have to stop racing?" I was getting a bit wobbly lip.

"If and it's a big if, you have it, there's no reason why you have to stop, there are several professionals who are diabetic"

I was only slightly mollified. We turned with a growing queue of traffic towards Thoresby, us for home, them for the Sunday Market. I know it wasn't a long drive but I fell asleep as we sat in the traffic only waking when Dad gave me a shake after we got home.

Maddy Bell 18.02.04 Secret © 2004

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