book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 83

The Stones

"You look shot" Jules mentioned

"He's allowed," Dad told her, "he won this morning"

I managed a smile.

"Go get showered Drew" Dad instructed.

"Wow, you like, won this race thing?" Britney queried

"Yep!" I proudly stated, "57.54!"

"That's good right?"

"Well me and Mum have done faster on the tandem but my best before was a 59"

"So d'ya win some cup or something?"

"I'm not sure but I got £25 for winning and £10 for fastest juvenile"


"You know, under sixteen?" she looked at me blankly, "anyone sixteen or under is a juvenile, then under eighteen's are juniors."

"Right, so you creamed the other kids"

"I beat everyone"

She caught it then, "oh wow, that's pretty cool huh?"

"Way cool" I did my American accent that just made her laugh.

"You two coming?" Jules shouted

"Yes" I shouted back

"So tell me again, where are we going?" Brit, she said I could call her that, Brit asked.

"The Peak District, it's a National Park."

"Like Shenandoah at home?"

"A bit I s'pose"

"You girls okay for this?" Dad asked as we donned our boots in the car park.

"Sure Mr B, our olds insist we go hiking up in the hills regular" Debbie supplied

"I bet none of the others are doing anything cool like this" Britney enthused much to my horror. I've done this walk before, about six miles of tramping over the moors with some of Dad's 'highlights' thrown in!

We shouldered our packs and Dad led the way down the road to the stile onto the footpath. We followed the track across the first field; the grass giving way to bracken the higher we climbed. On into a second field where about the only grass we could see was on the footpath.

"Just wait until we get to the edge" Dad enthused, "the views are spectacular"

Maybe. Last time he dragged us up here was just before my birthday and there was snow on the ground, you could barely see the next headland!

We scrambled up the last bit of track to the top and stopped to catch our breath.

"What about that then?" Dad theatrically indicated the view to the west. "That's Eaglestone where we're headed over there, Baslow in the bottom and Chatsworth over to the left." To my surprise it was pretty clear, if you knew where to look you could see clear over to the White Peak. "Come on over the wall, I'll show you what we've come for"

Dad clambered over the wall and helped everyone over before once more resuming his position as tour guide.

"He'll start going weird in a minute," I whispered to Brit, "waving his arms and stuff"

She giggled.

"I heard that Drew" Dad called back over his shoulder.

Which caused Debbie to start on the giggles too!

We walked about a hundred metres along the track before Dad stopped to wait for us laggards. When we had caught up he started the familiar spiel.

"Welcome to Gardom's Edge! People have been living and farming up here for over four thousand years."

"It's a bit bleak isn't it" Deborah mentioned

"Well it was a lot warmer, maybe ten degrees, there would have been people living all over these hills. Anyway for some reason they thought this area was a bit special and they left behind not just the fields and cairns but some earlier monuments"

"Kewl" Brit enthused

"How come you know so much about it Mr B?" Deb asked

"Dad helped when they did a dig up here a few years ago." Jules supplied

"As Jules said, when the University and National Park did some excavating, I had the chance to do some digging with them."

"Yeah and our school came for a visit, we spent most of the time wrapping string around trees," I added.

"Wow, so you're like one of those arkligists?" Britney suggested

"Archaeologist's, well it's my hobby really."

"That is just so cool!" Deb mentioned, "your parents are just so cool, you guys, all ours do is go bowling!"

"Just wait till Dad's finished boring the pants off you" Jules advised

"Come on let's show you the highlights" Dad enthused ignoring Jules sarcasm. We walked along the edge of the trees for a short distance until we reached the huge pile of boulders that Dad insisted was a Neolithic (that's way old) boundary. The Walter's looked impressed, not! And Dad could see he was losing his audience.

"Let's go and have a look at the rock art"

"What's that?" Deb asked

"You'll see"

Dad led the way through the bracken and scrub to a small clearing dominated by a big flat boulder.

"Oh wow!" Brit exclaimed

I must admit, I'm still impressed by it! The girls explored the carvings for a few minutes, before Deb got her camera out for some pictures.

"It sounds sort of hollow" Brit mentioned

rock art

Jules and I had a little snigger; our private bet was won.

"Well that's because what you can see is actually a resin cast of the real stone, that's underneath."

"Why'd they do that?" Debbie queried

"To protect it, acid rain and just people walking on it were damaging the original so as an experiment they made the cast."

"But don't people notice?" Brit suggested

"Do you know, I don't think they do. It's not like it's a secret but I suppose most people just come and look at it."

"Well I think it's well cool, we don't have anything like this at home"

"Come on then. We'll go across to Eaglestone, we'll have our sandwiches at Curbar Gap"

So Dad led the way down the moor towards the road, pointing out where the trenches were, the cairns...

"Er Mr B? What's a cairn?" Deb finally asked

"Oh sorry, I forgot that you might not know. They're really just piles of stones, usually where the farmers threw all the stones when they were ploughing. Sometimes though they used them to bury the dead or I suppose to make offerings, that sort of thing."

We clambered down to the road and crossed, Dad once again leading the way.

"Come on" I whispered to Brit


"Short cut" I climbed over the wall and dropped into the field, "come on, we'll meet them up on top" Glancing at the fast retreating backs of Dad and our siblings, Brit followed my lead.

"What is this?"

"An old watermill I think, there's a bridge at the end." I told her leading the way

"Huh! Bet you can't jump it"

"Don't be daft Brit, it must be at least five metres"

"Not on the other side it's not"

"Well I'm using the bridge"

"Chicken shit! I'm gonna do it" she informed me.

Well you know the ego thing, especially with girls around?

"Okay, I'll do it too"

I watched as Brit dropped her bag, took a short run up then launched herself across and kept running through the reeds.

"Come on Drew, it's easy"

I slipped my pack to the grass and psyched myself up. A short stuttering approach then I was airborne, my arms started windmilling as I realised I was not going to make the bank.

"A...a..argh!" I landed in the river with an almighty splash; my legs acted as a spring that had the effect of me ending up dumped on my backside in the middle of the water. Shit!

"Hey 'r you okay Drew?" Brit called from the bridge.

"Yeah I think so" I waded to the bank and dripped onto terra firma.

"Dad's gonna kill me"

"I'll tell him it's my fault"

"He's still gonna kill me" I shouldered my bag and squelched up the hillside towards the official path.

"What happened to you" Jules asked when they met us

"We took a short cut" I offered

"Drew Bond, what have I told you? Never leave the main paths"

"Sorry Dad, I guess I was showing off"

"Well whatever, you can't stay in all that wet gear, it might be warm but it's not that warm. You'll have to put your jacket on, I take it your bag didn't go for a swim too?"

"I'll bake in that"

"Hey, I've got some spare stuff" Debbie mentioned

"Thanks, but I'll wear my jacket"

"Come on Drew, you can't spend the rest of the day in all that wet stuff" Brit told me

I looked at Dad who just shrugged, "it's up to you Drew"

Truth be known I was already getting more than a little bit uncomfortable in my damp, no soaking underwear. As you know, I've ended up in girl's stuff before, but hey we're out for a hike; they won't have much with them, will they?

"Okay, I guess"

The two Walter's sisters went into their packs and started pulling stuff out, you'd think we were climbing Everest!

"How come you carry that lot around?" I asked

"Ma always says we should be prepared when we go walking, a set of dry clothing can be a life saver, and it's good to have something fresh to wear when you've done" Brit replied.

"There you go Drew, one set of dry clothes" Deb handed me a pile of stuff

"Get a move on Drew" Dad chivvied.

I found a hidden hollow just off the track and stripped my wet kit off. Well at least it was practical stuff, a pale yellow t-shirt, plain white cotton knickers and some knee high hiking socks and some khaki shorts. I shook the shorts out, oh shit! Not shorts, but a sort of cargo style skirt!

"Come on Drew!" Jules shouted

Some choice, my sopping wet shorts or Deb's dry skirt? Damn, no choice really. I pulled the offending garment on and realised it was nearly ankle length, ah well. I got my boots back on, thankful that Dad had insisted on buying Gore-Tex® boots, at least they were almost dry inside.

"There you are so...n" Dad trailed off

"Hey Drew you look real cute" Brit mentioned

"Come on you lot, let's get going"

"Sorry Drew, this is all my fault" Britney mumbled as we once again started walking.

"I'll live I suppose, but don't tell the others, Mad and that please"


Dad once again started waxing lyrical about packhorse trails and quarries, we stopped at Nelsons Monument so the girls could get some pictures, including all three Bond's. By the time we got across to Curbar gap it was nearly two and I was well hungry and getting a bit fed up with the long skirt. We found a wall to lean against with a view down over the valley and started on our food.

"Give over with that skirt Drew" Jules almost spat, "you've been fiddling with it ever since we stopped"

"Well it's annoying, it keeps wrapping itself around my legs, and you're not wearing it!"

"Hey sorry Drew, I didn't think" Deb spoke up, "stand up, the bottom zips off"

Hell, it can't get any worse can it, I stood and a minute later the ankle length monster was reduced to a more comfortable knee length garment.

Dad just kept shaking his head.

"It's a bit late to go over to Barbrook like I planned, we'd best go back over Gardom's" Dad told us when we were finished eating.

So with a short diversion to the ice cream van, we set off back down the road to Curbar crossroads. The short version of the skirt was much more comfortable to walk in and I soon forgot what I was wearing. It seemed to take forever to get back to the main road but once we dodged the traffic, now heading out of the park towards Sheffield, we climbed the stile back onto open moorland and headed up hill. It's a good job Dad knew the way, he led us onto a sheep track through some Birch scrub then we emerged on a track I recognised. From here it was best bit of a mile back down to the car park.

Now don't get the impression that this walk was done in silence, the Walter's, well mainly Deb, bombarded Dad with questions, Brit kept me in a near constant conversation, asking and filling gaps in each others knowledge of the other. By the time we arrived back at the car, I really had forgotten what I was wearing and so I guess had everyone else.

"I can't wait to get these boots off!" Jules mentioned as we walked up to the car

"Me too" Brit agreed

Dad opened the car and everyone found a perch to change his or her footwear.

"Hey Drew those trainers look cute with that skirt" Jules taunted

That resulted in me chasing my sister around the car park to the sounds of the Walter's shouting encouragement.

"Other way Drew!"

"That's cheating Jules!"

And so on. I think Dad's changing into one of those nodding dog things, everytime I look at him he's shaking his head.

"Come on you two, our visitors will think will think we're mad!"

It was half four gone when we turned onto the road back to Chesterfield and nearly six when we spilled out of the car at home. First thing I did once I got inside was go and get changed, it's one thing to wear that stuff in an emergency but no way did I want to give anyone the impression that I enjoyed it! In truth I didn't mind too much, but that's between you and me!

Jules and I helped Dad with the tea, well nearer supper now, while Brit and Deb made a call to their parents in Grottoes. Tea was a simple help yourself salad and afterwards we all collapsed in the living room. What a day! Winning the 25, all that fuss afterwards then this afternoons walk and my drenching, some day!

"Drew, stick the telly on, there's coverage of your Mum's race on Eurosport in ten minutes" Dad advised

"Cool! Hey girls you'll see Mum in a bit"

We sat through the end of some bizarre 'dune boarding', like snow boarding on sand, weird, then the cycling coverage started. As usual David Duffield burbled on about the races and we sat through a roundup of this weeks 'big' races. Two commercial breaks later attention was turned to Spain and the 'Tour Mallorca Senora', well that's what Duffer, Duffield called it.

We were all glued to the telly.

After a short reprise of the earlier stages, coverage moved to today's final round. Every time Mum appeared, Jules and I pointed her out to the Walter's.

"The one at the back?"

"No two in front" of course, the camera kept changing but eventually they concentrated on the pink jersey of race leader long enough to clearly identify her.

The race was a bit dead, but apparently it was over 35º, so that was a good excuse. I pointed the rest of the Apollinaris team out; Tina, Maria and the rest were all working to protect Mum's position. We saw Mum talk to first Maria then Tina, maybe a minute later Maria shot up the road. No sooner was Maria reeled in than another of the German team did the same, and again. I spotted the tactic and tried to explain to the girls how it hopefully would work. Tina stayed with Mum each time, near enough to the front to counter if need be but out of the wind.

The camera flashed to the one K to go flag, the next shot of the bunch showed the pink jersey with it's cream escort sat at the head of the phalanx of multicoloured riders. DD was explaining that Mum's lead was only a couple of seconds and she couldn't afford to relax. Everyone in our house was sat on the edge of their seats. 500m, 250m, 200m the sprint starting, 100m no sign of Mum but Tina at the front then 50m and Mum slipping from behind her team mate and seemingly shooting forward past her opponents to cross the line a half length in front. We were all cheering and shouting.

"Like I said, cool parental units!" Deb stated when we were a bit calmer.

"...and Jenny Bond takes her second major tour this year." The commentator was stood outside talking to camera, behind him we could see Mum talking to a clamouring group of media people. He moved closer to the meleé.

"Jenny? Jenny? Can we get a few word's?"

"Sure" the other media types, sensing a chance to get more than the usual spiel let the commentator move in towards Mum.

"Firstly well done, what does it feel like to win your second major tour in only your first season on the circuit?"

"Well David, I still can't believe I won the Feminin, that was down to team work and winning here this week is down to that again, thanks guys"

"You're being too modest Jenny," the interview was replaced by footage of an earlier stage, "on Wednesday you were out in front for over a hundred kilometres and still took the sprint" we watched the footage of Mum easily taking the sprint and waving her arm in the air in delight then it returned to the interview. "Your family must be very proud?"

"Hi kids, Dave" Mum goofed to the camera, "not half as much as I am of them" she went on.

"So what's next, the Worlds?"

"They're a while away yet, but I am on the GB squad"

"We hear the German's wanted to select you too"

"Yes that did cause a few red faces at the German Federation" Mum chuckled

The commentator did that finger in the ear thing for a moment.

"Thanks for talking to us Jenny, before we go though, we know you're family aren't here this time but our spies have been out, your daughter won today too, a very impressive 57.54 for twenty five miles. It must be in the genes!"

Mum's face made some contortions before she grabbed Tina Porsche who was signing autographs and started jigging about much to Tina's bemusement.

"Well" David turned back to camera, "there we go folks, Jenny Bond, multi tour winner is more excited by daughter Gaby's ride than her own! Now back to the studio"

Oh my god, shit, shit, shit!

"I thought you won this morning Drew?" Debbie mentioned

"He did" Dad supplied

"Then who's this Gaby?" Britney asked, her sister was quicker to put two and two together.

"Cousin Gaby! heck you had us convinced there for a while!" Deb exclaimed

"It's not what you think!" I put in

"Hey if you want to pretend to be a boy, 's your choice. Can't see why, you're real pretty!"

"Er girls" Dad spoke loud enough to get everyone's attention.

Maddy Bell 19.02.04 Secret © 2004

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