book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 85

Clan of the Cave Bear

"There you are girls" Miss Bell greeted our little gang

"Oh hi Miz Bell, we're not late are we?" Deb asked

"Not late, just last! Now come on you're in the back bus with me"

We followed her past the other minibus and joined the waiting group at the second of the school buses. Miss bell was not quite accurate; Mr Wood was last as he'd popped into his office while they were waiting. As you can imagine, a dozen teenagers generate quite a bit of noise and we didn't notice much beyond the bus as we drove up the A60 through Cuckney, then turned towards Creswell. The journey took all of ten minutes.

"We there already?" someone asked

"Yes we are" Miss Bell told the bus in general, "you can leave your bags on the bus but don't leave any valuables right?"

"Yes Miz Bell" the Americans chorused much to our amusement.

Soon a couple of dozen kids and Reg, who was driving the second bus, were assembled in front of the three teachers.

"Settle down please" Mr Wood started

"Darla!" Mr Frederick's hollered

"Sorry sir"

"Mr Wood"

"Thank you Jack, right people. This afternoon we are visiting Creswell Crags, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in England. In a moment we'll go into the centre and watch an orientation film, then we'll split you into two groups for a tour of the site. Any questions?"

"Please sir" I asked

"Yes Drew?"

"Will we have time to eat, we brought sandwiches"

"Anyone else?" he enquired. A small forest of hands reached skyward.

"I suppose we can have a few minutes before the tour then. Anything else?" Silence was the answer. "Okay then, let's get inside."

Ten minutes later we were all seated on hard benches watching a very arty film explaining about the significance of this little gap in the limestone on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border. We sat through the twenty-minute presentation, some in rapt attention, others in some level of boredom. At least afterwards we had some idea why we were here!

"Okay people. I've spoken to Mike from the centre, if you can all be back at the front entrance in thirty minutes."

"Come on guys, I saw some seats around the front" Britney mentioned

The six of us dived out of the door and followed Brit to the front of the visitor centre where we quickly secured a picnic table.

"We didn't get any drinks!" Mad exclaimed

"Damn!" Sabrina agreed

"We can get something inside, come on Brit" I suggested

We nearly collided with the adults who had decided to have a coffee in the interlude.

"Slow down girls!" Miss Bell instructed

"Sorry Miz Bell" Brit allowed as I goldfished.

"Go on with you" Mr Wood waved his arm towards the door obviously suppressing a laugh.

"Your Miss Bell seems to think I'm a girl" I huffed

"Well? Everyone else seems to."

"Brit!" I whined

"Alright, I'll sort it, let's get the drinks huh?"

Why me?

We reassembled after our al fresco lunch and joined the general conversation while we waited for further instruction.

"Okay people, can all the year tens and their guests join Miss Bell, everyone else will be with myself and Mr Frederick's." Mr Wood advised

We all shuffled to the new locations.

"Right everyone, Mike and Laura here will be taking you around the site. Behave and do as they ask please. Over to you Mike"

Laura drew the short straw and got our group, our double gang plus Reg and Miss Bell.

"We'll let Mike get a bit of a start," Laura started, "I see we have at least one archaeologist here." She mentioned. I guess she recognised my t-shirt. "Before we go anywhere do you all understand what you are going to see?"

"Er not really" Sabrina admitted, "I got the hunting thing but the whole cave thing?" she shrugged

"Well I'll try to explain as we go round, we'll go into one of the caves in a few minutes and it will hopefully be a bit clearer." Laura stated

A few minutes later the enthusiasm of Laura soon had us more interested in the life hereabouts over 10,000 years ago than you'd think possible. We crossed the road and climbed the path up to a low cave entrance where we reassembled.

"Right, now there isn't much room inside so we'll do this in groups of four. We are still actively excavating inside so please don't touch anything. Come on you four, you can be first." That was Mad, Sab, Brit and me! We followed Laura through the iron grill then donned the hard hats that she doled out.

"Kewl!" Brit advised

"You look like Bob the Builder Drew" Mad added

I gave her a 'look' in reply. Laura then took us further into the cave. Wow! Laura explained how they were excavating in 1cm cubes and using fancy measuring equipment to plot everything they find. Dad would be well impressed! She showed us some of the tiny bones and pieces of flint, microliths she called them, and crawled into the tiny space that the diggers worked from. Sheesh they must be dedicated or daft, most likely both!

We emerged into the sunshine and Miss Bell left Reg in charge as she joined the next group.

"You'd never even think of rhinoceros's here"

"I thought they only lived in Africa" Sab mentioned

"This hardly looks like the Serengeti" Mad joined in

"It was warmer back then" I told them

"It's like that book you were reading Brit" Sab opined

"Which one?"

"You know that cave thing"

"Clan of the Bear or something. Yeah I guess it is something like that but this is the real thing!"

"You riding tonight Drew?" Rhod asked joining us

"I'd like to, depends when we get back"

"Reg says we'll be home by five"

"You doing more bike racing Drew?" Brit enquired

"Maybe, what about you Mad?"

"If you do" she agreed

"You race too?" Sabrina queried

"I've just started, I borrow Mrs B's bike"

"Kewl!" Brit mentioned

"It's not exactly girl sport" Sab went on

"Mrs B does it! It's pretty neat really" Mad answered

"How'd you get into it?"

"She started coming out with the others to cheer me on" I supplied, "Dad calls them 'Drew's Cheerleaders'."

"Sounds like fun to me" Brit mentioned, "hey I've brought my cheer kit, we could do it proper for you guys eh Sab?"

"Rhod? You coming or what?" Ally called over.

There ensued a second change of cave visitors.

"So girls, everything okay?" Miss Bell asked returning to the light.

"Fine Miss," Brit started, "er, Miz Bell?"

"What Britney?"

"Well like,"

"What she was trying to tell you is that Drew here is a boy" Sab told her.

She looked around the assembled faces a bit puzzled.

"I'm Drew Miss"

"Oh my! I am so sorry Drew. I saw you all together and I never thought"

With one hand to her mouth she sized me up.

"I can see now, but you do look like your friend here"

"Maddy" Mad offered

"Yes Maddy."

"They're cousins Miz Bell, we all thought he was a girl too" Brit went on

By this stage I was just passing from pink to scarlet. Mad and Bernie hugged me from opposite sides.

"When Mr Wood was talking about 'Drew' before I never realised he meant you. You're the one with the famous mum yeah?"

"That's Drew!" Bernie agreed

Laura chose that moment to re-emerge and the conversation returned to ancient history. It took another hour to get back to the centre where we rejoined Mr Wood's group.

"I hope you've all enjoyed this afternoon and will join me in thanking Mike and Laura for their efforts in educating us."

We all joined Mr Wood in a round of applause.

"It's been a pleasure" Mike replied, "thank you"

"Okay then people, you've got ten minutes for the shop and toilets"

Just like any other school trip we all fell on the sales counter, some of us out of habit, others seriously looking for souvenirs. By the time everyone got back to the buses it was more like quarter of an hour but hey, it's only ten minutes back to school! I bought a guidebook thing for Dad; he's got a collection from all over.

By the time we got back to Warsop everything was organised. Mad and me were going to race and the rest would come out to lend a bit of vocal support.

Dad provided the taxi for Brit and Sab, Bern's mum agreed to bring the others out in her Sharan. Mad and I decided to ride out, Mad was starting to get into the whole thing, not serious but enthusiastic! We were a bit surprised when we got to John's car that there was no sign of Dad or the others, ah well!

"Great ride at the weekend young Bond" John greeted me

"Er thanks"

"You okay now?"

"Fine thanks"

"You both riding I take it?"

"Please" Mad replied

"How about 12 and 15?"

"Great, I'll be Drew's rabbit again"

"More like hare!" I joked

Fifteen minutes later I watched as Maddy set off down the hill towards Cuckney and I started my breathing exercises. Deep breath in, hold, out.


I rolled myself down to where John was waiting

"Another personal tonight eh young lady?"

"Er I doubt it"

"Thirty seconds. A little confidence goes a long way"

"I guess"

"Fifteen. Good luck Drew, catch your friend. Ten."

"Thanks" I hit the start button on my computer.

"Five, four, three, two, one, go!"

And I was off again.

You must know this road as well as me by now! I quickly got settled and swept down through the village and kept the momentum going through the HQ area. Fourteen was still in sight as I entered the dip and I was feeling remarkably good. I found out where Dad with Brit and Sabrina got to, just as I passed St Margaret's Hall I spotted the girls leaping about and as I approached them they started chanting 'Drew, Drew, we want you. Yeah, yeah, yeah!'

Dad added his own 'dig, dig, dig" as I drew level.

American cheers The two Americans weren't kidding!.

I mentally shook my head, Brit wasn't kidding. The two Americans were decked out in what I guess were their cheerleading uniforms; there was no way anyone could miss them.

The rest of the gang were stationed at the last crossroads. They were all really vocal but my attention was drawn to the scene ahead of me, Mad was climbing up to the turn by my reckoning about a minute fifteen in front of me with fourteen less than thirty seconds behind her. I just made the brow as Mad headed back past me from the turn with her pursuer closing rapidly. By the time I returned to that point myself Mad was approaching the junction and our secondary cheer squad. Thirteen thirty - excellent time!

I had to concentrate on keeping my cadence steady, I flicked up a gear as I passed the gallery and started to chase Mad down. The gap steadily closed but we were back at cheer central before I caught her. Sabrina and Britney abandoned their choreographed moves in favour of joining Dad in his vocal support at the kerbside. Fourteen was only a few metres in front and I made passing him my aim as we entered the last mile. I took his scalp as we took the last corner and there in front was the finish!


It was over, I coasted along and was surprised when Mad caught up with me what seemed like scant seconds afterwards.


"Urgh huh!" Mad wheezed

"You okay Mad?"

"Ergh, yeah I think"

Well it seems that when I overtook her she decided to try and hang on. So the chaser became the chased and by the finish I only managed to take an extra hundred metres out of her. 24.51 to me, 28.03 for Mad. Incredible, Mad improved over a minute tonight and me, well looks like I'm Miss-ter consistency!

The two of us found our kit and made our way down to where Dad had parked.

"What did you do?" Brit enthused

"Did you win Drew" Sab added

"You look done in Mad"

The questions came thick and fast and the only reply was a tremendous sneeze from Mad!

"You alright Madeline?" Dad asked

"Ye-ye ACHOOO!" we all ducked, "s'just the... A...A...ACHOO! Rape pollen"

"Rape pollen?" Sab queried

"You want a drink or something?" Dad offered


"You know all that yellow stuff in the fields?"

"Its called Rape? Well weird." Brit mentioned

I saw the Rose's dark blue Sharan pull up behind Dads car. Amy, Dan, Darla, Rhod, Ally and Bernie all poured out and we started all over again. Bern and Al decided to take on the vacant masseur's posts, Dad wandered off to talk to Mrs R.

I looked at Mad, Mad looked at me, and we both started giggling! Ten minutes later John came over.

"You two really are a breath of fresh air! I've never seen anyone get the support you two have"

I just shrugged.

"Anyway, what I came over for, next week is the club championship over at Tuxford so don't turn up here"

"Thanks for telling us" Mad was a bit downcast by the news, she's really getting into it! As we don't belong to the club that puts the events on we don't get to ride their championship.

"What I was going to say," John went on, "is that you are both invited to ride next week, you've been out all season supporting us so the guys have 'elected' you both to honorary members"

"Well cool!" Darla mentioned

"Really?" Mad asked

"I wouldn't say so would I now girls?"

"Thanks John, I'd best ask Dad if he can take us"

"I'll grab a word, if need be I'll take you out"

John headed off to where Dad was still talking to Bern's mum.

"Girls?" Amy looked confused, "I thought you were a boy Drew?"

"He is" Mad started to explain, "but John and that lot," she motioned towards the other riders, "have got it in their heads that he's a girl."

"It's complicated" I mentioned

"Cool bikes guys" Dan stated, "Rhod's just been showing me. They're so light, my bike weighs a ton!"

"You should see in Drew's garage, they've got loads of bikes" Brit told him

"I just borrow Mrs B's bike" Mad advised

"We could all go for a ride" Ally suggested

"What about bikes?" Bernie asked

"I bet we could borrow some" Rhod enthused

"Come on kids, time to go" Mrs Rose called over

"Anyone fancy going to Meadowhall tomorrow?" Mad queried

"Shopping?" Dan groaned

"Well we usually catch a film too" I soothed

"Sounds like fun" Darla added

"Bus stop at nine then" Mad pronounced

"See ya"


Dad came back over.

"You two riding or catching a lift?" Dad asked

"Chips?" I suggested

"Okay, lets get the bikes sorted then"

Five minutes later we were away, Dad tooted to John as we passed and we headed home.

"Damn, I didn't bring any spare shoes" I told the car in general, "I'll have to wear these" I mentioned waving a race shoe.

"I've got some spares" Brit advised. I swear these Walter's girls are better equipped than Superman! "Here you go"

She presented me with a pair of sandals.

"Er thanks Brit"

Mad suppressed a giggle. Okay, so they were girl's sandals and with the best will in the world they couldn't be described otherwise. I slipped my socks off and put on the unfamiliar toe post sandals in all their pinkness. No ones going to notice now are they? I mean into the chip shop, buy chips, back to car, couple of minute's tops.

Brit suppressed a smile as I clawed my toes to hold them on.

"Everyone want chips?" Dad asked as we all exited the car.

"Sure" Brit agreed

"Not for me" Sabrina declined the finest food on earth.

We all trooped into the chippy and joined the queue, me very conscious of my footwear.

"Oh hi kids, sampling the local fare?" it was Miss Bell grasping a carrier of deep fried delights who quickly took in our strange array of clothing.

"Hi Miz Bell. We've just been watching Drew and Mad race their bikes"

"And cheering?" she motioned to their almost forgotten cheer outfits.

"Oh yeah well it just seemed a good idea"

"You win guys?"

"Drew beat me by miles" Mad told her

"Well done Drew. Did you all enjoy the trip today?"

"Yeah it was real neat, all that careful digging and stuff, I'd never have the patience" Sabrina mentioned.

"You kids doing anything exciting tomorrow?"

"A bunch of us are going to, where is it Mad?"

"Meadowhall, it's a big shopping centre over at Sheffield" Mad explained

"Might have guessed you'd end up shopping Britney!"

Brit actually started to blush; she's a secret mall bunny!

"Well I'll see you on Thursday then, enjoy your food" Miss Bell concluded.

"Bye Miz Bell"

"You too"

Jessica looked again at the kids in the chip shop. If Drew's really a boy he doesn't make a very good one poor lad. He looks like the other English girl's twin sister, hell; he's even wearing pink sandals! She shook her head and started back to the Johnson's with their supper.

Maddy Bell 07.03.04 Secret © 2004

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