“Hmm, that thigh's a bit weepy.” Jemma noted.
“But it's scabbing up.”
“It needs a bit of air to dry it up.”
“I am not wearing a skirt again!”
“Whoa, calm down, I wasn't even going to suggest that, just go commando in bed tonight?”
“Er sure.” I sighed.
“Let's get some antiseptic on there for now.”
She carefully smeared the cream over my hip causing the occasional wince from my end.
“The skirt thing last night, you've done it before, right?”
“Too often, ouch!”
“Sorry, too often?”
“You know about my um, condition right?”
“Caroline explained.” She agreed.
“Well when I said too often I meant all the time.”
“What do you mean? You're a cross dresser?”
“Not exactly, look this goes no further right?”
“I said on Sunday, nothing's changed.”
“Okay, what if I was to tell you most people think I'm a girl.”
“Well I did first time we met.”
“Yeah but I mean like everyone. When I started school in Germany, well I hadn't been there a week before everyone was treating me as one of the girls – even the teachers.”
“Didn't you put them straight?”
“I tried but when some wag entered me for the local wine queen competition it just seemed easier to go along with it.”
“So what happened, with the competition?”
“I won.” I admitted.
“Didn't your parents say anything?”
“They weren't exactly pleased I'll tell you. I got an ultimatum, honour the prize and embrace girl hood for the year or make everyone look daft for voting for a boy with all the social stigma involved. So okay, I wimped and took the easy out of not rocking the boat.”
“So you've been living as a girl since last year?”
“Sort of, it was a bit of a lark to start with but now, well everyone knows me as Gaby, youngest daughter of Jenny Bond.”
“Long story.” I observed.
“But you race as Drew, right?”
“Uh huh, but I still get mistaken as a girl.”
‘Interesting choice of words. ' Jemma mused.
“It's not like I dress like a girl at races or anything.”
“People see what they want to see.” Jem allowed.
My stomach gave a very audible rumble.
“Sounds like someone's hungry.”
“What do you reckon it is tonight?” Claire asked.
“Probably egg and chips.” Darren offered.
“Whatever it is I wish they'd hurry up, I'm starved.” I observed.
Timing eh, at that moment Eve and Lidia arrived with our starters which tonight was actually a light minestrone soup bearing little in common with the stuff you get in tins. Silence descended on our tables as everyone tucked in to the food. Giovanni and Claudio were fighting with something that looked like a cross between a tent and a cake stand – hey, maybe we've got cake for dinner.
We made short work of the soup – well we're hungry! The girls collected our soup bowls and our attention returned to the strange contraption Claudio was still fiddling with.
“I wonder what that's for?” Claire queried.
“Clothes drier?” Sal suggested.
“Why would it be out here?” Mand asked.
“No idea.” Sal admitted.
Giovanni reappeared and came over to the BC enclave.
“Good eve -a-ning laydeez and gentlemen, no a boat trips tonight, my Maria, she prepare a special treat.”
My attention was temporarily taken by activity around the weird contraption, the arrival of several large covered tureens – interesting.
“So a tonight we a have the pasta feast.” Giovanni went on. “Iss a aiuta te stesso, how you say self a service so you can sample the different pasta and sauce. Eat, return, try other, Eve, she a bring a you the plate then you go to the servitoro, so please, enjoy.” He grinned.
Oh boy, a pasta bun fight!
Giovanni went to talk to the adults leaving us chomping at the bit. To be fair Eve arrived in short order with the warm plates which she distributed along with a linen napkin to hold them with.
“Please ladies, go before the boys, eh?” she suggested with a wink.
I guess that includes me as I'm on the same table. The five of us headed to the now fully laden ‘servitoro' as Giovanni called it.
“Oh my god, how much food?” Laura exclaimed.
Indeed there was a ton. The big tureens each contained pretty standard pasta, spaghetti, fusilli, conchigliette and tagliatelli. Smaller dishes were filled with assorted cannelloni, tortellini, ravioli and gnocchi, fresh salad of course and the sauces, Milanese, bolognese, carbonara and a couple more I couldn't immediately put a name to. Pasta feast – no kidding!
It would be easy to pile your plate with spaghetti and a dose of sauce but that would be such a waste.
“What're you having Drew?” Mand asked.
“Bit of this and that.” I supplied helping myself to a meat filled cannelloni.
“What're those little knotted things?” Claire enquired.
“The tortellini?” I brandished the serving spoon at the dish.
“No the other.”
“Gnocchi, probably got some sort of cheese inside, here, try some.” I offered her the spoon.
Somehow I've taken on the position of food expert on this trip, I guess I do take an interest and we do eat a wide variety of stuff at home. I suppose most people know the popular pasta options like spaghetti but let's face it most of the time it comes in either bolognese or carbonara sauce or even a pretty nasty tomato flavoured coating. This here is the real McCoy served how it's supposed to be – a different experience altogether.
I continued loading my plate, a few ravioli, some gnocchi; I passed on the tortellini but shoveled half a spoon of the fusilli on. I went for the Milanese sauce, added some salad leaf, a generous spoon of parmesan et voila I'm ready to munch! The others followed my lead and we were soon tucking in as the lads took their turn at the grub.
“Hmm.” I allowed on discovering the contents of the ravioli to be a bit spicier than I was expecting.
“This is really good.” Mand offered around a fork full of tagliatelli.
“Worth waiting for.” Sal agreed.
I purposely hadn't loaded my plate too much – I rather fancy some spag bol too.
We were all pretty lost in the food for a while, some had enough with one visit, I did get my spag bol but managed to over face myself somewhat. Dessert was a lemon sorbet, just as well it wasn't much more or I might not have managed it! As the girls brought the coffee Chris stood up.
“Okay people, attention please. Some feast eh? Well I'm not going to talk food; rather it's the plan for tomorrow. As you know we'll be travelling up into Switzerland, it's not too long a drive, a couple of hours hopefully so we don't need to leave at the crack of dawn. That doesn't mean there's not a schedule, far from it.
So, breakfast, done and dusted by nine please, bags to reception for nine thirty, depart at ten. No riding tomorrow so once we get to Lucerne the afternoon is all yours for sightseeing etc. or I understand there's a pool if anyone's interested.
There wasn't really anything to query about tomorrow, Mark's question was looking forward.
“What about Friday, we got registration and stuff?”
“We have, I'll sort that all out once we get to our hotel tomorrow, I'll let you know the schedule at dinner. Anything else?”
There being nothing further the briefing ended and we were turned free.
“Anyone fancy the beach again?” Sal queried.
“I guess.” I allowed, my very vague arrangement with Toni in the back of my mind.
“Swimmies?” Claire suggested.
“You betcha!” Mand agreed.
“Guys? Beach?” Laura called across to the other table.
“Sounds good like,” Josh opined.
“Aye count me in,” Jamie added.
“Fifteen minutes?” Claire put forward.
“Anyone not here will have to catch us up.” Mand stated.
With my physique boy's swim shorts are out and let's face it, I am not a girl with a supply of bikinis at my disposal – that would be like so wrong and anyhow with my scrapes and bruises it's not exactly a good idea to get in the lake. I trooped upstairs though, well I'm not going out in a t shirt with Bolognese all over it am I?
I should let Toni know we're coming, I sort of owe him an ice cream from the other night, he did stay with me for like three hours or something. I flicked my handy open, T for Toni, one entry. I hit the dial button.
It rang several times before being answered.
“Hallo, is a Toni here.”
“I know that Dumbo.” I giggled. Okay so I giggle a bit.
“Everything, it ees okay?”
“Very okay, look we're all heading around to the beach in a few minutes, wondered if you and your friends'll be about?”
“I have the chores to do but maybe in a thirty minutes?”
“Thirty minutes is good.”
“We'll see you soon, ciao bella.”
I closed my phone. It's not a date, we're just meeting up, I mean everyone else will be there too. Damn, these shorts are rubbing a bit.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 14.07.13