Chris & Julia's Big Day Chapter 4


Whats that ya say? Nena and Gaby? By 'eck nah there's a tale to tell! Sharp does his best with this brand new fanfic which includes characters from both Gaby and Nena!

Part 4

Later that same evening in their bedroom at the Royal Hotel Julia noticed Chris was apparently in a trance. Julia watched him for a few minutes and then spoke,

“Chris are you OK?”

There was no reply. She went and waved her hand in front of Chris. It was several more minutes before Chris came out of the trance. Julia again spoke, “Chris what happened as you apparently went into a trance. Do you feel ok?”

“Sorry Julia I have just realised something and I need to make a couple of telephone calls.” Chris picked up his telephone and rang a number.

“Hello this is the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul Sheffield.”

“Hello I am ringing to check a few details of a wedding on 1st August. I am due to marry my fiance Julia at the cathedral on Yorkshire day,”

“Ah yes I remember now the two Travel guides from Global. You will make a grand couple.”

“The reason I am ringing is while I am legaly male I have just recently discovered I have a medical disorder that is destroying my Y chromosenes and replacing it with an X chromosone. As things are currently I could be the one in the dress by the time of the wedding.”

The Dean spoke, “Actually I have heard of this happening before. Usually Though it is men working in the pharmasutical industry or farming industry that are affected. I presume you and your partner still wish to go ahead with the wedding?”

“Yes we still do, but I thought I better check it could still go ahead considering what is happening to me.”

“Chris I have the Bishop with me and he has heard all you said he wishes to speak with you.”

“Hello Chris, Is your fiance closeby?”

“Yes your Grace I am with Chris. The recent news Chris recieved caused him to go into a trance. I must make it plain I still want to go ahead with the wedding and I will become Chris's legal wife. How he is beginning to look does not bother me in the slightest.”

“Then I can see no problem. The church does not recognise same sex marriages but will perform blessings, In your case though there is no problem and I will perform the wedding for you. If you Chris also wish to dress as a bride that will not bother me.”

Chris, “Thank you your grace. I was getting worried over what was happening to me. I will also have to tell my family what is happening to me” Chris put the telephone down.

Julia, “Chris sometimes you are a ninny. For sometime I have observed the changes in you. Did I not take you to the hairdressers recently? True you did not tell me what the doctor said. Then I do not need a doctor to tell me you are becomming more Nena than Chris. I also have something to tell you. Perhaps it is a good job you have developed breasts. If we see my doctor you might be able to help me breast feed our babies. Yes Chris at least one part of you is still very much male. We are very much pregnant.”

“Julia at the Humber bridge I was having a chat with Gaby. While she is younger than me she also has a similar problem to me. She wants me to go with her to see the team doctor.”

Julia, “Well considering the amount of people they have brought over to England I presume the team doctor is amongst them. I will ask Maria tomorrow if that is so. Now perhaps we can get some sleep Nena as we have an earlly start in the morning.”

6am the next Morning.

Nena, Julia & Maddy had already been up an hour getting themselves ready. Now they were each taking a corridor and started knocking on the doors of the Appolinaris guests. “Early morning call for Apolonaris group. Breakfast will be in half an hour and then we depart.”

“Ok.” Was the reply from all the rooms.”

One by one the bedraggled guests arrived in the dining room to find they where being served coffee. Nena spoke, “It has been decided that we all will have our breakfast in Durham after we all have visited the cathederal there. So as a put you on we are all having coffee to wake us up. I have been instructed to tell you as today will be rather long there will be no training practise rides today. Now as soon as you have finished we will depart.”

The coaches departed from the Royal Hotel and headed the 20 miles to Whitby over the North Yorkshire moors. They passed the forests belonging to the forestry comission and the road over the moors was relativly quiet. The only other living things they saw was rabbits frolicing about on the heathland and a stratled pheasent or grouse suddenly taking flight as their coaches approached About 30 minutes later their coaches were going over the bridge that spans the two parts of Whitby.

Nena, “As you can all clearly see we are on the road that skirts around Whitby centre. Another day we will be comming here to visit. In fact we will be visiting the remains of Whitby Abbey and then you will be spending the rest of the day doing your own thing. It was at Whitby that Dracula was supposed to have arrived in Britain.”

Kat put her hand up. “Please miss who or what is Dracula?”

Gaby's father Dave, “If you do not mind Nena I will answer this question. Dracula was a story that was written by B. Stoker about a Transalvanian Prince who drank his victims blood who arrived at Whitby by boat.”

“Yes I understand now. We all need our crosses and garlic when we go to Whitby then.”

This brought about some laughter from the others on the coach. Soon the North Yorkshire moors gave way to the industrial complex of Teeside. They passed the giant ICI complex and the oil refinery Then it was back into the rural countryside.

Before long the group was pulling up outside the cathedral refectory of Durham.

Nena looked at her notes, “According to my notes we have to visit the Shrine of Saint Cuthbert before we have breakfast.”

As they entered the Cathedral they were greeted by a verger.

Nena, “I have brought some visitors from Germany who wish to see the Shrine of Cuthbert of Northumbria.”

“In that case please follow me as we do not have long before the service commences.”

They had just got to the shrine which looked like a stone slab with the words Cuthbertus on it and it was surrounded by a red rope chain. They had just arrived at the shrine when a priest accompanied by two servers walked to the shrine. At first Nena was pussled with the language the priest was using, and then she realised he was speaking in Latin. Then the priest bent down and kissed the shrine and spoke in English.

“Welcome honoured guests. Normally we would be accompanied by the catheral choir, but as it is the annual holiday the choir are away.”

Kat edged forward and attracted the attention of the priest.

“Sir would Cuthbert mind if I sing and perhaps some of my friends will accompany me. I can sing in German or English.”

The priest smiled, “Cutbert would have spoken Anglo-Saxon & Latin so I am sure he would love to here your voice. Perhaps the song of Mary or Ave Maria would suffice.”

Maria sung the first verse in German and then did it again in English. Each time she changed to English the others joined in. The newly installed Bishop of Durham the Rev Richard Seed happened to be in the cathederal and heard the singing. He made his way to Cuthbert's shrine. There he joined Kat in singing the German version. The bishop then spoke,

“Friends our Lord has sent his angels amongst us on this Saint Cuthberts day. I say angel because that was certainly the voice of an angel we all heard sing to us. Even Cuthbert in his slumber could not have failed to have missed it.”

Nena spoke to Maria, “That would be a good name for the Junior Team The Appolinaris Angels.”

Shortly after this they left the Cathedral for the refectory and their breakfast. Then they where continuing up the A1 and branching off for Holy Isle or Lindisfarne as it is also knowm. The group was tucking into their breakfast when the Bishop Seed also arrived in the refectory.

“Hello again did I hear you correctly in the cathedral? you call this group of young ladies the Apollinaris Angels?”

Maria curtsied, “Your grace all these people you see here are representatives of Appolinaris. The junior teams have just decided to call themselves the Angels after you suggested it.”

The bishop was grinning all over his face. “May I speak with the senior reprasentative please? I was wondering if the girls would be able to come back tonight to sing in our evening service as it is a rather special service?”

Maria looked across to Den for guidance as he was one of the drivers. “Lord Bishop we have to go to Lindisfarne and then to Hexham Abbey. The party will then have a long run home to Scarborough but it is possable to acommodate your request. We though will need to inform the hotel that we will be back late and find somewhere to dine for our evening meal.”

“Ah in that case as another saint has sent us angels on this Cuthberts day I will ask the refectory staff to stay on. Now you young lady by any chance would you be after singing at the other places?”

Kat grinned, “I promised the Lord and my Monsenior if I got chance I would sing in every church of god we visited in the kingdom of Northumbria?”

The bishop replied, “In that case as god's representative I better see you get your wish. As I also have to visit those places so could you accomodate this Bishop? Also I need a choir for today perhaps your friends would help you.”

The Dean of Durham the Rev John Bird approached, “Your Grace your transport has developed a problem. Did you tell the girls we will provide them with gowns for the choir?”

Maria's mother, “Gentlemen as you may have gathered our brand is also the name of a Saint. In our part of Germany we are deeply religious. It was at my request we are visiting most of the major churches in Northumbria. This is the first on my list but we will visit others. Now while the bishop has taken the last place on one coach we have other places on the remaing two. So gentlemen if you wish to accompany us you are welcome.”

The bishop looked at Nena, “You appear to be the tallest of the girls will you carry Cuthberts cross?”

Nena smiled, “Your Grace at one time I carried the cross of Peter & Paul in my home town of Sheffield. I consider it a priveledge to be asked to carry Cuthberts cross. He was after all Bishop of Northumbria”

Bishop Richard, “For most of my clerical life I have been living in Yorkshire. I would like to look at your itinnary and if possable I will try and meet up with you again. I presume you have the great Minster of York on your list. Until recently I was Archdecon there. So I would like to show you round there.”

Some of the vergers came carrying boxes and others robes. The girls and most of the women of the senior team found a robe that would fit them. In the boxes there was some hymn sheets. Gaby picked one up and started singing. The others followed Gabys lead and took a sheet each.

Some of the fathers who where on the coach said, “Dean if you and your collegues wish to go with the girls we will move to the other coaches. It will allow you to practise with them.”

One of the vergers started to laugh. “Your grace the ancient prophecy appears to be comming true. “An ancient god shall at the behest of Peter and Paul tread the route of Cuthbert and Wilfred. The young queen of Northumbria shall arise and with her angels sweep all aside and titles take. She will asume the title of the once great queen who accompanies her all the time.”

Young Beryl looked at her mother Denise. “My Lord Bishop the young queen is Gaby Bond she already is British & European junior champion. The once great Queen is my grandma who was British cycle champion for 25 years. I carry grandma's ashes with me all the time. We here are the friends and companions of Gaby Bond. We also are known as the Angels. An ancient god could be the first part of our teams name and that would give you Apollo. In Germany you will often find churches dedicicated to St Appolinaris”

The bishop. “Gaby or should it be Gabriel? By any chance have we a Seraphiel, Ariel, Raphael and Uriel here?

Several hands shot up. “So my car not working was pre ordained. I suppose if I was to name other classes of angels I would probably find them among you.”

Nena, “Sir it is only a coincidence their names are similar to those of Arch angels. They are only young girls who love cycling.”

With that exchange the group went to their designated coaches.

Onboard the coaches.

As soon as they were all aboard thecoaches Nena took the microphone.

“Welcome to our guests from Durham cathederal. Our driver Den informs me the tide should be out by the time we get to the crossing and so we will be able to drive across to Holy Isle safely. One thing I must make clear is because of the tide we need to stick to a strict departure time. So if you are late you will be swimming back. Soon we will be passing the Angel of the North which is situated at the side of the motorway. Some people describe it as like an aeroplane diving head first into the ground. Others as a rusty pile of scrap. If time permits we will stop by her on our return journey. Now though Den is going up the A1 at the maximum speed he is allowed.”

As they traveled along the A1 they passed many castles some derilict and others in good order. Nena gave a slight history of each as they neared them.

The Archdeacon of Durham was sat next to Maria's mother he was thinking to himself but spoke what he was thinking. “She organises the others like Michael would and cares for them like Christopher.”

Maria's mother, “Yes I tend to agree she does a good job. That is why I asked my daughter Maria to track her down and offer her the job of looking after the junior team. Funny thing is the Junior captain beat me and got her to agree to ride in the Tri peaks race with her. Sorry I did not explain how I and Maria meet Nena. It was a while ago at our castle in Austria and we had staff problems. Nena turned up with her tour group & she agreed to help us out by dressing in period costume and taking the clients round. I offered her a job then but she explained she had to fufill her contract obligations. She did though agree to come on her rest days to help us out.”

“Sorry madam I was speaking my thoughts. I bet if I said some of the other saints names we would find them in this group. What it the main purpose of this trip?”

“Initially we had intended comming to the International conferance and exhibition centre in Harrogate for the bike show. Every major manufacturor will be there. Then I had a dream that was explicit. It was that vivid I wrote my dream down. Maria happened to pick up my notes and said Mum this is brillient we can take the team and the support staff. The idea was put to the other directors and it was passed. At the same time Maria informed me she had found Nena & was going to make it a term of the contract with the coach firm in Britain Nena was employed.”

Shortly after this Bishop Richard got the girls singing. Before they knew it they had turned off the motorway and were going down a country lane. Then they saw the causeway to Lindisfarne. Nena pointed the towers that were at the side of the road. They were raised quite high.

“Those are safe havens if you get stranded by the tide comming in.”

On Lindisfarne there was the remains of the abbey and some shops and the castle. In the grounds of the abbey there was a statue of Saint Cuthbert. It was by the statue of Cuthbert that Bishop Richard took the service. The group then went for their lunch. After lunch the group had an hour to explore the island.

Some of the group went to the shops and bought Holy Isle Mead & wine. Kat went into the museum & bought a copy of the Lindisfarne Gospel. Mandy & Julia went shopping.

Nena went off on her own and sat down by the statue. She spoke to it as if it was a real person. “Well Cuthbert we shortly have to go on to your Abbey of Hexham. Sometimes I do not know who I am. What would you think if you were alive now? Here I am a boy dressed like a girl and slowly turning into one.”

Nena was startled when a voice spoke to her. “Christopher Michael, God already knows your heart. As for what I think. I would have said be your self. Nena is part of yourself. Your friends all know that. The people you work with already see you as a beatiful young woman. Tell Kat I apreciated her singing to me in German it is so long since I heard that language in my cathederal.”

Jennifer Lampkin gently tapped Nene on the shoulder. “Sorry Nena about waking you, we left you sleeping as long as we could. Everybody else is aboard the coaches and we are the last.”

Nena kissed the statue. “Sorry Cuthbert thank you for looking after me unfortunatley we will have to go before the tide starts to turn.”

Jennifer, “Nena you are talking to a statue of Cuthbert. Are you ok?”

“No need to worry about me Jennifer. Cuthbert talked with me while I slept. He told me to be myself.”

They got back to the coach and found the two front seats had been left for them. Den spoke, “So Nena you have decided to come with us rather than continue sleeping with your boyfriend?”

“Den how could you suggest such a thing. I was resting my eyes that is all.”

“It is ok Nena I have already checked everybody else is on board the coach. So now you are here we can depart. Greta was paniking a little that we might be stranded or get caught by the tide on the causeway. I had to assure her that we had plenty of time to get across before the tide came in.”

“OK Den it is Hexham next stop.” Nena picked up the microphone. “We I hope you all enjoyed yourselves. As you can tell from the banter with Den I took the oppertunity to have a little rest. It should not take us long for us to cross the causeway. As you can clearly see in half an hour we would not have been able to do the crossing. Now though we are back in Northumberland and on our way to the main road.”

Jennifer said to Nena, “Do you mind if I tell you a condensed version of my life?!

“No I do not mind one bit.”

“Well as you will have gathered I come from famous a motorbike family. We start with Grandpa and his brother George. Between them they have both been great riders. Grandpa was world champion for a long time. Then there is my Dad Douggie who is the current world champion. At one time we lived in Silsden but dad moved us to the Isle of Man. Of course my uncles all try to relieve him of his title. Then there is little old me the only girl in the family of boys & I who loves mountain biking. Dad believes a girl is just as good as a boy and so I was taught from an early age to ride motorbikes. I also have to think will it be me or one of my cousins who continues the family tradition of being world champion. In a way I am countnuing the tradition as I am currently the world junior champion.”

“Jennifer a friend once gave me some great advise. Be yourself rather than do what you think might please others.”

“So your friends advice might mean as I like mountain biking to go and do that? On the other hand I do like beating my cousins. They all push me hard because I am a girl. They all tease me & I have to try and better them.

Well they maybe family but I cannot let them win. I will continue to do both and try my very best in both events, Not because Gaby asked me to join her team but because it is something I have wanted to do. Win or lose the Lampkin clan will be there to offer me support. Now tell me a little about yourself Nena.”

“Well I was brought up on the Yorkshire - Nottingamshire border. You could say I was a bit boyish in my younger days. (This brought a giggle from Gaby). I was in the choir at the ancient parish church of Sheffield. It has been the cathederal since about 1914. Once I left school I got a job with Global as a courier/tour guide. I soon learned that I earned more money at work if I appeared to be more feminine, rather than the tomboy look.

This was to be my last job before my marriage on the 1st August. I had quite a shock when Bill my boss payed me off and told me Global had gone into liquidation. Then Maria offered me a job looking after the junior team & Gaby persuaded me to ride with her in the Tri peaks race. Riding the tri peaks race is something I was considering doing before Gaby asked me to accompany her.”

Jennifer gave a squeel and then hugged Nena. “So you are also on the mountain bike team like me and are not just our chaperone. Gaby told me some of the girls are going to be bridesmaids is that true? All my cousins are boys & will never need me for that job.”

“Jennifer you have just reminded me the bridesmaids need fitting up. We have less than three weeks to get them all sorted out and I have no idea where to look for them.”

“Oh I can help you there as I was having a girls day out with mum in Leeds. I spotted some in both British Home Stores and Debenhams. They looked nice and were reasonable in cost.”

Kat who was in the seat behind spoke. “That is settled then, Nena tomorrow we all go and choose our dresses. Jennifer & Beryl you both are now part of our group so you will also come and choose a dress.”

Maria, “In Germany it is a tradition that bridesmaids pay for their own outfits, but the bride and groom buy them a necklace or bracelet or a prayer book.”

Mandy, “Same tradition here in England. I do know somebody who had wanted lots of bridesmaids. Now it appears she will get her wish.”

Beryl looked across at her mother. Denise, “If all the others are going to be bridesmaids then you should be also.”

The Bishop who had been listening to the banter asked Nena where and when she was getting married?

“On Yorkshire day the 1st August at the Cathederal Church of St Peter & St Paul in Sheffield at 10.30. The Bishop Dr Hope is performing the service. If you want to come and help him then you would be welcome at the service and reception.”

Before long the three coaches were pulling up outside the abbey at Hexham. There they found quite a lot of people were stood around. The Bishop explained. “All the people have come to celebrate Cuthbert's Day. It will be similar when we get back to Durham.”

 As the coaches pulled into the allocated parking spaces a group of priests approached each coach/ Den opemed the door and the priest boarded the coach. “Is this the Bishops party?”

“Yes all three coaches are. Did you get the cassocks in adult sizes I requested. We only need one on this coach for the driver.”

Den was promptly handed a large black cassock and asked to put it on. Meanwhile the girls had slipped into their golden yellow cassocks. The passengers and drivers on the other two coaches found they where similar attire.

The Bishop said, “Nena, you carry Cuthbert's cross, so you lead us all. Kat & Jools can you both lead us to the altar singing the 23 Psalm or the Lord is my Shepherd as it is more commonly known you three singing the first verse and the angels will come in on the second verse. The remainder of us will join you on the third verse.”

Nena as she had been taught fixed her eyes on the high alter and with head erect slowly started the procession. Unknown to the girls a film crew from Yorkshire / Tyne - Tees Television was filming the event as a local media interest. The producer took the decision to transmit the service live. Somebody back in Leeds had pushed the wrong button and instead of being broadcast localy the service went national. The feed was picked up by many channels across Europe including the Vatican channel.

Back in Germany in Kat's home town the parish priest Monsenior Waibel switched on the Vatican channel. The announcer spoke,

“Today we bring you two special services to celebrate the life of Cuthbert of Northumbria. The first service is from Hexham Abbey and the second is this evening in Durham Cathederal. I understand the choir has been provided by Saint Appolinaris and the junior choir are called the angels.”

Kat and the others though did not realise the service was being transmitted across all major networks. The girls just continued to sing with their hearts.

Bishop Richard. “I have a few announcements to make. First I would like to thank our friends from Appolinaris for providing me with the choir and transport after mine broke down. As most of you will know at the insistance of the Northern doctors I helped found Martin House. In those days I was just a mere vicar at Boston Spa. Well to raise further funds for them I came up with the idea of a sponcered disabled bike ride. This will take place on Sunday in Scarborough. I hope as many of you who can will come and support us. Hopefully I can persuade the Apollinaris choir to join us there.”

Gaby, Jennifer & Beryl approached the Bishop.

Beryl, “Bishop Richard while we do not speak for the whole team the Yorkshire contingent of Appolinaris will be there to give rides to any disabled children.”

Jennifer, “Gaby and I are both champions in our own right. Me in motorbike and Gaby in bikes. All three of us come from famous sporting families. We are united in supporting Bishop Richard in raising funds for less fortunate children.”

Gaby, “I maybe the smallest of the group, but I am the Junior captain and so represent all the Junior team. On Saturday we will be holding the ride of the champions this is also a fund raising event to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Bishop Richard the junior choir or Angels as we are called will certainly be there not only to sing but give rides as well. Now I call on my friend Greta and her mother Sonja to come up and speak.”

The two approached, Greta, “Please forgive mine English is nicht gut.” Then she burst into tears.

Sonja took over,

“Bishop Richard we have spent the best part of the day with you. Greta is sad because my elder daughter is back in Germany being looked after by her father following surgery to remove a growth. We are lucky that she could be treated. Hopefully they will be able to join us shortly.”

Sonja looked across at Maria & Jenny who nodded their heads.

“I represent the senior team and they all wish to be involved in your fund raising effort. As you can see we know the shock & stress families can go through when they find their childern have an illness that could be terminal”

Gaby, “I have a disabled friend who I have taken riding on my bike after the soldiers of the Yorkshire regiment adapted it so she could come with me. I know of other children who have used the facilities provided by Martin House. Please come and support us on both days.”

Back in Germany the Monsenior was watching the television when the telephone rang. “Hello Monsenior Waibel here.”

“This is the Vatican, the Holy Father wishes to speak to you.”

“Are you watching the Vatican channel? I have just been informed of a clerical error. Cuthbert of Northumbria was put forward for saint hood a long time ago. In Britain he is recognised as a saint but the rest of the world do not recognise him. As from today though he is officially a saint and will be recognised by all branches of christianity. I know this is a rush but transport has been laid on for you to get you to Newcastle Airport and then take you to Durham Cathederal. The documents you need are being faxed over as we speak.”

The monsenior set the video recorder to record the remainder of the service and then saw his house keeper had already packed his bag and there was a car waiting for him at the front door. He tore off the documents from the fax machine and looked at them. He gave a whistle. The driver wasted no time in taking him to the airport There he boarded a flight to Newcastle Airport. The Monsenior found himself sat near the emergancy exit and by him was a man & daughter he recognised.

“Are you going to join your sister and mama in England?”

The man, “Yes Father she has been given the all clear at the clinic or at least she is in remission. Although she still is very weak from the treatment she recieved. Did you see my wife and daughter on the telivision? We are hoping we can get a taxi to take us to Durham cathederal and then we can join our family there.”

“Yes I spotted them along with other members of my flock including Kat who informed me she had promised god she would try and sing in every church she visited while in Britain. As for you two your transport problem is resolved as I am also going to Durham on the expressed orders of the Holy Father.”

Sonja's husband , “In that case we will share the cost of the taxi with you.”

“You will not as the taxi is already paid for.”

“Well in that case I will treat you to a meal once we arrive in Durham. What are you going to Durham for if you do not mind me being nosy?”

“It appears as from today the Holy father has elevated me to the status of cardinal although I am still in the robes of a Monsenior. My main duty will be to look after the spiritual well being of team Apollinaris. I will be a roving Cardinal going where the team goes. Also I have to rectify a clerical error going back hundreds of years. The Holy Father himself intends to come and hand the correct documentation over. However I have to get this fax to Durham and present it tonight. Aparently Cuthbert was made a Saint a long time ago. It was never formally ratified though as the document was misplaced in the Vatican libary.”

Nena & group left Hexham Abbey still totally unaware that the service had been broadcast and made their way towards Durham. The three coaches pulled in at the Angel of the North and the party got out. Everyone took photographs and then they set off again for Durham.

Meanwhile the taxi was pulling up in the Cathedral concourse. Waiting for it was the Archbishop of Liverpool who was accompanied by the Bishops of Hallam, Hexham, Lancaster. Leeds, Middlesborough & Salford.

“Cardinal Waibel welcome. Only the Northern bishops managed to get here in time to welcome you. Hopefully the others will be able to meet you and the Holy Father at the Great Minster of York. I have to issue you with your badge of office.” Monsenior Waibel puts on a bright red cassock.

“Thank you brothers in Christ. This came as a shock to me. Earlier today I was setteling down to watch the Vatican channel when I got the phone call that was to alter my life.”

One of the female vergers approached the group. “Gentlemen would you like to come and wait in the Chapter house? You will find it is far warmer in there than out here. We have other guests getting robed in there.”

Cardinal Waibel, “Yes that would be nice. Is it possable that we could borrow a couple of robes for these two. This is Isolde & she will join the Angels tonight. This is her father who will carry the St Apollinaris cross tonight & he would apreciate the loan of a black robe.”

As they where ready to enter the cathederal a mini coach with 21 men got out. One wearing a black robe & a black hat came running across.

“Oh good we are in time. I & some friends where having a party in Bradford when the call came. Sorry I did not introduce myself. Bishop Georgio Christopholis of the Orthodox church. The others as you can see are my brothers from the Anglican, Catholic & Orthodox churches.”

They all followed the verger to the Chapter House. They were greeted with “Ah Liverpool I see you have brought some of those I could not contact.”

Bishop Georgio, “Archbishop John I was holding a celebration when my friend father Peter came and informed me a new cardinal was on his way to Durham & that York & Liverpool wanted all bishops & clergy there for tonights service. As the other bishops were with me we all decided to come here.”

The verger handed Isolde a gold cassock. Then handed one to her father. She then brought a red cushion and took the fax off Cardinal Wabel. She rolled it up and tied it with a red ribon and then laid it on the cushion. Bishop Richard will go with the choir. Then you sir will lead the prosession followed by the angel and then Cardinal Waibel. Then the archbishops side by side will be followed by the bishops.”

Archbishop John looked at Isolde. “Are you feeling a bit nervous?”

“No sir it is just I am still a little weak following treatment for cancer.”

“Come sit on this seat. You can always tell your friends you have sat in the bishops chair.”

Isolde went and sat down. “Thank you sir.”

Meanwhile Bishop Richard had arrived and was surprised to see more clergy arrive just in front of them. He noticed they were all ushered away and then the vergers arrived. One handed him his mitre and another his crook a third fastened a gold cloak on the bishop. Nena realised they were going to prosess from the coaches to the main door of the cathederal. The six vergers went after the choir but before the bishop. As they got to the main door the great organ started. Nena took a deep breath and along with the two lead girls started to sing. The vergers had asked the girls if they would stand on the steps of the high altar. When the second procession started the girls realised why they were in the choir stalls. The visiting bishops all took those seats. York & Liverpool went to the high altar and stood either side of Bishop Seed..

Cardinal Waibel & his small group stood waiting at the front of the Chancel.

Bishop Seed held his arms up.

“Welcome friends. Today has been a strange day for me. I entered this church of Cuthbert this morning to hear an angel singing in German. My transport broke down & I ended up spending the day with a host of angels. Last week when I was enthroned as the latest Bishop of Durham I never expected to be the one to recieve a document from Rome that recognises Cuthbert as a saint.”

Isolde and the cardinal went up the steps of the high alter while her father joined the remainder of the choir. Cardinal Waibel took the cushion off Isolde and passed it to Liverpool who passed it to York he passed it to Durham who then went and laid the cushion on Cuthberts tomb. Archbishop John noticed Isolde going white and went and took her to his seat.

“Young lady you had better take my seat. You need if far more than I do.”

Isolde gave a very quiet “Thank you.”

Archbishop John,

“When I awoke this morning I did not expect the day I have had. I thought I had got rid of Richard to Durham. Life for me was never dull when he was around. I have had a few stories to tell of when he was a curate in the town of Skipton. Richard as a curate could not afford a car and so trtaveled eveeywhere on his bike.

On one occasion he had agreed to meet friends at the Red Lion Hotel. The landlord spoke to Richards friends. Did I see somebody ride through the pub on a bike? A few seconds later Richard appeared on his bike. He started saying he had bought a new waterproof that he was wearing. The landlord asked Richard if it had been christened. Richard looked pussled until the landlord emptied a soda syphon over him. I also have seen the serious side of him.

The same friend who told me that story also informed me Richard always had high aspirations & some times signed himself his Holyness Richard or Archbishop Seed. To find he has surrounded himself with angels comes as no surprise.

What did surprise me was a telephone call from Pope Benedict. I was informed of a clerical error that was to be corrected. Benedict wanted to appoint two clerics to look after the junior and senior Appolinaris members. He wanted those appointed to be both Anglican & Catholic.

So as from today Bishop Seed will also be a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. Likewise Cardinal Waibel will from today hold the Anglican title of Bishop of Craven. Now I will pass you over to the trainee Archbishop that sits in my seat.”

Archbishop John passed Isolde a note. She read it and smiled. “Ladies and gentlemen I am going to introduce the Angels to you who will sing to you in German.”

The rest of the service went without a hitch. Gaby and the others took the robes off and were going to hand them back. Bishop Seed said, “No you will need them for the other churches you visit.”

Cardinal Waibel looked puzzled. Richard spoke, “You get to stay with them all the time. I will be there when they visit other places and this weekend.”

Greta came and gave her sister a hug. Isolde said, “Greta this is my friend Archbishop John & he has promised me I can sit in his seat.”

Greta looked at Archbishop John. “Wow sis you do not do things by half measures.” Greta then noticed Cardinal Waibel.

He grinned at Greta. “Your sister also has a Cardinal or two among her friends. I look forward to meeting you all At York in three weeks time. Now though I must leave as I have quite a journey to home in Bishopthorpe.”

Nena clapped her hands and spoke, “I am sorry if I appear to be a party pooper but the Appolinaris party will have to be departing as we have to return to Scarborough.”

With that the group said their farewells.

By now most of the group was tired. Greta had Isolde sit at the side of her. Greta was going to introduce her sister but then noticed most of her friends were asleap in their seats. Nena counted the occupants and then they set off again.

“Greta it looks like they are all sleeping perhaps we should also rest our eyes.”

Nena, “I will give you a call in two hours time.”

In the end it was Den who told everybody to awake as they had arrived back. The Hotel had provided hot chocolate for everybody. Then they went to their rooms.


Sharp 24.02.08 © 2008

Pictures by Maddy and Sharp © 2004 - 8





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