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Not sure why i did that, but a lot of people feel this - because today in the UK we have what they like to call a failure to communicate.

So, the brief points.  The UK referendum for staying in the EU ended up 52%-48% to leave.  Pundits have given various theories, such as Project Fear campaigning backfired, deep seated resentment at the government and experts, to a case of F**K U from the electorate.  Essentially, London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, everyone else to exit.

Nigel Farage hogged the limelight as the leaders of the official campaign kept their promise to say nothing before the official result was announced.

David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister, pending appointment of a new leader of the Conservative party by October.  I give him credit for a dignified resignation speech.

Even the triumvirate of Gough, Johnson and Stuart were dignified in claiming victory.

The SNP have given notice they think they have grounds for a new Independence Referendum.

A vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corben has been started.

The Pound and the Stock Market dropped, but that seems to be recovering.

Cameron wants the new Prime Minister to start the formal exit process - Brussels wants it done more quickly.   But that new Prime Minister is effectively elected by members of the Conservative party - can you say General Election?

So, we live in interesting times.  Thing about interesting times, is they can be scary as hell...

Oh - and Donald Trump is in the Country.  To my friends in the US, I say this - we can do stupid things as well.

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Not sure why i did that, but a lot of people feel this - because today in the UK we have what they like to call a failure to communicate.

So, the brief points.  The UK referendum for staying in the EU ended up 52%-48% to leave.  Pundits have given various theories, such as Project Fear campaigning backfired, deep seated resentment at the government and experts, to a case of F**K U from the electorate.  Essentially, London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, everyone else to exit.

Nigel Farage hogged the limelight as the leaders of the official campaign kept their promise to say nothing before the official result was announced.

David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister, pending appointment of a new leader of the Conservative party by October.  I give him credit for a dignified resignation speech.

Even the triumvirate of Gough, Johnson and Stuart were dignified in claiming victory.

The SNP have given notice they think they have grounds for a new Independence Referendum.

A vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corben has been started.

The Pound and the Stock Market dropped, but that seems to be recovering.

Cameron wants the new Prime Minister to start the formal exit process - Brussels wants it done more quickly.   But that new Prime Minister is effectively elected by members of the Conservative party - can you say General Election?

So, we live in interesting times.  Thing about interesting times, is they can be scary as hell...

Oh - and Donald Trump is in the Country.  To my friends in the US, I say this - we can do stupid things as well.
Tonight, on In Their Own Words, we look into a series of recent home invasions linked by one unusual theme.  We start in Liverpool, where forty five year old Toni came home from a shopping trip to Liverpool 1...

I remember it was late October, because I was looking for an outfit for Halloween – so I was wearing a large sweatshirt, dark grey body with a pattern on the front, and lighter grey sleeves.  I had the sleeves pulled up my arms because – well, because I wanted to.  My outfit was completed by a pair of old jeans, and over the legs of those jeans a pair of black leather over the knee boots, that had a two inch wooden heel.  They were an old pair – and by old I mean over twenty years old – but I liked them.

Anyway – I was looking for a Halloween outfit, and I found one, so I was happy to head home and relax for the evening.  The bus ride back didn’t take too long, and I let myself in, taking the clothes to my room and then heading down to the kitchen.

Now, I have a very distinctive kitchen – red cupboards and doors, and a white tile arrangement.  I mean, when I was a kid it was nothing spectacular to have this, but now...

Losing the point, however – I went into the kitchen, intent on making myself a coffee, and I did just that – put the kettle on, put some Maxwell House and milk into a mug, poured in the hot water, stirred it around, put the spoon in the sink – and then found myself unable to say anything as I was grabbed from behind, and a gloved hand clamped firmly over my mouth.

Well, of course I tried to call out, and then I heard a voice saying “I like your sweatshirt – it would be a pity to get blood or something worse over it, so calm down and do as I say.”

Why are those words stuck so firmly in my head?  Because it was a woman who said them, as I was made to lean over the work surface, and my arms pulled behind my back.  I felt whoever she was cross my wrists, and then heard the rasping sound as a zip tie was used to secure them tightly together.

Well, I guessed this was going to be a robbery, and I had already realised the best thing to do was exactly what she told me to do, so that she was out of there as quickly as possible.

So, when she told me to sit on the work surface, I did just that – and I also got a look at her.  She was wearing a black sweater, pants, trainers, gloves – and balaclava mask, so all I saw were her blue eyes and black lips.  

Anyway, that’s when it got a bit different, as she pulled from a bag a second zip tie, and used it to secure my ankles together side by side.  She then made me bend my legs, and used another zip tie around my waist to force my thighs against my stomach.  She then pressed several layers of duct tape over my mouth, and left me there while she robbed me.

Actually, she did one other thing – she turned the over on full blast, while she went through the house.  In itself, that may seem innocuous – but the worktop I was sitting on was near the oven, and as time went on I started to feel hotter and hotter.  But I was secured in a way which made it next to impossible for me to move, as I started to sweat.

She looked in at me one last time, and then left me there, the sweat stains getting larger and larger on me as I tried to struggle.  The one good thing – although it took a while to realise this – was that eventually the sweat loosened the tape over my mouth, and I was able to shout for help.  

My next door neighbour was in his garden, and heard me, so he ran round and found me there, covered in sweat and secured.  He turned the over off, cut me free, and helped me to sit in a chair with a glass of iced water to sip while he called the police.  I shudder to think what would have happened otherwise...

Our second tale comes from Port Sunlight, and twenty two year old Natasha.  She returned home to her house after work one day to find an unexpected visitor...

I work at the Unilever factory, as an admin assistant, but I remember this particular day because I had a training course.  I was wearing a grey wool sleeveless dress with a white blouse underneath, dark grey tights and over the knee grey leather boots, just because I thought I looked good in them more than anything.  

As it was...  Anyway, I got home and let myself in, but before I had a chance to do anything other than put my keys down I saw this masked woman standing there, smiling as she pointed what looked like a pistol at me.

She looked at me, and told me to be quiet, motioning that I should come into my front room.  As I did so, I saw she had already emptied my jewellery boxes into a small bag – but I could also see lengths of rope at the top of the bag, so I guessed what was coming.

I asked if I could take my boots off, but she just shook her head and told me to lie face down on the couch.  When I did that, I felt her pull my hands behind my back, and then the rope as it rubbed on my bare wrists as she tied them together.

She knew what she was doing, and soon I was unable to move them apart.  Looking back, I watched as she used a second length of rope to bind my ankles tightly together, and I heard the squeaking as my legs rubbed together.

Well, she then tied my legs together below and above my knees, and then pulled my ankles back, securing them to my wrists.  I tried wriggling round, with little or no effect, before she held my nose.

Eventually, I had to open my mouth, and she pushed what turned out to be a knot in the middle of a rolled up scarf between my teeth, taking the scarf round my head and knotting the ends together as it trapped my long brown hair against my neck.

I managed to roll onto my side, trying to see if I could reach the knot with my fingers, and failing miserably – at which point she turned the gas fire in the front room full on, and left me there while she went to other rooms in the house.

Now, despite the fact I was wearing woollen clothes and long boots, it wasn’t a cold night, so as I struggled to get free or get that knot of cloth out of my mouth, I started to sweat – a lot.  

And I’m not joking when I say that – I could feel the dampness on my feet, running down my head and my back, and it was not comfortable at all.  I eventually stopped struggling, trying not to exert myself, but I could feel the dampness under my arms, on my chest, down my back...

Which is when I looked at the door and saw her standing there, watching me, almost – well, almost seeming to enjoy just how uncomfortable I was.  I could have sworn she licked her lips, before she picked up the bag and disappeared again through the door – this time outside.

I was beginning to wonder how much longer I was going to be like this when I heard footsteps, and a uniformed policewoman came in.  She had seen the open door, and wanted to be sure everything was all right.

Well I was – eventually, after I was freed and stood under a cool shower for fifteen minutes.  I don’t get it, though – why did she do that?


A question that has puzzled a number of the local police forces – when Terry Baines, the wife of the Manchester United footballer encountered this woman, she was left in no doubt as to what her likes and dislikes were.

I’d planned to meet up with some of the other WAGs before the home game, but I had been held up leaving by a phone call from my mother.  So it would have been about eleven thirty when I was trying to find my car keys.  I was wearing a blue jersey with a picture on the front of a boy holding a sack, black leggings and a pair of white over the knee boots with three inch heels.

Well – you never know when Hello are going to try and take a photo.  Anyway, I remembered that I had them in my hand when I was talking to him as he worked out, so I made my way down to our private gym – and that was when I saw her.

She was dressed from head to toe in black, including the balaclava over her head and her black lips.  She looked at me, and then pointed a gun at me, telling me to take a seat on a piece of gym equipment.  It was like an elongated seat, with a bar that the legs went over and a mechanism that moved his legs up and down.

I could see she was wearing a small rucksack, which she took off with her free hand as she told me to put my hands together in prayer.  I was too scared to do anything except what she said, watching as she took some cord and wrapped it around and between my arms, forcing them tightly together.

She then pulled my wrists up and over my head, walking behind me and securing them to an iron bar behind the head rest I was leaning on.  She then took some more rope, and secured my upper body to the back rest, two bands of rope sitting above and below my chest as they seemed to stretch my jumper over my breasts.

I asked what she was doing, to which she replied she was making sure I could not raise the alarm – and then she held my nose until I opened my mouth, and pushed a sponge ball inside, covering my lips with white tape after I had closed them together.

Now, that in itself would keep me there and quiet – but that’s when she took it to the next level.  First, she moved my legs so that the bar sat under my knees, and then tied my ankles together and back so that I could not move my legs off the bar.  She also tied my legs together, above and below my knees, to make sure they really stayed there.

But they didn’t stay still – because she started the machine at a low setting, so that my legs were lifted up and down, and I had no bloody way of stopping it.
She smiled – yes, she smiled, and then left the room, I presume to steal what she wanted.  There was nothing I could do except stay there, feeling the motion in my legs and then the sweat as I got hotter and hotter.  I’m not sure what was worse – the sweat running down my head, or the dampness behind my knees as my legs moved up and down, and I felt the squeak rather than felt it.

No – the worst thing was the two rapidly enlarging damp spots on my jumper, where the sweat on my nipples was soaking through the wool...

When she eventually came back in, she just stood and looked at me, as I tried to plead with her to turn the machine off.  She didn’t – instead she walked towards me, and traced over the damp spots on my jumper with her gloved fingers, and then gently pressing down on them!

I won’t describe how it made me feel – I will say the smile on her black lips was the thing I remember the most, as she turned and left me.  She did at least turn the machine off, but it was hours before he came back and found me...

Whoever this woman was, she seemed to be taking real pleasure in the way her victims were made to perspire.  This only seemed to increase her plans – as Joanne Pilton found out one afternoon in her Chester home...

She took me completely by surprise – I was just sitting in my front room, drinking some tea after doing the shopping, when she hand gagged me and told me to be quiet.

I’m told now what I was wearing may have attracted her attention – although what someone could find interesting in a black jumper with two panda bears on the front of I’m not sure.  Cute, yes – that’s why it’s one of my favourite jumpers.  But interesting?

Anyway, I personally think it was the other half of my outfit – a pair of thigh high wader boots in chocolate brown leather, and old jeans.  But whatever the reason, I couldn’t say anything about it – the hand that was keeping me quiet also had a length of some sort of white tape on it which she pressed against my lips, which sealed them as she took her hand away.

So I wasn’t in a position to say anything, as she pushed my body forward and then pulled my arms behind my back, wasting no time in crossing my wrists and then securing them together with rope.  She then produced – lord only knows from where – a long length of rope and started to bind my arms to my side.  I could see the top band above my chest, as it was pulled tighter with each pass, and then under, over, under...

As she pulled the last pass tight, I hoped that was all she was planning on doing, but instead she took the rope under one arm, pulled it up and around the back of my neck (lifting my ponytail out of the way as she did so) and then under the other arm.  This did two things – first, it literally fused my arms to my sides, and secondly it rubbed my chest in a way that was...

Difficult to describe is the best way of describing it, as she made me kneel on the floor, and I looked back as she crossed my ankles and lashed them tightly together.  She doubled the rope over at first, and then tied the rope around and between my legs so that it held them firmly together.

I hoped that was all she was going to do, but instead she doubled over another length of rope, and tied it round my waist.  I wondered why she had left half the rope hanging down in front of me – but I soon found out why as she reached between my legs, pulled the rope back, and...

Well, she told me not to move – and no damn way I was going to move with that rope placed there.  I could only listen as she went and searched the rest of the house, and wonder how she was going to leave me.  Even with that, I had to move from time to time, and it rubbed me up something awful...

Eventually, she came back, and I watched as she laid one of bed blankets out on the floor.  I wondered why she had put it there – and then I squealed as she made me lie on my stomach on the blanket, and secured my legs together below and above my knees, taking the rope between my legs in both places and making it so tight that the leather squeaked if I even tried to move.

This made it even worse when she rolled me up in the blanket, and started to use a roll of duct tape to make sure it stayed round my body.  I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter as I watched her look at me.

That was what she did, she sat and watched me as I started to sweat, and I felt my body getting wetter and wetter where the ropes were pressing on me.  The blanket meant there was no way for that heat to escape either, as I squirmed round and started to moan.

Which seemed to really make her hot as well – and not in that sort of way, as she began to touch herself between her legs.  It was only when she looked at the clock, and heard a car pull up outside, that she jumped up and ran out of the back of the house.

When my wife came in a few minutes later, she screamed when she saw me, and rushed to get me free.  I was so grateful she turned up at that point, because if she hadn’t...


The most recent report of this intruder was also the most serious, as Yvonne Craig was taken on an unusual journey...

It was the hottest day in May, and I was coming home from lunch with the girls.  I like to wear boots, and that day I had on a red round necked sweater, short black skirt, dark tights and knee length black leather boots with studded ankle straps and tops.

Anyway, I got home, opened the garage door and drove in, turning the engine off and leaving the driver’s door open as I closed the garage – and it was as the door swung down that I felt the metal disc at my back, and heard the soft female voice tell me to put my hands behind my back.  I asked what was going on, but that only made the disc press more firmly on my back, so I did what I was told.

I heard the ripping sound, and then the tugging on my skin as some sort of tape was sued to secure my wrists together.  Whoever this woman was then used the tape to secure my arms to my sides – silver duct tape, as I could see as she passed it round my body above and below my chest.  She then told me to open my mouth, and as I did so I felt a cloth fill my mouth, and then the duct tape as she wound it tightly round my head, covering my mouth and keeping me quiet.

I need to wear glasses, and I had on a large black framed pair – a pair that was then taken off me, as I was told to close my eyes, and I felt the tape pressing on my eyelids as it was wound around my head to cover my eyes.  I was then made to walk a little distance, as I heard the boot of my car being opened up.

You can guess what happened next – I was made to sit down, as I felt her use the tape to ruin a pair of thousand pound boots by securing my ankles together, and my legs below my knees – never mind the way it pulled on my tights as they were secured above my knees.  
I was then bundled onto my side, and I heard the boot slam shut – above me!  I was in the boot of my car – and I could feel it starting up and then moving out of my garage!

Now, it was a tight fit, but what was worse was she put the heaters on when it was already a hot day – and I felt the sweat building on me as we drove along, with no chance of been able to call for help.  All I could do was lie there, hoping she (whoever she was) was not going to drive for too long, and would at least let me go.

So when the car stopped, I hoped she would at least open the boot and let me see where I was.  No chance – I heard the car door open and close, and then nothing except people walking by outside.

And it was getting hotter – the heater had been turned off with the car engine, but the sun must have been shining outside, and that just made the car hotter and hotter.  I almost passed out before the boot was opened, and I heard a man shout “shit – someone’s taped up in here.”

I felt hands lifting me out as someone else called for a pair of scissors, and eventually the tape was cut away from my eyes and mouth.  I blinked and looked round to see I was at the beach on the Wirral, as someone let me drink from a bottle of water.  

I later found out whoever it was had robbed me, and I had returned as she was leaving, but why would she make me sweat like that?

The was the question – was she getting some sort of perverse pleasure from leaving those she robbed to sweat, or was she exploring, building to something more?  Police are still trying to figure out what her motives are...

“It’s perfectly simple,” the black masked woman said as she looked at the Asian woman lying on the couch, “he’s right – I do get a thrill from watching people like you get sweaty in this situation.”

The girl mewled as she lay on her side, wriggling round as damp patches developed on her pink cashmere wool dress, under her armpits, on her chest, between her legs.  Bands of rope held her wrists behind her back and her arms to her sides, at her chest and waist, while her legs were held with ropes at her ankles and below her knees.   A band of white tape was wrapped tightly around her head, covering her mouth and holding her black hair to the back of her neck, the ends damp with sweat as well.

Her eyes widened as the woman walked over, her black lips pursed as she said “why don’t we see just how hot and bothered I can get you, hmm?”
Sweat Story
In Their Own Words returns with stories of a rather - kinky intruder in an unusual way...
Loading...
8 pm BST
Sheraton Athlone


“Ah, there ye are,” Maeve said as Katherine came into the bar.

“Yeah – my last night to relax for a while I suspect.”

"So where are the girls Katherine?" Maeve asked as her friend eased herself up on to the bar stool next to her.

"In our room playing video games with Lady Aileen."

"Which proves the point I was saying to Rose,” Maeve said with a smile, “you see them in magazines and they look grown-up, but scratch the surface they are still only kids."

"That's for sure.  The whole flight over she watched cartoons on the plane."

"Now,” Maeve said, “what are you drinkin'?"

"I think I'll have a Guinness Maeve...you know when in Rome?"

"I do," Maeve smiled as she signaled the barman.  “Two pints.”

"So what lodge do you represent Maeve?" Katherine said as she sipped the dark beer.

"The worst named one in the world," Maeve's smile broke into a laugh, "It is called the Sisters of Purity Lodge..."

"Oh?"

"Yes,” Maeve said, “and when you consider the sheer number of unwed mothers we have had over the years it is a total misnomer, we usually just call it Lodge 127 Edmonton."

"Well my lodge is called the Sisterhood of the Shamrocks, or Lodge 141 New York."

"That's not too bad a name."

“True – but this...  This is different for me, coming back.”

“Long overdue possible,” Maeve said as she raised her glass, “to the sisterhood.”

“The Daughters.”

As they took a drink, Katherine sighed and put her glass down.

“So,” Maeve said, “what else is happening?”

“Well, apart from the arrival of Adam’s mother?”

“Really?  That must have been interesting?”

“That’s one word for it – turns out Ball is a decorated navy vet and a Jewish mother.”

“Now that is an unusual combination – how did Janice feel?”

“Intimidated at first, but I think there’s an uneasy truce at the moment.”  Taking another drink, Katherine whispered "Did Susan tell you that Katy has had a stalker?"

"She did," Maeve nodded, "Any clue if he followed her here?"

"Not as yet, but I'll be watching the crowds as the girls shoot their pictures."

“I don’t think you will be the only one,” Maeve said as she saw Tracy slip into the bar.


“Dammit – you win again Katy,” Aileen said as she sat back on the bed.

"So now I know Katy does target shooting for fun,” Orion said as she took a drink, “what do you do Aileen?"

"I run, but I enjoy it more then I'm good at it."

"Not according to Jo, she says you aren't bad." Katy looked up from shooting things on the screen.

"Well I think she was being polite..."

"No Jo is usually extremely honest, especially when talking about running."

"I'm still not sure...so what about you Orion? What do you do?"

"Try and keep out of the way of the nuns who teach PE," the Ulster girl giggled. "I'm USELESS at all sports."

"Well I thought I was till I discovered shooting."

"I think I'd hate even that...no my idea of fun is sleep and watching TV."

“BORING!  Let’s see who can kill the monsters now...”


Monday 28th March
10 am BST
Athlone Castle


“Okay,” the crew said, “instructions boss?”

Alice looked at Orion and Katy as they sat in the chairs.

"I want them to look relatively fresh faced and sporty Eedie," Alice supervised the makeup lady, "make them beautiful..."

"Oh now that's a hard job..."

"BITCH!" Katy grinned.

"But I'll see what I can do."

"Just don't make them look too mature."

"Gotcha." Eedie opened up her box of tricks.  “Right – you first Katy...”

"No dogs for us to walk?" Orion asked.

"No that's Jo's thing darling." Mandy fussed over Orion's hair. "Arlene I think this needs to go back in curlers...she needs more bounce, more body, more curls."

"Coming up yer Ladyship."

"How is mine?" Katy asked.

"Not bad darling," Mandy pursed her lips, "but back in rollers till we are ready please."



“Do they always take this long to get ready,” Aileen said as she stood with Paula.

“Alice and Mandy want perfection,” her mother said, “and that takes time.  But look at the results.”

Aileen looked over as Katy and Orion put on the jeans, bot looking like incredibly beautiful young women.

"Are those the jeans we agreed Mandy?" Alice shouted.

"They are,” Mandy said as she looked at the two teenagers, “but I think the girls need a longer leg."

"With those heels on, then yes."

"Okay girls get them off," Tina the wardrobe lady shouted.

"Oh if my teachers could see me now," Orion laughed as she stood in the middle of the field wearing just brief panties and high heeled boots.

“And mine – this would look great in the yearbook,” Katy said as the logner jeans were brought out, and the girls put them on, followed by the first jumpers.

"Yuck...five inch heels in a muddy field Aunt Alice?"

"Just go with the flow Katy, they make you look like you have legs that go on forever."

"Yeah but every step I take I feel the sinking into the earth."

"Live with it Katy, I can tell you far worse stiletto horror stories darling." Mandy took one last look. "Well I think she's ready to go Alice."

"What do you think Kevin?"

"I think if Katy stops bellyaching and just starts to work, we can get some amazing shots."

"Agreed," Alice nodded.

"Okay left leg extended a bit Katy..." Kevin called out.

"Like..."

"That's it...now chin a little higher...perfect!" Kevin smiled as he started to take pictures and Katy started to try poses, Orion watching from the side.

“Right – in you come me dear,” Kevin said as Orion walked over, and he started to shoot both of them.

"I remember you telling us that modelling was hard work, not all glamour and fun Mummy," Aileen stood watching the two girls work intently.

"It's true, just look at some of those poses that Orion is doing, they require real physical fitness."

"She was saying last night she runs away from doing PE at school though."

"Well I'd certainly never know,” Paula said, “she looks like a gymnast at times with her stretches."

"And what does Katy look like?"

"She's hampered in a way by her breasts, but in another way they make her look very sexy."

"Well I wish I had half her luck..."

"Well you take after me,” her mother said as she looked down, “nature condemned us both to be a B Cup at best."

"Wow look at Katy now?"

"That's what I meant Aileen darling, she uses her body differently to Orion, but she uses it to maximum effect."

"They are both pretty good aren't they darling?" Mandy joined in the conversation.

"Well better then I ever was..."

"Kick your mother for me Aileen darling, she's putting herself down again."

"Hey, I know what my limitations were as a model."

"Mainly a little lack of self-confidence darling," Mandy smiled. "Aileen your Mummy could have been a real top girl if she'd just believed in herself a little more, we all told her so at the time. She drove Missy crazy?"

"Who was Missy?"

"My agent." Paula looked upwards as she remembered.  “She’s not coming here, is she?”

“Nope – you’ll see her Saturday...”

As they talked Katherine walked round.  “No sign of him so far,” she said quietly to herself.


11 am CET
Munich


Heather was looking intently at the wall, so intently she did not hear the footsteps.

"How did I know I'd find you here lover?" Sandy sighed as she found Heather in the picture gallery.

"Oh I don't know how you could have possibly guessed," Heather laughed, but she kept her eyes firmly on the painting she was looking at.

"Balance of probabilities.  So, what is so interesting?" Sandy said as she looked in the same direction as Heather.

"This painting,” Heather said as she stroked her chin, “I am thinking its been misattributed."

"Oh - why?"

"Well it says by the school of Rubens, but I personally think it’s the work of the master himself."

"You do?" Sandy looked closely, "but why?"

"I can't explain it, but everything from the composition to the brushstrokes to me screams Rubens."

"Well wouldn't it if it was done by his pupils?"

"No, I've seen other real Rubens, and this just yells out at me that is by Peter Paul himself."

“What is?”

“Oh hello Natalya,” Heather said, “I was looking at the painting.  Who said it was the Rubens school?”

“That one?  I’m sure we have the documentation in the library – would you like to see it?”

“Oh very much so,” Heather said with a smile.


Noon BST
Athlone Castle


“Okay – get the next jumpers ready.”

"Oh some water...PLEASE!" Katy called out as Kevin called a halt.

"Here Katy," Alice tossed her a bottle.

"Thank you,” Katy said as she caught and opened the top, “I needed that so bad."

"Well Aileen what do you think of it?" Orion asked as she pulled a coat on.

"You work damn hard."

"Tell me about it..."

"Don't listen to Katy she's just bellyaching again Aileen." Orion took a bottle of water herself and sat down.

"Do I bellyache?"

"CONSTANTLY!" most of the crew shouted back.

“Okay, I suppose I do,” Katy said with a smile as Orion’s father came over.

“It’s Katherine isn’t it?  Your friend Maeve said to tell you it’s time – I’ll take over the chaperone bit.”

“Yeah – I was expecting this.  See you guys later.”

From a nearby seat, Tracy watched Katherine walk off, and stood up, starting to walk in a wide circle round the shoot...

12.30 pm BST
Sheraton Athlone


“There you are,” Maeve said as Katherine came in, wearing her badge, “registered?”

“All done,” Katherine said as she sat at the table with her.

"So what is on 'our' schedule?" Maeve asked as she looked inside the folder.

"Not sure," Katherine said as she opened up her welcome pack, "I know we are supposed to discuss funding in the future for the most beautiful Daughter of Erin beauty pageant."

"Should we really still be in the business of beauty contests?" Maeve asked as she scanned a document.

"Well part of me says yes, that it’s a chance for girls from the Irish diaspora to come home and show off, but the feminist in me says they are outdated relics, especially after hearing Donald Trump on the subject."

"You know,” Maeve said, “I truly hate that man..."

"And you aren't even an American voter Maeve," Katherine giggled.

"I think we should just listen to the arguments then make up our minds."

"Now promotion of Camogie overseas is something I do agree with, I played both before and after we left Ireland, but our clubs in New York are dying from lack of girls playing."

"Well you better speak when the topic comes up then."

“What on earth are we debating the UK Referendum,” Katherine asked.

“Because they may just decide to leave,” Brenda said.  “Mind if I join you?”

“Go ahead – Maeve O’Leary, Brenda O’Ryan.”

“So where do you know Katherine from?”

“Oh,” Brenda said as she sat down, “we knew each other in Waterford.”

“Oh – ah,” Maeve said.  “So where are you now?”

“Belfast – anyway, the question is, given we are an international group, should we take a view?”

“Okay – but I see they have a discussion on America as well,” Katherine said.

“Brenda?  Good lord, how many years has it been?”

“Orlagh!”  Brenda said as she stood up and hugged a thin woman.  “This is Maeve and...”

“Katy O’Dowd!  How long has it been?”

“Far too long,” Katherine said as they embraced.  “How are you?”

“I’m well – what brings you here?”

“Well, the reunion, I drew the short straw...”

“And her granddaughter is a model, doing a shoot at the castle,” Maeve said with real pride.

“A model?”

“As is my great niece,” Brenda said, “My niece is Orion O’Ryan, her granddaughter Katy Carter.”


"Are you a bridesmaid for the 'BIG' wedding Katy?" Aileen asked as they ate their lunch.

"I am,” Katy said with a grin, “my Mom is a friend of the family."

"You are so lucky," Orion looked a trifle sad.

"Well I'm not a bridesmaid..."

"No but at least you are a guest Aileen. I'll just be watching on my computer."

“I know – but we’ll send you some cake...”

2 pm CET
Munich International Airport


“Why are we here,” Emma Carlton said as she and Anna came through the arrival doors, Steve following with their luggage.

“You know why Mom,” Doc said, “to attend...”

“Herr Carlton.”

Steve turned to see a uniformed chauffer standing there.

“We’re the Carlton family,” he said as the chauffer bowed.

“Frau Strecher has sent me to meet you, and take you to the townhouse.  Follow me please.”

He looked at Doc and Emma, before they walked out of the terminal building, Doc whistling as he opened the door of a stretch Daimler.

“You will find refreshment inside – please, make yourself comfortable,” he said as he took the cases and opened the trunk.

“Is that champagne?”

“It is,” Doc said as she sat down, Steve opening the bottle and pouring some into three glasses.

“Welcome to Munich – we have  a short drive ahead,” the chauffer said as he got behind the wheel.

“Well, here’s to an interesting week,” Emma said as all three raised their glasses, and took a sip.

“Is this your first time in Germany,” the chauffer asked as they made their way into the city.

“First time out of the US if truth be told,” Steve said as they looked out of the window.  “So different from our home.”

“I can imagine – but you arrive in time to settle before diinner.”

“Have many people arrived?”

“Of the main wedding party, I believe we are only waiting for Fraulein Carter and her party.  But most of the others have arrived, and the rest of the guests have begun to arrive across the city.  Frau Strecher will be able to advise if his Highness or Fraulein Huntingdown are unavailable.”

The road swung to the right as they joined a road that ran thorugh a forest of pine trees, then past symmetrically laid out fields before turning onto the road south.

“I never expected to see so many farms,” Doc said as she sipped her drink.

“We are a farming community in many ways, Fraulein,” the chayffer said as they continued on, through towns and then passed a large stadium.

“That is the Allianz Arena,” the chauffer said, “home of Bayern Munich.”

“Well, Ama will be happy when she arrives,” Doc said as they entered Munich itself, and then onto LeopoldStrase, pulling up outside the townhouse.

“Welcome to the von Furstenheim residence, the chauffer said as he opened the doors, the Carltons getting out to see Cari coming down the stairs with Abby and Jo.

“You made it,” she said as she hugged Doc, “how was the flight?”

“Different – big place.”

“Well, you’re staying here as well.  This is Frau Strecher.”

“Welcome,” the steward said, “if you will follow me, His Highness and Fraulein Huntingdown are waiting in the drawing room.”

“It does take your breath away,” Jo said as he took the new arrivals to the room where Juliette and Klaus were talking.

“Emma, Steve, Anna – you made it,” Juliette said as she came over to greet them.

“This is where we’re staying,” Steve said quietly as he looked round.

“Of course,” Klaus said, “we insist.  Come – have a drink.”




Noon
The Village


Ama opened the door to the apartment, smiling as she said “you must be Sharon Kennedy.  Please, come in – Mom is expecting you.”

“Thank you,” Sharon said as she walked up the staircase, carrying her case with her.  She was dressed in a jacket and pants, with a blue blouse underneath, and smiled as she saw Caroline sitting at the table, looking at her laptop.

“Ah good – and good choice of outfit.  Appearances are the first and often most important aspect of this business, as I hope you will discover.  Ama, Sharon will be interning with me until the end of the summer – she will be observing my work and hopefully offering a few suggestions.”

“Of course Mom,” Ama said with a smile, “will Uncle George be involved as well?”

“In due course – but he’s down in Florida this week for the race, so that particular meeting must wait.”

“Uncle George?”

“George Sanders, my second in command.  Right – tonight we,” she said as she looked round the room, “will travel to Munich with Pepsi and her family.  I wanted you here early so that you could accompany me to a meeting I have – purely to observe.  They have been informed, and given you permission to attend.”

Sharon nodded as Ama offered her a coffee.

“Have you finished packing?”

“Yes Mom,” Ama said as she rolled her eyes.  “Pepsi and the others will join us at three.”

“Good – well, drink up Sharon.  We just have time to get to the offices for this meeting.”

“The offices?”

“Oh yes – first meeting is always at neutral ground.  In this case, Xavier International.”

7 pm BST
Burger King
Golden Island Shopping Centre
Athlone


The customers didn’t bat an eyelid as the three teenage girls took their trays, walking over to the drinks dispenser as they talked to each other.

“What will it be, love,” the man said to the next in line.

“Chicken Royale, large chips, coffee,” Tracy said as she glanced round the restaurant.  “And throw in some mozzarella sticks as well.”

"I can't believe they are letting us out unchaperoned." Orion laughed heartily as they slipped into a booth.

"Well without all the makeup you just look like any other girls." Aileen stared at her friends, almost unable to believe the transformation away from the models she had seen working all day.

"Even like this though I have to sometimes resort to wigs back home." Katy took a sip of her diet Coke.

"That must suck..."

"It can do Aileen," Katy reflected, "at first it was fun being asked my autograph, but it soon gets old."  She took a bite out of her burger and slowly chewed.

"School uniforms are the best disguise." Orion took a bite, "somehow even fans can't identify girls in ordinary uniforms as models."

"I'll have to tell the girls back at school that." Aileen nodded.

"Well at least we don't have to sit through your Mom's speech Aileen."

"Yes, thank the dear God for small mercies."

Tracy took a seat and looked round.  It was like any other burger joint she knew – teenagers trying to escape from home for an hour or two, workers too tired to cook or even shop.  The one saving grace was her sandwich was almost edible.


“You know we’re been scoped out,” Orion said as she sipped her coke.

“We are?  Who by,” Aileen said as she looked up.

“No no – don’t look round,” Katy said.  “Talk to me, my Irish friend.”

“Three lads, two fair haired, one brown, about our age, and walking this way right now.”

“Are they,” Aileen said as the boys came over.

“Hey – mind if we join you?”

“Well, since you asked so nicely,” Aileen said.

“You’re not local, are you,” one of the other two boys said.  “We’d have seen you around if you were.”

“Damn – warn the Garda,” Orion said.

"So what are three out-of-towners doing out tonight?" one of the boys asked.

"Our Mom's are here for the Daughters of Erin reunion." Katy replied, "we escaped from the speeches."

"You are American?"

"I am,” Katy said, “but my friends here are both Irish."

"I'm from Dublin," Aileen said in an Irish accent, "and she's from Belfast."

"So where in the States?"

"New York City," Katy looked at the three boys, they were sort of cute. "Have you ever been?"

"He's never even been to Dublin," the third boy said.

“Well, there’s always time,” Aileen said.  “Tell you what  - but us a drink, and then sit and we’ll talk.”

From her spot Tracy watched closely. The three boys looked safe enough, three local lads they looked about 14 or 15, and they were clearly just trying to chat the girls up.

As she sipped her coffee, however, she saw a young man sitting at another table – looking at Katy.  Something seemed familiar about him, and she took out her phone, checking the records.

“Fuck,” she said to herself as she looked at the photo, and then back up – only to see the empty table.



8.45 pm BST
Strathdon Athlone


“Well, at least the chicken wasn’t rubber,” Katherine said, Maeve laughing as he plates were cleared away.

“My fellow sisters,” the chair of the organising committee said from the table at the top of the room, “Welcome, one and all to this Daughters of Erin reunion.

“We’ve gathered from the four corners of the globe to renew old friendships, and to talk and learn from each other.  So I thank you for coming, and spending the next two days with us.”

There was applause from around the room, as she said “Now, to deliver the keynote address, please join me in welcoming a true Daughter – Paula, Duchess of Lardarn.”

As the room applauded, Paula stood up, her green sash over her shoulder and falling over her light blue dress, and came to the microphone.

“Sisters,” she said as she looked round, “first, allow me to take a moment to thank the ladies here at this table who invited me to speak tonight.  It is a rare honour to be asked to address the Daughters, and it is an honour I appreciate and accept.

“We have come from many places, near and far, the length and breadth not just of this country, but of the world.  We sit here, young and old, married and single, but one thing unites us all – and that is a simple, plain and honest truth.

“You see, my sisters, this country has known so many years of conflict and hurt – and I can speak from experience in that, for I carry the name of Gaunt.  That is a name that has caused so much anger, so much hurt over centuries – and still does today.  It is not so long since someone had so much hatred of the name they sought to hurt me and my husband for having that name.

“But the story of this emerald isle, north and south, over the last few years has shown that if we can find it in our hearts to forgive, and to look past whatever hurt has been created, to work together to find a better way forward, then it is possible to find a new dawn.

“Why do I mention this?  Because at the heart of reconciliation is recognition – recognition of the one thing that unites us all.  And that is – we are Irish at our core, Irish at our heart.

“It doesn’t matter if we come from Waterford or Dublin, Cork or Linburn, Belfast or Armagh, London or New York.  Nor does it matter if we come from a privileged family, be it Ascendancy or endowed, or if you come from a fishing family or a farm.  We are all Irish, we are all Daughters of Erin, and in that we are one, in that we are united!”

She paused for a moment as the room applauded, before she said “so these two days, if there are things unsaid, things to forgive, let them be said and let them be forgiven.  Because together we are stronger, together we are one sisterhood, all Daughters of Erin together.

“And be proud of that, wear it as a badge of honour, so that you can show the world you are proud to be Irish, proud to be a Daughter of Erin, and proud to be with your sisters now and forever.”

As the room applauded again, Paula said “I have only one further thing to say - Do bheatha 'bhaile , deirfiúracha , agus taitneamh a bhaint an teacht le chéile.”

“That’s the best kind of after dinner speech,” Katherine said to Maeve, “short and to the point.  Do you agree, Brenda?”

“I guess so,” Brenda said as she swirled her drink round.  

10 pm BST
Sheraton Athlone


“Well now, is it raining pearls from heaven out there,” Brenda said as the three teenagers came in.

“It is a little damp, yes,” Aileen said as they walked into the bar.

“And how was your night girls?” Maeve asked.

“Three local boys tried chatting us up.” Orion took her jacket off.

“And how did that go?” Katherine asked as she sipped her drink.

“Not overly well, all they were really interested in was sport.” Aileen shook her hair to get rid of the raindrops.

“They had two of the world’s hottest young supermodels in their company, and they tried talking to you about sport?” Eve looked amused.

“Well they had no clue who we were.” Katy smiled, “we said we were here keeping our Moms company at the reunion.”

“I’m your Mom now darlin’?” Katherine asked.

“Well explaining I’m here with my gran would just have complicated things…And why are yours and Aunt Maeve’s Irish accents so much thicker tonight?”

“Well listening to a good speech from Her Grace helped, but then so did some really special Irish whiskey,” Maeve laughed.

“It was a well-received talk even if I do say myself?” Eve looked happy.

“I don’t suppose that there is any of that drink to be had to improve our accents?” Katy asked.

“NO!”

“Well it was worth asking,” Katy smiled as the two other youngsters started laughing.

“You need your bed, daughter,” Katherine said with a smile.

“And you don’t,” Katy said as she raised an eyebrow.

“Point,” Brenda said.  “Come on ladies – busy day tomorrow.”

As the group made their way out, Maeve glanced in the corner of the bar.  “I’ll see you ladies tomorrow morning,” she said as she waved them off, and walked over to where Tracy was sitting.

“Well now – how was your day?”

“All right – until I saw someone in the burger joint,” Tracy said.  

“Oh dear lord – he’s here?”

“Don’t worry Maeve – I’m watching...”
Countdown - Part 5
As Katy models, and Katherine attends the Daughters of Erin meeting, more of the party arrive in Munich or prepare to leave...
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There is a certain atmosphere in the air, almost as if the flowers are calling out to the insects to come and help pollinate.  A heady, musky atmosphere and smell, an aroma that hung like a veiled curtain in the air.

What it does is permeate everything, add a layer of a sensual nature to all you do, think, say, believe.  That is important to what was about to happen, as I made my way through the busy streets.  The sights, sounds, smells just seemed to thicken and heighten the sensations I am experiencing.  Still, I had a purpose in mind, so I focus purely on my destination, on my intent.

The destination is a simple white walled house, with a small fence round it and a tiny patch of grass long bleached of the lush green that should be there.  To open and close the gate silently was an easy affair, as it was to open the door to the house and slip in – people are so trusting in this area, and so welcoming.

It was quiet inside, which is the way I like it – so I made my way through the darkened rooms.  Not so dark that I could not see – and I have excellent night vision at any rate – but dark enough to cover my movements from anyone looking over from the street.

As a result, it was simple to find the safe, simple to open it, simple to start to empty it – and simple to stop when I heard the front door open and close, and footsteps on the lower floor.  I closed the safe door to, stood up and walked towards the door, controlling my breathing, staying as quiet as I could as the steps came closer.

As the bedroom door opened, I watched the tall, graceful woman as she walked in.  She had long brown hair, which flowed over the shoulders of her ivory silk tunic, a pale blue dupatta draped gracefully over her left arm.  The tunic itself had long translucent sleeves, with a blue star motif on the cuff, and on the hem that hung near her knees was a blue fern pattern and a gold edge.

She was also wearing a pair of ivory silk pants, and her elegant feet sat in a pair of blue and silver sandals.  I could see the blue nail polish on her toenails, and red on her finger nails, as well as the gold ring with a large blue opal.

I waited as she turned the light on, and looked round the room, the perfume in the air added to by the heavy scent that was emanating from her own body.  It was intoxicating in the extreme, and I smiled as I walked silently forward, clamping my gloved hand over her mouth as I pulled her against my chest, and told her to be quiet.

I was not at all surprised that she was not quiet – that she in fact screamed into my leather covered palm, and tried to force it off me.  She soon discovered that was a futile argument – my hold was too strong, but just in case I reached round with my free hand, grabbed her wrists and said in a calm, clear voice again she had to stop struggling, and calm down.

As she tried to fight back, I inhaled again the perfume – a musk base, with hints of sandalwood and lotus blossom.  A strange combination, to be sure, but it added to the atmosphere, as I continued to hold her until eventually she stopped struggling, her breath to on my hand.

When she did this, I said I would take my hand away if she remained quiet, and smiled as she nodded in agreement.   Taking my hand away, she asked me who I was, and what was I doing in her home?

Well, I said I would answer in a moment, once I was sure she would not give me any trouble, so she needed to move her arms slowly behind her back.  She asked why, and I said just to do it, or I may force her to.  That got the desired result, as I took from my pocket a length of silk cord.  It only took me a few minutes to secure her wrists together, her hands palm to palm, and taking the cords between her wrists as well.

I then told her to sit on the bed, as I took my first good look at her.  She was in her early twenties, with green eyes, and she had a blue opal held in a silver jewel on her forehead.  She also had on a silver necklace, with a number of opals embedded in the silverwork.

As she looked at me, I took another length of silk cord from my pocket, and knelt in front of her, quickly securing her ankles together side by side, and then standing up again.  I watched as she tried to move her wrists and ankles, and then looked at me and asked the correct question.

What did I want?

I wasn’t quite read to answer that question yet – well, not in totality – so I told her that I was robbing her.  She tried to watch me as I walked behind her, and removed her necklace, and then saw the rucksack I placed on the bed as I removed from inside it a velvet bag and placed the jewelled necklace inside.  I also removed her forehead jewel – gently, of course – and placed that in, before I told her to stay where she was.

Naturally, she then turned and watched as I continued to empty the contents of her safe, thinking I was not aware – and then just as quickly turned round as I stood up, and looked at her.

I could see her shiver, as I took the dupatta from her arm, and rolled it into a thick band.  As I told her to open her mouth, I saw her shiver again, but she opened her mouth, and made a strange mewling sound as I pulled the rolled cloth between her lips, forcing her tongue to the floor of her mouth as I wrapped the dupatta around her neck, pulled it between her lips again and then secured the ends tightly together at the base of her neck, lifting her hair out of the way so that she did not have her hair trapped.

I needed to test the efficacy of the gag, of course, so I reached round from behind her and started to caress her chest.  Of course she tried to move out of the way, but that just meant my hands rubbing more, as I heard her well muffled cries of protest.  

You can therefore imagine what she did – or rather did not say, as I lifted up the edge of her tunic and lifted it over her head, exposing her white bra as she struggled.  I let it fall over her wrists, and then saw her expression change as I took from the rucksack more silk rope, and used it to bind her arms together below her elbows, making them touch as the rope went around and between her limbs.

She said something that sound like dundis, as I saw the way her chest was forced out – and then released her wrists long enough to remove the tunic, before I bound them tightly together again – and then took a length of rope around her waist, locking her wrists against her back as I did so.

She watched as I carefully folded her tunic, and placed it over the back of a chair, and then she began to realise what it was I had not said to that point, as I started to gently kiss her neck and shoulders as my hands caressed and massaged her chest.  I could feel her nipples harden and her breasts firm under my arms as she protested, and even pleaded, but I was in charge now, as I kept going.

And as I kept going, I felt her start to move as well, unable to stop herself as her body started to overrule her head.  I took the moment to take a longer length of rope from my rucksack, and bind her arms to her sides, taking the rope above and below her chest as I did so, the bands framing and forcing her breasts out even more.

It was this feeling of control I looked forward to – but I was still gentle, still careful, making sure she was not hurt at the same time as her sensual nature was aroused more and more.

She said something like whitsharpen, as I laid her on her back, straddling her legs as I continued to play with her chest, and leaned down to kiss her neck, her shoulders, and then as I eased the cups of her bra down her chest and her breasts, her moans increasing dramatically as my lips enclosed and teased on her nipples.

And no, I will not deny it – as she began to squirm under me, it was having an effect on me as well.  An effect I wanted to show her, but not yet.  She needed to be prepared first, as I moved down, pulling her pants down with me until I released her ankles and pulled them off.

I moved to the side of the bed, bending her left leg and kissing her chest as I used silk to secure her ankle to her thigh, her leg below her knee, and then repeated the process on the other side, before spreading her legs and starting to use my lips and tongue to pleasure her.

That seemed to bring down the last of the barriers, as she moved in response to me, and I tasted her juices.  I continued to do this, to bring her to the peak and then pull back, looking at her as she looked down at me and slowly shook her head from side to side.

So I went back to work, before I removed my own pants and she saw how aroused I was.  I took a moment to prepare myself, to put on protection, and then enter her, feeling her body grip me as she groaned and urged me to continue.

That was what I heard, and how could I resist the request of a beautiful lady?  So I moved with her, as she gripped me, and we both responded, feeling the pressure and pleasure increase, until we both had to give release.

As she collapsed on the bed and panted, the scent of her own juices adding to the atmosphere, I slipped out and put my own pants on, before I rolled her over and secured her ankles to the chest ropes.

And with that I left her to recover, as I slipped into the perfumed night, satisfied in every respect...
Indian Nights
Just a little something...
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8 pm
The Richmond Mansion


"So am I going to get dragged round all of Munich's art museums lover?" Sandy asked Heather.

"Not if you don't want to..." Heather said without looking up from her book.

"I've volunteered to go with Heather if you don't want to Mom," Sands broke into the conversation.

"When she's not with a certain young baron that is..."

"HEATHER!" Sands blushed bright red.

"You know Sigi and I are making your wedding arrangements darling..."

"MOTHER!"

"We are only teasing darling," Heather smiled.   She noticed the smile on the young girl’s lips as she walked out of the room.

“You are terrible,” Sandy said with a smile.

“Well, what’s George going to be doing?”

“Enjoying himself probably – even if Katy is coming later.”

“Oh I’m sure he will be kept busy...”



Saturday 26th March
10.30 am CET
The Furstenheim Townhouse, Munich


“Well, here we are,” Klaus said as the cars pulled up at the entrance to the three storey building, “home.”

“It’s good to be back,” Ingrid said as she got out, two servants coming out and starting to collect the luggage, while Annie got out and stretched her back.

“How are you feeling,” Karen Boyd said as she looked at the pregnant woman.

“I’m fine – and thanks for coming over with us,” Annie said as Ken stretched his lean body up, then fetched the car seat with John in it.

“Well, thank you, Klaus, for letting us stay here,” Karen said as Carina lifted Judith from her seat, and handed her to Juliette.

“We’re here, little one,” Juliette said as she looked at her granddaughter, “ready for a very special week?”

“Yes Grammy,” Judith said as they all watched a tall, thin woman with short dark hair come out of the front entrance.  She was wearing a black coat dress, and black shoes, but carried herself with total authority.

“Welcome back, Your Highness,” she said in accented English, “I trust you have all had a good flight.”

“We have indeed,” Klaus said with a smile.  “May I introduce you to Doctors Ken and Karen Boyd?  Ken, Karen, allow me to introduce Frau Strecher, my estate manager.”

“A pleasure,” Frau Strecher said, “welcome to Munich.  I have refreshments ready in the dining room, Your Highness, while the luggage is taken to the rooms.”

“Excellent – well, shall we go in?”

The party entered the large entrance hall, Karen looking round as Jeanne and Henri followed them in.

“Frau Strecher, Monsieur Henri and Madameoiselle Jeanne Marais.”

“Welcome, your highnesses,” she said with a small bow, “if you will all come this way please?”

They walked into a dining room, where a buffet had been laid out and the table set.

“I wish to discuss a few matters with you and Fraulein Huntingdown with regards to the weekend, your highness,” Fray Strecher said, “and Herr Breitz is filming in the grand hall.  This was why I had the refreshments prepared here.”

“Excellent – you have excelled yourself as usual, Frau Strecher.”

She smiled as she said “are there any special instructions for the staff?”

“Yes,” Klaus said.  "In deference to all our guests, current and to come, can we please talk in English when it is at all practical?"

"If that is your wish, Your Highness."

"It is."

"Very good,” Frau Strecher said with an incline of her head, “I will inform the staff.  We await your pleasure as always.  Please, feel free to eat and drink – the staff will show you to your rooms later."

"Oh dear God that woman is terrifying," Karen whispered to her husband as she left the room.

"Well I'll be making sure I'm on time for everything, I do NOT want her upset with me," Ken whispered back.

“All right everyone,” Klaus said as the doors were closed, “help yourselves.  And don’t worry – she is a very kind woman.”

“Just remember,” Juliette said with a giggle, “those who are tardy for dinner will not get fruit cup.”

“I don’t get it,” Annie said with a look at Carina.

“You need a crash course in Mel Brooks,” Carina said as she helped Judith to sit down, while Ken put John into the high chair.

“Would you like some milk,” he said, John nodding as Karen produced some milk from her shoulder bag and passed the bottle over.

“Can I some juice please Grappy?”

“Of course,” Klaus said as he passed Judith a cup, only to look up and smile as Juliette hugged him.

“The Baron and Baroness von Manschen.”

“There you are,” Sigi said as she and Dieter came in, “how was the flight?”

“Well, we made it,” Klaus said as he walked over and greeted his sister, “how are things here?”

“With me and Frau Strecher in charge?  All is going according to plan,” Sigi said as a steward came in.

“She strikes me as the model of what someone imagines a German housekeeper to be like,” Karen said, “do horses neigh when you say her name?

"Don't let her intimidate you," Sigi smiled, "to use a metaphor, her bark is worse then her bite."

"And she is tremendously good at her job," Dieter spoke as he poured a drink.

"That she is," Klaus smiled.

"Does she know about all the American guests who are coming?" Karen asked.

"Yes, and she has accommodations arranged for everyone." Sigi looked at the briefing the Steward had given her, "I don't think she's missed a trick."

"She even persuaded Aunt Gloria to put a few people up." Ingrid smiled, "and we all know how difficult that is to do."

"I take it the Princess still refuses to acknowledge anyone not born at least a baron?" Deiter laughed. "Really she is such a tremendous snob," he shook his head.

"Well she knows she is, and she is unapologetic about it." Sigi smiled as well, "just be glad we aren't holding the wedding on her true home turf in Regensburg."

“So how does she feel about me,” Juliette asked.

“Find out on Thursday – she’s coming to the wedding rehearsal.”


Noon GMT
Gieves and Hawkes
Savile Row, London


To a gentleman of breeding and standing, Savile Row was the place to go for suits and other apparel.  And for the Gentleman Officer, both current and retired, one tailor in particular was the place to go.

So as John Hammond stood, two assistants working on him, Shirley looked on with quiet pride and a little irritation.

"I said your uniform needed looking at weeks ago John," she said quietly as she looked darts at her partner. "Now these poor gentlemen are having to rush the alterations before we fly on to Munich tomorrow."

"It's not a problem Lady Hammond," one of the tailors smiled.

"Miss Xavier is my partner not my wife Jack." John smiled, "and I knew by experience you'd be able to fit me in."

"Well we knew to expect you when we got the guest list sir," Thomas the fitter smiled, "the Major has always left things to the last minute Miss," he continued as he looked up at Shirley.

“Perhaps a little extra on the jacket length?”

“Quite so sir,” Jack said as he made a mark.

"So much business for the wedding Thomas?"

"Oh some sir,” he said as he adjusted the trouser length, “a few ex-military gents who discovered their uniforms no longer fit, and other gentlemen who's wives finally declared they had to change their suits..."

"Oh poor chaps," John laughed softly.

“Indeed – we had the Marquess of Ordford in yesterday with Lady Amanda.”

“Now why does that not surprise me,” John said with a smile.

"I found HIS missing MBE in his coat a while back Thomas," Shirley shook her head.

"Oh that is nothing Miss, we found a thousand pounds in one gentleman's coat recently, and it was so old that King George was still on the notes..."

"Oh dear lord!"

"Exactly Miss, a lot of our gentlemen tend to the careless with their dress clothes."

“So I noticed,” she said as the door to the fitting room opened, and the clerk showed Maisha in.

“You look very handsome in that Uncle John.”

“I will do when it is ready,” John said as Thomas removed the jacket.

“If you will return at four, Sir John, we will have it ready for you.”

“And the new morning suit?”

“Will be ready for the final fitting as well.”

“Excellent – give me a moment and I will be ready to take you both to lunch,” John said as he walked to the dressing room.

“Our dresses will be ready to collect at five,” Maisha said, “so how will he look?”

“Magnificent – as we both will.  Now, did you take care of the other business?”

“I did, Aunt Shirley – it will arrive on Friday in Munich.”

“Excellent,” Shirley said quietly, “excellent.”

2 pm GMT
Shearton Athlone Hotel
Athlone, Co Westmeath


“Good afternoon Miss,” the blonde haired receptionist said as she looked at the dark skinned woman, “can I help you?”

“You have a reservation for me in the name of Walker – Tracy Walker?”

“Ah yes Miss Walker,” the receptionist said as she looked on the screen, and then took some papers from a holder, “if you would fill in the details please?”

As Tracy filled out the form, she looked round the modern lobby.  She had expected an old fashioned hotel, so this monument to modern style was a surprise.  A nice one, but a surprise none the less.

“So what brings you to our town, Miss Cocker?”

“I needed a short holiday – some peace and quiet.”

“Well, be warned – we have a reunion here this weekend, so it may get a little noisy.”

“Oh?  What sort of reunion?”

“A catholic girls’ school – and we have a few models in as well.”

“Okay – so avoid the bar when they arrive,” Tracy said with a smile.

“Precisely – I’ll be glad to tell you of the better nearby inns.”

“Sounds good,” Tracy said as the receptionist took a swipe of her credit card.  “Room 1012 – have a pleasant stay.”

“Thanks,” Tracy said as she took her bag and headed for the lift.

Fifteen minutes later, she was looking out over the River Shannon, sipping her coffee as her telephone rang.

“Penny?  I’m checked in.  I’ll scope out the locale in a little while and then get some dinner.  Call you later tonight.”

2 pm GMT
The Ritz


"Thomas and Jack have been looking after me since I was a young whippersnapper going to Eton for the first time." John smiled as Maisha gorged herself on strawberries and cream.

"Neither looked a young man," Shirley shook her head, "and they clearly knew you of old John Hammond."

"They did Uncle John."

"Well like in all good relationships...and what goes on between a man and his tailor is a close relationship...we have grown old together."

"Maisha slow down you will make yourself sick darling," Shirley poured her own tea, "and I had heard that from other people John dear."

"But this is SO GOOD, Aunt Shirley.”

“Indeed – but remember, something so good needs to be savoured and appreciated.  Have some tea, and take a break.”

“All right, Uncle John,” Maisha said as she put her spoon down, and wiped her mouth.

“Remind me to be careful at Wimbledon,” John said with a smile.

“So when do the others arrive, Aunt Shirley?”

“At different times during the week, I think – but we all have to be there by Thursday.”

“And while we are waiting for the others?”

“The opportunity for you to practice your German, and learn something of a different culture,” Shirley said, “as well as some dance lessons when our friends from Hong Kong arrive on Tuesday.”

“I am particularly looking forward to seeing my sister again,” Maisha said with a smile as she sipped her drink.

“And I am sure Ama is looking forward to seeing you.”

“So how was your visit to the Commons?”

“Very interesting,” Maisha said with a smile, “Lady Harker taught me a great deal, although my encounter with a man called Boris was a little – comical.”

“Oh boy,” John said as he shook his head, “never trust an Old Etonian who is into politics.”


4 pm GMT
Athlone


As Tracy made her way out of the lift, she smiled as she saw the large green and godl banner that was hanging on the wall.

“WELCOME DAUGHTERS OF ERIN”

“Okay,” the receptionist said, “maybe it’s not just a school reunion.  You don’t have any Irish ancestry, do you?”

“Oh no,” Tracy said with a smile.  “Listen – how do I get to the castle from here?”

“Take this map,” the blonde haired girl said as she passed on to Tracy.  “Turn right out of here.”

“Many thanks,” Tracy said with a smile as she left the hotel, and walked along the street.  She needed to check out where the shoot was scheduled to take place, and the surrounding area, identify any possible blind spots and think about how she could cover them.



4 pm
JFK


“Mom, we’re going to be fine,” Katy said as she looked at Janice and Adam.  “I’ll take very good care of Gran, and make sure she doesn’t get into trouble.”

“Excuse me,” Katherine said with a smile, “I think you’ll find it is the other way round.”

“Just keep each other out of trouble, all right?  We’ll both see you in Munich on Thursday.”

“Right,” Katherine said, “we need to head through.  I’m glad we’re flying business.”

“One perk of Norstar,” Katy said as she put her rucksack on her back, before hugging both Janice and Adam.  “You two keep safe as well, all right?”

“With luck, she’ll sleep on the plane over,” Katherine said as she hugged them both.  “Enjoy the peace and quiet.”

“What peace and quiet?  I need to see my mother tomorrow,” Adam said with a sigh.

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he keeps to the law,” Janice said with a smile as Bev hugged Katy, and they waved her off.

“I’m going to pick something up from the newsstand,” Adam said as he walked to one side.

“Any sign of him,” Janice whispered as they watched Katherine and Katy walk to the security gates.

“Nope – so let’s hope he hasn’t followed them.”

“He hasn’t,” Susan said as she walked over, “we’ve been monitoring, no sign.”

“Good – she could do with this down time.”


Sunday 27th March
11 am BST
Ireland


“So this is Ireland,” Katy said as the car drove down the road, taking the time to look out of the window as the green fields rolled by.

“Oh yes,” her grandmother said quietly as she looked out of the other window, “this is Ireland.  Not Waterford – for which I am grateful – but it does feel good to be home.”

“Has it really been that long, Gran?”

“Oh yes, but I always dreamed of coming home one day,” Katherine said with a smile as she saw the castle coming closer.  “And that is Athlone castle, where you are doing the shoot tomorrow and Tuesday.”

“Welcome to Athlone,” the driver said, “the Easter services will have started, so we have a clear run to the hotel.”

“How come we lost another hour on our watches?”

“They started summer time today,” the driver said, “so you have another hour’s difference.  Anyway, here we are – the Sheraton Athlone.”

As he drove up to the main entrance, the chauffer stopped the car and then opened the doors to let them get out.  Katy was wearing a black leather jacket over a blue jumper, jeans and short black boots, while Katherine was wearing a beige coat over a floral print dress, and brown shoes.

“Well, here we go,” she said as they walked in, while a porter collected the cases from the trunk of the car.

“Good morning – welcome to the Sheration Athlone,” the man behind the reception desk said, “may I have your names please?”

“Katherine Carter, and this is my granddaughter Katy.”

“Ah yes – we were told to expect you about now.  May I see your passports please?”

As Katherine handed them over, Katy looked round, smiling as she saw Tracy sitting in the coffee bar.

“If you could just sing here,” the receptionist said to Katherine, “your rooms are ready now, so you can have a chance to unpack and change.”

“Sounds good to me – did Orion say when she was getting here Katy?”

“She said about one thirty – so we have a shower and then grab some lunch?”

“Sounds good to me,” Katherine said as they were handed their key cards, and then walked to the elevator.  As they went in, Tracy took her phone out.

“Penny?  Both safely arrived.  I’ll check in again later...”

“I see they’re expecting you Gran,” Katy said as they looked at the banner, before the lift doors closed.

“Why on earth did I agree to this,” her Gran said as she shook her head...


1 pm ECT
The Furstenheim Townhouse, Munich


Juliette and Klaus looked up from their seats as Frau Strecher came in.

“Major John Hammond, Miss Shirley Xavier and Miss Maisha Abonoyu, Your Highness.”

“John – welcome, welcome,” Klaus said as he stood up, embracing all three of them before Juliette did, “we will be having lunch shortly – I hope you are hungry.”

“Fairly so – so long as it is not strawberries and cream.”

“Oh no – plenty of Apple Strudel however.  Frau Strecher, three additional guests for lunch.”

The estate manager bowed as she left the room, Shirley sitting with Juliette as she said “so, how are you feeling?”

“Getting more nervous as each day passes.  I’ll be glad when Diana and Sandy get here later.”

“I spoke to Mandy last night – they will be arriving Wednesday.  And then...”

As the door opened, everyone turned and looked at the man who came in.  He had short light brown hair, was wearing a denim shirt and jeans, and had a viewfinder round his neck.

“Oh – my apologies Your Highness, I thought this room would be empty.”

“It’s all right – we will be moving in now anyway.  May I introduce Edwin Breitz, who is planning a documentary about the family?”

“A pleasure – I will return later,” he said with a low bow as he walked back – into an older couple who were about to come in.

“My apologies,” he muttered as he walked off, Klaus wondering who he was talking to before they came in.

“Aunt Natalya, Uncle Wilhelm – welcome,” he said as the Baron and Baroness von Buchenwald came in.  “You’re just in time for lunch.”

“Excellent,” Willy said as he walked over and kissed Juliette and Shirley, then shook John’s hand.

“I am glad you arrived safely,” Natalya said as she joined Shirley and Juliette, “and the younger generation?”

“They went to the Cathedral with Sigi and her family, but they should be back at any moment,” Juliette said.  

1.30 pm BST
Sheraton Athlone


“KATY!”

Katy looked up and smiled as Orion O’Ryan came into the dining room, her great aunt and father following her.

“Hey Orion – want to join us?”

“In a few minutes – we need to get our cases to our rooms, but we’ll be right down after that.”

“oh you sit down lass,” her father said, “Your aunt and I will sort the rooms out.”

“Kathy.”

“Brenda.”

Katy and Orion looked at both of them, as her father said “right – come on Brenda, we can do this quickly.”

“Don’t worry – this is neutral ground,” Katherine said as the redheaded Belfast lass sat down.

“So how was the flight?”

“Interesting – have you seen the powers that be yet?”

“You mean the women in charge?  Not yet,” Katherine said as she looked round.

“You called?”

“MISSY!  How on earth do you do that?”

“Training,” Missy said as she and Alice appeared at the table.  “Anyway, I’m glad you both made it – let me introduce you to someone who will act as an additional chaperone for the next few days.  This is Paula Gaunt, and her daughter Aileen.”

“Pleasure to meet you both – and to see you again Katherine,” Paula said with a smile.  

“Hello Paula – so what induced you to come here?”

“Duty – I’m the keynote speaker at the dinner on Tuesday.  I invited Aileen to come as she is the same age as you two.”

“And I wanted to meet you – after Caroline and Jo came to visit, they said you would be here next,” Aileen said as she looked at Orion and Katy.

“Well, pull up a seat – let’s have some lunch together.”

“Why don’t we make our way over there,” Missy said as she indicated a nearby table, leaving the three girls to talk to each other.



3 pm BST

“Well, here they are,” Paula said as Alice and Mandy came in.

“Good afternoon darlings,” Mandy drawled as she kissed Paula, Brenda and Katherine, “ready for a couple of days work before the fun.”

“The girls are working, I’m here for the meeting,” Katherine said, “as are both of these ladies – allegedly.”

“See – we do the work, they drink the Guinness,” Alice said with a laugh.  “But it does mean we get to split the journey to the weekend.”

"So are they under lock and key safely Alice?" Katherine asked.

"They had better be," Alice sighed, "you wouldn't believe the security I have them under at Tom and Paula's place in Dublin.  Caroline gave her very best advice."

"Well it's a most anticipated wedding, I could probably make myself a fortune leaking pictures in advance..."

"You just dare Katherine Carter!" Alice glared.

"Now would I really do that?"

"That's an interesting question," a voice giggled.

"Hey Maeve," Alice kissed the newcomer.

“Maeve,” Katherine said, “allow me to introduce Kathy O’Dowd, Orion’s great aunt and chaperone.”

“So you’re here for the meeting as well,” Maeve said with a smile.

“In part – Orion’s father will split the chaperone duties with me,” Kathy said quietly.

“Gran – Orion, Aileen and I are going to go for a swim,” Katy said as she appeared in the bar.

“All right – but remember we have a meeting later to give schedules,” Alice said as Katy walked off.

“I’m glad they’ve hit it off,” Paula said, “it means they have a friend their own age there as well.”




5 pm CET
Munich


“Countess de Ros and Miss Richmond,” Frau Strecher said as Sandy and Diana came in.

“There you are ma cherie,” Diana said as Juliette and Sigi stood up, “how are you feeling?”

“A lot better now both of you are here,” Juliette said, “where are the others?”

“Heather is helping Sands and George to unpack, Jo and Abby went straight off with Cari and Annie,” Sandy said as Frau Strecher brought fresh coffee in.  “Did I see Natalya and Wilhelm?”

“You did – they arrived earlier,” Sigi said.  “The troops, as they say, are gathering.”

“So is there a schedule for the week?”

“Well, up to Wednesday everything is more informal, but more and more people are arriving.  Thursday we have a rehearsal and a private mass at the cathedral, fillowed by tea with the Cardinal.  Then Friday we have the parade.”

“The Parade?”

“A ceremonial parade by the Furstenheim Jaegers – with all of us.”

Sandy smiled as she picked up her coffee.  “Well - how many brides-to-be will spend the night before their wedding participating in a military parade Ju?'

"I know Sandy,” Juliette said with a smile, “but it really is a great way of introducing me and the girls to the people of the Estates and of Furstenheim loyalty."

"So have you been practicing Ju?" Sigi asked.

"Oh yes - Hauptfeldwebel Strecher has been putting us through our paces."

"And why doesn't it surprise me that she is the unit's Sergeant-Major?" Sandy shook her head.

"I know..." Ju rolled her eyes.

"As I told you weeks ago, it's not easy marching in high heels." Sigi spoke again.

"But you make it look so easy Sigs."

"Ah but I've been doing it a long while."

"So does Annie march?"

"No she gets to sit in a carriage in her maternity uniform and holds my Granddaughter, who by the way looks so cute in her little uniform."

“Okay – so Friday is that, and I presume dinner later.  And then Saturday.”

“A most important day,” Klaus said as he appeared with Dieter.  “A small civil ceremony and then the main event.”

“Who is coming to the little civil wedding at the Neues Rathaus?" Dieter asked.

"Just very close family and friends," Klaus responded.

"Yes in contrast to the cathedral it will be very intimate." Juliette leaned on her betrothed's shoulder. "And I told Herr Breitz 'NO CAMERAS'."

"Good," Sigi smiled.

“That will be at ten, allowing us time to return and change before the cathedral.”

“Then,” Juliette said, “back here for the reception – have you seen the grand hall yet?”


“I thought Chateau de Ros was big,” Jo said as she and Abby looked round, “but this is amazing.  This is where the reception will be held?”

“Yup,” Carina said as Judith held Abby’s hand, “I think we can get everyone in here.”

“And the rest,” Abby whispered, “and there’s a parade on Friday?”

“Oh yeah – me in full uniform and high heels.  Good stuff.”

“So where are the dresses,” Jo said as she looked out of one of the high windows.

“Apparently under guard in Dublin until Alice and Mandy come over mid week.”

“Safest place for them,” Abby said as she looked round.

"And this is just your townhouse Cari?”  Jo sat down before she said “It makes the Gaunt's place in Dublin look almost tiny."

"Does it Jo?  Well all I know is that this is where Pop and Ingy usually think of as home."

"I'll need Big Sister to tell me what all these paintings are." Jo looked round the walls of the great hall.

"Well I bet Heather knows a lot more about them then I do."

"You of course Mademoiselle Countess aren't intimidated by this one bit are you?" Annie asked Abby.

"Not really...  Although I think grandmamma will be most impressed."

"Well for a girl from a split-level rancher in the St Louis suburbs, I have to admit I am."

"And I have to agree with you." Jo nodded her head.  “Clint is going to have his mind blown as well when he gets here.”

“When does he arrive?”

“Tuesday – so I get a day and a bit to prepare for the fun...”

"You know we have an appointment to go to the Nymphenburg Palace tonight Annie and be introduced to the Duke?"

"Uggh don't remind me Cari,” Annie said as she shook, “the thought terrifies me."

"Why?" asked Jo.

"Because in a slightly different world he'd not be Duke of Bavaria, but King of Bavaria..."

"And as such our overlord," Carina laughed as she finished the sentence.

"I have heard he can be slightly terrifying."

"No,” Cari said, “he's just an old gentleman of the real old school darling, and remember he survived a Nazi concentration camp as a child."

"Oh God, why was he in a camp?" asked Abigail.

"Because the Wittelsbach's were anti-Nazi, and didn't keep their mouths shut about it."

“Big history lesson this week as well,” Abby said with a smile.  

“Can I have a hug Aunt Abby?”

“Of course you can little one,” Abby said as she picked Judith up and rubbed noses with her.

“Do we wear the pretty dress soon, Mama?”

“We all do little one,” Cari said.

“Ah there you are,” Sigi said as she came in, “we will be having an early meal tonight, to give some of you a chance at an early night.”

“Sounds good to me,” Jo said as she stretched her arms up.
Countdown - Part 4
As Katy and her grandmother head to Ireland, guests start to gather in Munich...
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KP-Presents's Profile Picture
KP-Presents
Kev Pickering
United Kingdom
Writer of "detective magazine" fiction which I publish with other works at www.kppresents.com. The text boxes you see here contain extracts from some of my stories. Click on the link and look for the category mentioned in the description for the full text. For quick updates to my site, try my blog at kppresents.blogspot.com/

I am always open to story ideas or collaboration requests - :iconrequestsopen: :iconcollabsask:

Current Residence: UK
Favourite genre of music: Classic Rock, sixties female
MP3 player of choice: I don't own one
Favourite cartoon character: DangerMouse
Personal Quote: It's the quiet, unobivous ones you have to watch
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Ta mate! Hope I can stay longer this time round ;)
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:iconbostongirl7519:
Bostongirl7519 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2016
Aabb2fg by Bostongirl7519  

:iconllama3dplz::icongivellama1plz::icongivellama2plz::icongivellama3plz::iconllama3dplz:

Nice Job here.

Hey, lets say I am the pussy Cat,
Who is the prince, If I may Ask.?

Hugs Are Free,
DeeDee


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:iconaxel-von-wallenrod:
Axel-Von-Wallenrod Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2016
hi ^^ I have to say you're an amazing writer and I'm absolutely addicted to your work here. I love the whole Madam X universe and the Pussycats and the China Dolls and also the Heidi stories... You're awesome!
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KP-Presents Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2016
I'm flattered you think so highly of ym work - and :iconj-jell: thanks you as well.
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:iconaxel-von-wallenrod:
Axel-Von-Wallenrod Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2016
well, you are both welcome ^u^ you deserve the praise.
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damsellover23 Featured By Owner May 29, 2016
Hope you have plans for another,exciting Objects of Beauty story coming,with guest appearances from a couple of my favourite girls in distress.
Many thanks.
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:iconrob66:
Rob66 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2016
Thanks for watching  :)
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AshFan Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2016
Happy 2016, buddy!
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MisterMistoffelees Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks for the final Invasions fave, KP!  It's been an honor...
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KP-Presents Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2015
You're welcome - check your PM...
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