“Henry come on, it is time to get up if you want breakfast.” John called from the bottom of the stairs it was the third time he was calling for his youngest son. Henry rolled over onto his left side deeply moaning.
“I am not ready to face the day.” Henry mumbled and then stopped himself. “… this day… Heilige Entengrütze!” Henry jumped out of bed and looked at his calendar he made it himself, the boxes were wonky and there it was the day with the star. “TODAY IS THE DAY!!!” Henry shouted from the top of his lungs. Bailey ran barking in just as loudly.
“Was bist du den hier am rumschreien? Bailey glaubt du hast nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank.“ Lorelai looked at her son. She snip her finger and Bailey stopped barking and sat down looking expecting at her mistress.
“Sorry Mutti.” Henry said grinning in perfect German. “I just forgot what day it is. I got to go and get the poop eggs from my chickens. I bet they pooped loads. They often poop in fear when the fox is around and I got a feeling that the fox was there tonight. You better be hungry for poop eggs.” Henry shouted still in his PJs as her an down the stairs. He jumped in his wellies in the mudroom and was out the door before anyone could have stopped him.
“ENTENGRRÜTZE it is cold. I better get some more hay around the chicken house.” The little boy was not wearing his coat, so the snowy winter weather was biting his little body. “Don’t worry Schniedelwutz we will be inside very soon. Hang strong, hang strong.”
Henry opened the chicken coop and made sure he closed the door tightly behind him. He didn’t want to chase his chickens before school in PJs… again. “Good morning Ladies, and my cock. Now who of you pooped me an egg or two? Janice, Patti, Beverly, Kelly, Margaux, Brigitte, Marilyn and Twiggy, my gorgeous ladies any pooping done? Henry the eighth, how is it hanging? Everything free swinging?” Henry moved slowly through the chicken house and collected the eggs from his ladies. He was rather proud of his English Court as he called it.
“Bailey stop barking at me and my chickens.” Henry said sounding annoyed as he came out of the chicken house and Bailey was standing outside the fence. The little dog was wearing her pink long sleeved woollen coat
that said Boss Dog on the back.
“Henry you will catch your death out here.” Lorelai said shaking her head at her youngest. A snip of her finger and Bailey ran right next to Lorelai. The dog was not even a year old barely a few months and she adored her mistress and she clearly adopted what Lorelai had told her. Bailey had no idea that she was tiny. She weight barely 4lbs, the vet said she was the smallest dog she had seen in a long time but Bailey believed she was the same size and Der Keizer, Lorelai’s large Hanoverian stallion.
“Ich bin in wenigen Augenblicken drinnen. Ich musste unsere Frühstückskackeier holen. Nun meine Damen, Schwanz glückliches kacken und spannen. Mutti ich weiß nicht, ob ich die Stallknaben sehe, aber ich brauche mehr Heu ums Haus, damit der Königshof warm und geröstet bleibt, damit die Damen weiter Eier kacken können und Henry der Achte weiter spannen kann.“ Henry said quickly as he was dancing as much as he could without any of his eggs falling out of the basket.
Lorelai stared at her son, this was so weird and hilarious at the same time.
“Schnell Mutti, mein Schniedelwutz fällt gleich ab!”
“Yes, yes I get them to place more hay around the house. Now go inside. I expect my egg to be soft boiled. You know I like to dip my soldiers in the yolk.” Lorelai answered back in German and Henry hurried off.
“Daddy? Mutti wants her egg to be soft boiled. There are enough poop eggs for all of us, even for barky Bailey. She barks so much. Whenever I am doing anything she just barks.” Henry said as he placed the egg basket on the kitchen counter.
“It is because you are loud and twitchy, you never stand still and…” Edward tried to explain but his little brother already had run out of the kitchen, kind of proofing his point.
Henry ran into his room and went straight to the wardrobe he opened the door and looked at the large poster, a list with a rising sun at the top.
“Okay, it is morning. So I got the poop eggs, what’s next…” He ran his finger along the sentence, shook his head and looked at the picture at the end.
”Okay teeth brushing aaaand…”
He looked at the second picture ignoring the sentence again.
“… ash my face. Got it. I nearly remember it this morning.”
Henry ran off in the boys’ bathroom brushed his teeth, he used the hourglass despite hating to have to do for soooo long. Washed his face with a splash of water and then ran back in his room, his face still dripping wet.
“Okay what’s next…” He ran his finger along the third instruction, again not even trying to read the sentence. Henry hated reading. He said it was too hard. He was glad that his best friend Jill liked reading, she was learning it since a while now so she read for him whenever she could.
“Oh, duh. Getting dressed of course can’t go to school in my Pjs.” Henry looked down at himself and then turned around realising that he was still wearing his willies, and left visible footprints. “Whoopsey!” Henry grinned and quickly hid his willies under his pillow and put on his school uniform. When Jane will see him she will go all twitchy, he was so untidily dressed as he walked in the kitchen.
“Here I am!”
John rolled his eyes. “Yes we can see that. Also thanks for making me mop the kitchen floor where are your willies?”
Henry grinned innocently. “I have no idea… I mean in the mudroom where they belong. The footprints aren’t mine.” Henry sat at the kitchen table and picked up his cup of warm honey milk and fresh baked German wholemeal bun. He had a knife and well more or less hacked the bun apart. Took cold meats and cheese and piled it between the two halves. “Are the poop eggs cooked yet?”
“Why do you keep calling them poop eggs? They are just eggs. Uncle Liam explained that a bird has one opening and it is not faeces when the eggs come out.” Edward said quietly. Edward always spoke quietly. “Is Graham picking me up today after school?”
“Have you see the eggs? They are dirty there is clearly poop on them they are poop
eggs, Uncle Liam has no idea about animals.” Henry said with his mouth full.
“Henry!” Lorelai said strict despite the fact that she just walked back into the kitchen, her own willies and coat and Bailey’s coat were tidy in the mudroom. Bailey walked over to her warm breakfast and started eating not missing the opportunity to bark at Henry again.
“No Edward, Graham won’t pick you up today. He apologised and promised to spend the day with you after Christmas, there is also a concert he would like to take you to in Manchester. If you would like to go you may do that it would mean you stay overnight with Graham in a hotel in Manchester.”
Edward nodded without a word acknowledging the change of plans and conforming that he would like to go, all with one small nod. Lorelai smiled warmly at her middle son and took a sip of her strong coffee, about the fourth cup she had since she was awake. She always got up at 4:30AM. Running a stud farm and riding school was hard work and took a lot of dedication. Henry looked admiring at his Mutti, she was the most amazing woman in the whole wide world, so much more than Wonder Woman.
John gave everyone a fresh boiled egg and sat down himself. Meal times in the Von Grünsee household were very import. You needed a good excuse to miss either breakfast or dinner. Lunch was just a small thing, but the other meals!
“John are you taking the boys with you into town?” Lorelai spoke English with her husband and accepted that the boys spoke with either other English but as soon as they wanted her to participate in the conversation they needed to speak German and they never not did it. Most children visiting the house picked up enough German to know what they said even though when they never spoke German themselves, like Jill and Jane and some other kids from school. John was fluent in German but he refused to ever speak it.
“Yes. We are leaving in 25 minutes. I want to leave a bit earlier because of the snow. But you will have to take the bus back home today.” John said with a mysterious twinkle in his eyes.
Edward again nodded he didn’t like having to take the bus, usually most other children weren’t very kind to him.
“It’s alright Edward. If anyone bothers you I make them bugger themselves.” Henry said heated, enjoying his egg loudly.
“Henry!” Lorelai looked strict at her youngest son, Bailey quickly throwing in a bark too.
“Mutti I got to make sure they aren’t mean to him. It is even worse when Jane and Jill are on the bus with us. Jill and I are so busy making them all to bugger themselves. They are really mean.” Henry said so heated. Lorelai understood her son, she knew how mean children could be to the ones that were different but she also didn’t want to encourage violence.
“Find a way that does not get you in trouble. Use your words. Jill is good with those.” Lorelai said, only receiving an eye rolling from the youngest Von Grünsee member.
It didn’t take long and John left with the boys for school. Lorelai sighed a moment of relief. She loved her men -big and little- dearly but she also loved when they left for the day and she could sit in her office on the big armchair with a fresh cup of strong coffee and Bailey on her lap, chewing a oxtail or a hair cow ear. When it was just the two of them. Peace and quiet.
“I am rather sad that I will miss my art and English lessons for the Carole service.” Edward said looking at his small planner.
“Don’t worry your teacher’s planned that you will miss those lessons.” John said with a smile. He knew how important school was for Edward. He often missed already lessons for his music.
“I am glad I am missing reading and spelling and story time. I hate those lessons. I hope we won’t miss break those. And hopefully I can sit with Jill in the church, though she likes church. She always tells me to sit still in church. But the benches are always so hard and uncomfy and all the singing of weird words. Oh Entengrütze I forgot my lunch.” Now Henry looked even more distressed than Edward did. John chuckled. “Have you forgotten that you are having Christmas dinner in school today?”
“Oh thank the pooping gods. Yes I did forget that! I am so glad. I love a good dinner and a Christmas dinner is extra special. Do you know that the dinner ladies are really charming? Gladys, always gives me extra potatoes and gravy and less vegetables. She is such a doll.” Henry chuckled now to himself. He liked lunch a lot and he liked it even more when he had a hot dinner. “They let us sit with the reception class. So Jill and I can sit together, she has all her peeps sitting with her. And you can sit with Jane.” Henry said. Edward nodded. He knew that Jane would have a special plate that would keep her food apart and she would have a small bowl for the gravy and the cranberry sauce. He would help her to get her food all nicely separated, he would even carry anything that wouldn’t fit on her tray.
“Dad come on stop the car the school gate is right there, we can walk the last bit.” Henry yelled as he got ready to jump out of the moving car.
“Alright, alright. Have a lovely day boys and behave Henry.”
“Always!” Henry shouted as he ran through the snow towards the school, Edward waved at his father as he drove off. He would walk a little slower. Henry was basking in the attention of his friends, he waved to Jill who just walked onto the yard and quickly went to registration. He knew he had just moments left before he would be late.
Jane and Edward greeted each other a lot more polite and quietly, they could easily be part of a Jane Austen novel, as they walked together to the corridor their classes were.
As expected it was hard for Henry to sit still during the church service, but he was sitting with Jill and with Edward and Jane on a bench. Edward had asked very politely his class teacher if he could sit with his brother and younger cousins and he promised he would make sure Henry would not disturb the service too much. A smart move and the teacher allowed it. They were sitting at the aisle, right in the back. Partly in case one of the teachers had to take out Henry or Jill out -they didn’t know yet how much the little girl liked going to church, she loved the singing and the butterflies in her tummy and she was good in praying she and God had a great connection, because God loved peeps just like she did- and the other reason because in the back you had the best audio without reflection and echo. Edward liked that. It was a surprise that the other three children made sure that Henry was behaving...
“Gladys, my doll. I hope you will have an amazing Christmas. So dinner.”
“I already got your plate ready, your brother is already sitting down and so do your cousins, Jane’s was as difficult as ever but no food is touching. Jill on the other hand already said she would very much like seconds. Now take your plate and off you go you little charmer. And a Merry Christmas to you too.”
“I knew it you are a doll.” Henry grinned when he saw his extra potatoes and gravy and less vegetables. He sat down next to Jane. “Yours looks nice Jane.” Henry smiled warmly at his favourite tidy little girl.
“Thanks. Yours…” Jane’s hand was twitching slightly. “You got less vegetables, Mummy says they are important.”
“Oh yeah I got a deal with the dinner ladies. I got more potatoes though, they are a vegetable aren’t they?” Henry grinned cheeky at her. Jane smiled a little back at him.
“No not really. You got gravy on your chin.” She said and wiped his chin. “Also your tie is a mess and I think your shirt is buttoned up wrong.”
“Sorry. Let me fix it.” He took off his tie, which Jane took gladly and tied it perfectly for him while Henry still eating buttoned his shirt correctly. When he put his tie back on Jane sorted his collar.
“There now you are as handsome as your daddy.” Jane smiled and wiped some mash potatoes of his cheek.
“Thanks.” Henry grinned and kissed her on the cheek back. Jane blushed deeply and quickly stuffed some food on her mouth, ignoring that it was Brussels sprouts and roast potatoes.
“Your welcome. Are you gonna come out after we ate and have a snowball fight?” He grinned cheeky at her.
“No I think I rather go to the library. But be careful, I don’t want you to fall.” She said. Of course did she love her wild cousin. She might prefer Edward but she still loved Henry just as much. “I am sure Jilly will join can you look after her?” Jane sounded worried.
“Of course, I make sure she is in my team.” Henry quickly finished his Christmas dinner and dessert ran outside to join the fight. He found Jane and after he hugged her tightly, they created a team and the fight got intense. They would have two more hours after lunch. Henry looked just as messy as he did before lunch when he went into his classroom for afternoon registration...
“Finally school is over. I got to get Edward to sit with him on the bus.” Henry sighed a deeply as the last bell rang. He hurried to his beg through his coat on and stood next to Edward in the corridor, waving at the twins who would also take the bus home. “Are you ready?”
“Yes.” Edward whispered.
“I don’t like the bus, it smells odd in there and the seats are always sticky.” Jane whispered to Edward, he nodded and took her small hand.
“Where is Jill?” Henry asked looking through the crowd.
“Oh she said she is going to get us the good seats on the bus. Whatever that means.” Jane said slightly louder to Henry so he could hear her. Henry took all gentleman like her small satchel and walked on her other side out of the school making sure no one would push her.
“HENRY! EDWARD! JANEY you got to come quick!” Jill came back to them without her own satchel screaming and bouncing in the snow. “This is so incredible!”
The youngest of the four managed to push them all towards the school gate and grinned from one ear to the other.
“DAAAAAANNNN!” Henry screamed of the top of his lungs.
“HENNERS!” Dan screamed back as he let the little boy jump into his arms. “Man you have grown. So I thought I leave uni early and come and pick you up. I saw the snow last night and called Dad and he said it would be an amazing idea. So here I am. Hi Edward, Jane.” Dan grinned at the others. Jill had seen him before when she had hurried to the bus and realise they would have amazing seats in Dan’s car.
“I can’t believe you are already here! I had plans to hide in your closet and then come out of the closet and scare the poop out of you. Maybe it would have been a poop egg. Just like my ladies.” Henry still said so loud. Edward helped Jill into the middle back seat and put her seatbelt on as he climbed in after her.
“Jane let me help you.” Henry said loudly as he offered his hand for her to hold on to as she climbed on the passenger seat.
“Thank you Henry.” Jane smiled, she even managed to ignore that his hand was slightly sticky and covered in paint stains.
“Henry get in and let’s drop off the young ladies and then we go home. And you can show me your royal chicken court, and anything else.” Dan laughed watching his little brother charm Jane’s socks off.
“I got so much to show you and tell you and we got so much to do. You missed the first snow and the first advent and Nikolaus and-“
“Henners! Breath!” Dan laughed as he looked around the car checking that all little ones were safely in the car and then started the engine. “Okay off we go. Sorry for driving a bit slower, but it is so snowy and as soon as we leave Oxford city it gets even worse. So tell me about your day. Edward, you first.”
“We went to the carol service-“
“The teachers let us all sit together!” Henry shouted interrupting his big brother. “And we had Christmas dinner and I had less vegetables and more potatoes are potatoes vegetables?”
Dan laughed and shook his head.
“No I don’t think potatoes are vegetables, we will ask Mutti. Jane did you enjoy the carol service?”
Jane nodded. “Gabriel’s halo wasn’t even and Mary help the baby Jesus wrong I believe even Baby Jesus would have… died. She shook him to hard. But she was just a little girl so I guess she still has time to learn.”
Without trying to be, Jane was hilarious and Dan grinned. The ride home was one heck of a party. With four children under 8 years it was mean to be funny. They were all giggling when Dan stopped the car outside of the front door of Waterfall Downs Academy. They would later come back for the swinging Christmas Party. The annual Christmas Eve Party got moved to the last day of term party so that all children could go home the day after. A lot of day pupils stayed overnight in camp beds in their friends’ rooms if their parents weren’t attending or they wanted a seat on the bus that drove some home. Liam was standing on the steps watching sternly as Dan stopped the car.
“You should have let Edward sit on the passenger seat. Jane is too small to sit there.” Liam said a little gruff.
Dan blushed, but it was Henry that answered first. “I thought the most lady-like princess should have the most comfortable seat, and Edward was watching Jill to make sure she was sitting properly.”
Liam looked now stern at Henry.
“I was very safe Daddy.” Jane chirped as she took Liam’s hand and Henry gave her, her school satchel. Henry kissed her on the cheek.
“I promise I will look handsome tonight. I will have a red tie and I ask my dad to make sure it is really straight. What kind of knot do you like the most?”
“I like the Windsor knot, Grandfather showed me a picture of Great-Grandfather and he always wore the Windsor knot.” Jane smiled.
“I will ask my dad how to knot that one. Not sure. Maybe Dan knows how to do it, he might have learned it in his fancy big boys school.”
Jill hugged Henry tightly. “I will see you tonight. I got a new dress and a hair ribbon two actually. Scoddy will braid my hair, Grandfather said he is really good in doing that. He once nearly braided his hair. Maybe we can braid James’ hair at the party. What do you think?”
“Love the plan.” Henry grinned. “There will be food right?”
“Are you kidding me? Of course!” Jill laughed. She leaned closer one more time. “And we can check if we are big enough to slide down the grand staircase.”
“YEAH!” Henry whispered back.
“Hey Henners, time to go home. Mutti will wonder where we are.” Dan called. “See you tonight Professor.” Dan smiled at Liam. Even when his old teacher and headmaster was strict and concerned about his daughters’ safety it would never changed how much Liam meant to him. He was the one that saw Dan’s potential when he visited his old school. That day changed everything, Dan was actually quite sure if he hadn’t met Liam O’Doherty that day and asked if he wanted to take a test to see if he fits the criteria for a different school, he would be dead today. He would not celebrate Christmas in 1975. He would be dead. He wasn’t sure if his stepfather would have beat him to dead or if Dan in the end would have taken his own life to escape. So he would never forget what Liam did for him.
“I’m sorry Professor, next time I make sure Edward sits in the passage seat. I promise.” Dan smiled apologetic at Liam and his old headteacher nodded grateful.
“Off we go!” Henry yelled from the back seat. Dan grinned and drove off. He loved being home. Sure being a student living in halls and you know exploring the world was amazing but this -Dan looked in the review mirror and looked at Waterfall Downs Academy- and he looked ahead towards Three Lakes Stud Farm. He loved his home so very much.
“Henners how is Mutti’s new dog?”
“She is always
barking at me.”
“Because you are loud and always moving.” Edward explained.
“Well yeah but she should be used to it by now. Anyway she is always barking and has no idea that she is tiny, like really tiny.” Henry showed Bailey’s size, the Jackawawa seemed to have turned into a either a small guinea pig or large gerbil. Dan laughed. His laugh froze in his throat as he saw Mutti waiting outside the main building, and next to her the small dog again in her pink coat. She was so small that Dan understood why she was wearing a coat the snow reached her stomach.
“I told you we are taking an awful long time.” Dan stopped the car and Henry jumped out.
“Mutti! Wir musten doch die O’Doherty Damen zu Hause absetzen. Und Dan ist sehr achtsam gefahren. Schule wr klasse, ich wünschte wir würden jeden Tag einen Gottesdiesnt haben. Wie geht es meinen Damen?“ Henry dropped his school bag and ran to his chicken coop. “Hello Ladies and my Cock. Any more poop eggs? You seem to like the fresh hay. I will put you to bed later hang tight and let it hanging Henry the Eighth.”
Henry grinned and ran inside, ignoring the barking of Bailey. Lorelai knew that Bailey actually had no problem with her youngest son, she was just concerned because he was so wild that he would get hurt so the little dog decided to alert her mistress to his location at all times. Bailey actually loved him the most, he was fun to play with. Lorelai was hugging Dan tightly, her Dan.
“You are too skinny, you lost weight.” She mumbled not letting go of him.
“MUTTI!? Is there ANY food in the house?” Henry yelled from the open kitchen door. Not like it was below zero and the heating was on in the kitchen.
“HENRY! Mach die Tür zu! Hast du Säcke vor der Tür?” Lorelai yelled back, right into Dan’s ear. Dan just held his Mutti tighter and chuckled, this was home all the madness. Oh and yeah in the background Edward was already playing the alp horn. Some thought Pippi Longstockings house was insane? They have not been at Three Lake Stud Farm. It is a madhouse, but his madhouse and he loved every corner of it.