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Gurkeep comes to stay
written & illustrated by Grandad

 

Now, I know you remember Gurkeep, the guide from "The Flying Train", who took Nanny and Roxanne around Mumbai. When they left Mumbai, they told Gurkeep, that he must come and visit them on their farm. A year later, Gurkeep was at Mumbai's airport, waiting to board his plane to London. A month ago he had rung Roxanne and Nanny and asked would it be okay, if he came to visit. "Of course", they said yes and were very excited he was coming. Over the next four weeks, Gurkeep was so excited and counted the days until his flight to London. He had never been to London, he had seen it on TV and read books about it, spoke to friends who had been before, but now he would see it for himself.

 

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Gurkeep arrived at Heathrow late in the evening, once he got through passport control and customs, he grabbed a taxi and took it to his hotel in central London. It was almost midnight when he finally got to his room, he was tired, but he had promised himself, however late it was, on his first night, he would take a walk around London, before going to sleep. He had a map of London and the lady on reception pointed out where the hotel was on the map, but Gurkeep was so tired, he held the map upside down and went off in the wrong direction.

After quite a walk he arrived at a bridge which he thought was Westminster bridge, but it actually was Lambeth bridge. He knew that the Houses of Parliament and big Ben were there, but he was actually disappointed, they were not as big as he thought. He spoke to a taxi driver by the bridge, the man laughed and said "mate you are on the wrong bridge." They both laughed and the taxi driver drove him to Westminster bridge and then Gurkeep saw the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and said "oh my, they are very big."

 

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Gurkeep awoke very late and missed breakfast, so he decided to find a local cafe and have a full English breakfast. He found one around the corner from the hotel and he walked in and said "Hello my old china, can I have some full English and some Rosie Lee." Everyone in the cafe stopped dead in their tracks and then the taxi driver from last night got up, walked up to him and said "Everyone, this is my new friend from last night Gurkeep." Everyone said hello, shook his hand and then the taxi driver asked him, what he wanted to eat and said "please, tell us in English", with that everyone roared with laughter, including Gurkeep.

As he ate his breakfast with his new friend, the others explained to him, hardly anyone speaks cockney nowadays. "Oh blimey and I have learnt all those phrases too." Said Gurkeep and continued to say " I have one question, I need to ask, I have been looking every where, where do you keep your horses and primates?" Everyone looked confused and the taxi driver said "Which horses and primates?" "The ones you use for money, now I know you use a pony and a monkey, do you have to take them with you, when you want to buy something?", replied Gurkeep. Well everyone fell about laughing, they had tears rolling down their faces and one of them said "Oh Gurkeep you are priceless," and quickly explained, it was just cockney slang for an amount of money.

 

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The Taxi driver, whose name was Tony, took the rest of the morning off and showed Gurkeep the sights of London. As a black cab driver, Tony's knowledge of London was second to none. Although there was some confusion at the start. Tony and the other cab drivers told Gurkeep they had to learn the knowledge, before they could get their licence. "My friends, you already have good knowledge, you are all clever men," said Gurkeep. They explained they had to prove in a test they had good knowledge of London and could get from A to B in the shortest route. "Ah," said Gurkeep. "I thought i understood English very well," said Gurkeep sadly. "Your English is very good Gurkeep, we would have the same problems if we came to India," replied Tony. Gurkeep smiled and replied "Yes, you are right Tony, but I would be your guide."

Tony dropped Gurkeep at Victoria Station and they said good bye, "You are a wonderful man," said Tony. Gurkeep replied "so are you Tony, thank you for your kindness." Tony told him what platform he needed and went to the taxi rank to pick up a fare.

 

 

Gurkeep found his train at the platform, he found that the train was already full, so he decided to sit on the roof, a practice which is very normal in India, but not here in the U.K. as he found out very quickly. "Come down." A voice said, Gurkeep looked around and saw a man in uniform ordering him down. "Am I not allowed to ride on the roof, I have a ticket?", said Gurkeep. "Sorry Sir, I know you can in your country, but here it's not allowed, we don't want to encourage adults and children to do this," replied the ticket collector.

Then he looked around, then whispered to Gurkeep "I was in India last year and I spent 2 journeys riding on the roof, it was magical, I met some really nice people on a train roof." They both giggled and then the ticket collector, stood back and said " inside the carriage please sir, the train is just about to leave." As the door closed the ticket collector winked at Gurkeep and went down the platform whistling away, Gurkeep was sure, he was remembering his train journeys on the roof in India.

 

 

Roxanne was waiting on the platform for Gurkeep's train to arrive, Nanny was back at the farm getting tea ready, she was making her famous cakes, suddenly Roxanne was very hungry, lol, Roxanne was always hungry, as we all know. Finally Gurkeep's train arrived and Roxanne could not believe what she was seeing, there was Gurkeep riding on the top of the train. When Gurkeep saw Roxanne, he jumped down and run over to Roxanne said "Hello, oh one minute please", rushed back to the train and just managed to grab his case, just before the train doors closed.

"Hello again." he said and they both burst out laughing, "well that was fun," said Roxanne, having visions of chasing the train, to get his suitcase. "We need to get back to the farm, Nanny is making her famous cakes and I am starving," said Roxanne and grabbed Gurkeep's suitcase and was heard to say all the way to farm, "cake mmm cake, oh how i love cake mmm cake." As they walked to the farm, Gurkeep told Roxanne, about the ticket collector, how the train had got overcrowded 3 stations back, so he decided to ride on the roof.

 

 

At the farm was Nanny, with afternoon tea laid out, she made a huge chocolate cake, which was Gurkeep's favourite, but unlucky for him, Roxanne loved chocolate cake, well lets be honest, she likes cake, any kind. They had a lovely couple of hours chatting away, eating their afternoon tea. Nanny had shown Gurkeep his room, which he loved as it looked out over the swimming pool. Nanny suggested they had a swim in the swimming pool, while she prepared the evening meal.

 

 

Roxanne jumped up and dived into the pool, Gurkeep was surprised, in the whole time he had known her, he had never seen her move so quickly, well except when it came to shopping. Nanny just laughed and said "Roxanne moves quickly for 3 things, food, shopping and swimming." As Roxanne was swimming around the pool, she suddenly stopped in her tracks, as she spotted Gurkeep, hovering above the water.

"How do you do that?", she asked. "It's magic and a lot more besides," replied Gurkeep.  "Like the Indian rope trick?", she asked. "Oh this is not a trick, this takes years to perfect and a lot of concentration," replied Gurkeep. " Oh my what's that coming up behind you?" shouted Roxanne. "Where?", asked Gurkeep. With that his concentration was broken and into the water he went. They all laughed so much and Nanny said "that is typical of Roxanne."

 

 

As we all know, Nanny's & Roxanne's farm, is a working farm, they had told Gurkeep, this before he came, he told them, he looked forward to working on the farm, the fresh air and the open spaces. He went on to explain in Mumbai, he lived in one room in a house, he shared with others. That he only managed to leave the city one Sunday a month, so this for him was heaven. He really enjoyed working on the farm, he was a very hard worker and all 3 of them had a lovely time, working and laughing together. He said that the skills he had learnt on the farm, meant he could look for another job in farming, to do, when the tourist season was over. He was a natural at driving a tractor, Roxanne was a great teacher and soon they were having races around the farm in tractors.

 

 

It was a very little known fact that Nanny, Roxanne and their friends loved playing old fashioned games and their favourite was hide and seek. They explained the rules to Gurkeep and Roxanne was it. She counted to 100 and she knew finding Nanny was going to be very difficult, as she could hide in very small places. She looked around and spotted Gurkeep straight away, she walked over to where he was and couldn't stop giggling, because there he was trying to hide behind a pig. "You haven't quite got the idea of this game have you?" Gurkeep replied, "Oh yes I have, just I hid behind this animal and then she sat down on me and I can't move." With that Roxanne helped the pig move and this time it was Nanny's turn to be it, she found Roxanne, but it took an hour to find Gurkeep, who was hiding in a tree. They all agreed what a great game it was to play.

 

 

It was the last day of Gurkeep's holiday, they decided they would have breakfast and go up to London early, so that they could have a full day in London with Gurkeep. They left his suitcases at the left luggage at Victoria Station and would pick it up later, as Gurkeep did not need to be at Heathrow airport until 7 in the evening.

One of the places Gurkeep wanted to visit was Abbey Road and have his photo taken with Roxanne and Nanny. You see Gurkeep, like Nanny and Roxanne loves the Beatles and their music. They had spent the whole 2 weeks listening to and singing Beatles songs and Gurkeep knew the words to every single song. He explained, that by listening to the songs, he learnt English and that this made it fun learning English. They asked a policeman if he would take their photo and he was happy to do so. Nanny and Roxanne noticed the smile on Gurkeep's face, he was always smiling, but this was the biggest smile they had ever seen on his face. "My friends you have made my dream come true, thank you, thank you so so much," said Gurkeep.

 

 

When Gurkeep had arrived in London at the start of his holiday, he had not travelled on the tube before and he so wanted to, so Nanny took him for a ride on the tube around the circle line. Roxanne did not go with them as she did not like being underground, so did what she did best, shop. They agreed to meet back at the station in 90 minutes, which for Roxanne was heaven, 90 minutes shopping in London.

Nanny & Gurkeep sat in the front carriage, right next to where the driver was, she was amazed at the amount of history Gurkeep knew about the tube. At one of the stations the drivers changed over and Gurkeep got out to have a look. He told the drivers that he loved the tube and they also were amazed with his knowledge. They allowed him quickly to stand in the drivers door way and have his photo taken. Later when they met up with Roxanne, he told her all about it, she was so pleased for him, almost as pleased as she was, about the new handbag she had just bought.

 

 

They were very lucky, as they neared Buckingham Palace, the guards were riding down The Mall, Gurkeep was so excited to see them and jumped for joy. Roxanne piped up "All this walking is making me hungry." Nanny laughed and said "when are you never hungry?" "Oh that's easy, when I am asleep," replied Roxanne. So they went to find somewhere to eat. After eating, Gurkeep had some last minute shopping to do, which made Roxanne happy, any excuse for her to buy something. Then it was time to pick up his suitcases and catch the tube to Heathrow. Gurkeep was delighted he was riding on a tube again, but sad it was taking him to the airport. Roxanne made him laugh though when she said, " this is one train you have to ride inside," with that they all burst out laughing. Gurkeep admitted he was getting used to riding inside trains.

 

When it was time to say goodbye to Gurkeep at Heathrow airport, they all agreed the holiday had gone too quickly. During the holiday Nanny had told Gurkeep that her and Roxanne were saving to go to Japan next year and they asked Gurkeep if he would like to go with them and he immediately said yes. But, now it was time to say goodbye and after hugging each other, they stood and watched him go through passport control, he looked so sad, but next year they would be together again, I am just wondering if Japan is ready for them, we shall see.