Griffin’s Groto

Tom Rich's Meadow Malmesbury © David Forward 2012

Tom Rich's Meadow Malmesbury © David Forward 2012

Episode 12

New Roof Required at Malmesbury Abbey

There was a foul wind blowing from the south west, the temperature had dropped and the autumn leaves were now spiralling around in small clouds above the walkways. It had been raining fairly heavily for the past four days, and the river had now burst its banks and washed away the flimsy wooden bridges surrounding the town. With such fast flowing waters, it was now too dangerous for anyone to attempt to get in or out of the town. Many of the townsfolk were stood at the water’s edge, just watching the spectacle of so much debris bobbing up and down in the torrent rushing past them.

The people began to look all in the same direction upstream, as they though they could hear a faint cry for help, getting louder and louder as a large unidentified object came into vision around a bend in the river. There right before them, waving frantically for rescue, was Cromwell clinging on for dear life to the TARDIS, spinning and twisting amongst the whirlpools of varying size, all across the flooded meadows either side of what was now, a hidden river buried beneath the dirty brown waters gouging their way through the valley, below the walled defences of Malmesbury town.

Just when all hope of rescue for Cromwell seemed to be passing down stream with him, the TARDIS became stuck under some low lying bows of a willow tree about twenty feet or more from the nearest accessible land capable of supporting grown men. With this, maybe brief opportunity of rescue, several of the townsfolk ran to get rope and timbers to assist in an attempt to save the TARDIS, and perhaps Cromwell as well, if luck should stretch that far this day. Cromwell himself was taking no chances and had now clambered up into the tree above. The TARDIS remained firmly wedged between boughs, as a small crowd gathered to assist in a dare and do fight for possession of the TARDIS, from the raging powers of weather and water.

Other men now returned with ropes and timbers. Several attempts were made to cast a rope within reach of Cromwell until he finally caught hold of it and lashed it to the trunk of the willow. Women and children began tying planks of wood together whilst men tied to others, waded into the shallower waters and began forming a temporary bridge, reaching out towards the stricken TARDIS, Cromwell being just a secondary thought for the townsfolk, and some said he’d be advised to stay up the tree if he knew what was good for him, but others were all ready working out how to get him safely ashore and back to the castle dungeons for his own protection.

An hour or so later the TARDIS had been drained of water, weeds removed, placed upon a cart, and was now on its way back to safe keeping at the Abbey. A large body of rowdy men were close behind escorting Cromwell to safety at the castle until his New Model Army could come and claim him, it was looking likely to be a few weeks before the waters might subside and make that possible, meanwhile it would be Cheerios for breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper for dear old Ollie, all washed down with well water, and if he was lucky, just maybe, Hannah Twynnoy might be allowed to bring him some best brew over from the White Lion Inn.

Harold Rose © Tristan Forward

Harold Rose © Tristan Forward

The next day a party of masons and apprentices were climbing up on top of the Abbey roof to make hasty repairs to the damage left by Cromwell’s reckless outing in the TARDIS and much additional damage from the ensuing storms that had battered Malmesbury for the past week. When the soldiers in the garrison asked Cromwell why he had still been with the TARDIS since being cast over the Jubilee Garden wall, by The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he replied he had become stuck in the reed beds of St Aldhelm’s Mead and unable to get to the banks with all the heavy rain fall, so had stayed inside the TARDIS until it began taking on water when the floods began. The poor fellow had lost some weight but was now piling it back on with his destruction of The B of The Bang‘s cereal mountain.

Paddy Healy © Tristan Forward

Paddy Healy © Tristan Forward

Red Henry was now pushing Barbara the Wench around the Cloister Gardens in his wheel barrow, as she counted any flowers still left standing after the Battle of the Bar, gun powder explosions, the rain storms, and stray 50 calibre tracer shells from Gregory “Pappy” Boyington’s, ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door,’ that so enraged Stella who had been busy polishing, ‘off break spins,’ onto, ‘Sarah’s Psychedelic Sundaes,’ while Red Henry now continued to shout, ‘come on you beds,’ at the filthy mixture of soil, and missguided stray flower bombs, that had also taken their toll on the Wench’s wild roses.

Charlie Boy, ‘The Prickle’ and ‘The Bear’ had also retreated back to the safety of Tetbury and to seek shelter from the terrible storms. They left the magnificent church of St Mary’s Westport, and its impressively tall spire, a smouldering pile of rubble out of spite for being driven out of all the cottages in Abbey Row, when soldiers of the castle garrison, began blowing them up in a covert operation under the cover of the Dark Ages. Even Cecil Exton’s, Lamp Lighter’s cottage was blown to smithereens. The Glosteorites had even emptied the beer cellars of The Tree Cups, The Barley Mow, and The Bath Arms. They couldn’t find the Railway Inn, Andrew Somers had hidden it in the railway tunnel for posterity.

Bob Browning © David Forward

Bob Browning © David Forward

It was about this time when Roger ‘The Bishop’ Griffin, arrived in the town from Salisbury, looking for a job in the Monastery’s stables. He was so appalled by all the mess and destruction he saw all around, that he decided to build a museum, to hold all the recoverable relics that hadn’t already been looted. He first set about building a new town hall to rehouse the one now residing in the old St Paul’s church Nave, or what was left of it. He thought with all the town councillors surrounding his new museum, hidden in the core of his new town hall, it would be a safe place from Saxon and Viking incursions into Wessex. But where would ‘The Bishop’ get the stone for this project, he had a plan. He quickly emailed the King on his smart phone and put in an offer for Malmesbury Castle, it worked and he paid the soldiers top dollar to pull it down and build his new Monstrosity, holding up for protection, his Abbot’s ‘Cross of Hayes.’

Bishop Roger’s first Accession:- MODES MAM:1648.001.001, “The TARDIS.”

Episodes

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“Any resemblance between the characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.”

21 October, 2017
All images and written works by David Forward are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License