Number Please

Memorial to William Ward - 1st Earl of Dudley

Memorial to William Ward – 1st Earl of Dudley

Episode 7

The 10:15 to Dudley calling at West Malvern and Portaloo Road

Has anyone seen Annetté asks Francesca, only Stella’s been asking after her. Yes answers Robert, having finally come down from the Parvis after his altercation with the chickens. Pauline popped in to collect something for the wedding and they both said they were going around the Cloister Gardens to have a look at the Portaloo. Mike Lynch then appears and is questioned as to whether he has passed Annetté on his way in to the Abbey but he hasn’t seen her either.

I’ve had enough of this says Stella and starts giving the door to the Cloister Gardens a big tug and finally manages to get it open, on peering outside, there is no Portaloo to be seen anywhere. Stella turns to Ruth and says, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes I am, you know what Annetté’s like, anything new and she has to investigate. Do you think she… no she wouldn’t. Oh! Yes! She! Would! says Ruth, with hands on hips, she did say earlier on, she didn’t believe this TARDIS story and was going to investigate, joking she’d go to Dudley if she could get the thing going.

An elderly lady looking very worried now appears at the counter in Café Apocalypse asking after her husband a Mr Jeffreys. Stella calms her down and asks what his first name is so she can ask the volunteers if they know anything, he may just have popped outside to look around Love, says Stella. George you say, his name is George Jeffreys, yes that’s right replies the lady who’s now busy lifting all the glass bells covering the cakes. You won’t find him in there Dear! Would you like a slice, and maybe a cup of tea, says Stella, tea bag dangling above an empty cup in anticipation.

Ruth wasn’t that Lady’s Husband chatting with Annetté when we last clapped eyes on her. That’s right, I heard him saying he wished he’d stayed at home in West Malvern, and I heard Annetté jokingly say that she’d give him a lift in her TARDIS if he wanted, by the look on his face, I don’t think he had a clue what she was talking about. So Ruth, you reckon Annetté’s commandeered the TARDIS and given this bloke a lift to West Malvern on her way up to Dudley to see Duncan Edwards, is that right?

Transverse Cross Section Through Abbey © Malmesbury Memories

Transverse Cross Section Through Abbey © Malmesbury Memories

What are we going to tell Sarah on Monday when she wants to know where Lorenzo’s TARDIS has disappeared to? Ruth then has a brilliant idea worthy of several poems, it’s a phone box isn’t it Stella! Ahhhhhh-yessss? Well we could ring it and see if we get an answer, and if Annetté answers we could tell her to pick Sarah up on her way back, assuming she is coming back, or even knows how to get it to come back, that is.

Tell you what Ruth, is it time for our drink yet? Lets have a bowl of Cheerios while we’re at it, might as well help Andrew out with the reduction of his Cereal Mountain. Go grab a box from out the store room while it’s still quiet in here, before the dreaded Mad Max gets here. So there’s Ruth and Stella downing Cheerios by the table spoon full, milk dribbling down their chins, when in walks Rob Baker.

Hey Rob, asks Stella, who’s Duncan Edwards, footballer wasn’t he? Yes that’s right Stella, United, killed in the Munich Air Disaster. Why do you ask? Well Rob, it’s like this, nah can’t say, you wouldn’t believe it if we told you. Well run it past me anyhow, say Rob. Well it’s like this, we think Annetté’s done a bunk in a TARDIS (A what!) and gone to put some flowers on Duncan Edwards’ Statue in Dudley Market Place.

Oh! I didn’t know she was into football.

No she’s not Rob, but when she was a child, her dad used to take her to put flowers on Duncan’s grave in Dudley, as he was some sort of relation of theirs. Oh Right, exclaims Rob. Hey hang on a minute, you did say TARDIS, you’re having a laugh ain’t you, yer pulling my leg. What are you eating exactly, looks like breakfast cereal to me, are you sure its not laced with something.

Come on Rob, you know Ruth better than that!

So you’re telling me Annetté’s gone AWOL in a TARDIS, is that right?

Well I ain’t William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, am I.

Give me a bowl of those Cheerios quick! PLEASE, says Rob.


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

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